I've been looking for a bench for our hallway for months and have yet to find one I love, but I did fall in love with Mimi's Storage Bench and Hall Tree.
I was determined to make this bench for free. My husband scavenged construction sites for salvage and brought me home quite a bit of scrap. Once I had a nice assortment of boards, I began the job of making them fit the specs. This was much more time consuming than purchasing boards that were the right size to start with. I got quite familiar with the planer (I had to plane down 2x's to 1x's) and even faced the terrifying table saw to rip a few boards down to size.
The lid was made from an old shelf and the inside panels are an old painting from art school--on masonite--that I finally brought myself to part (with). I already had the paint left over from a table I made over, so that was also free!
It didn't take much convincing to get my husband to pick up a pockethole jig. He's been wanting one himself. It was actually a lot more fun and much easier to use than I expected.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. It's made out of some pretty rough wood, so there are a few holes I'll go back and fill in the future--or maybe not. There are also some rough spots and less-than-true boards, but not bad for a free piece of furniture.
This was my first big woodworking project. It was a lot of fun and I gained a lot of knowledge and confidence that I'll use to build more ambitious projects in the future. I think woodworking is actually easier than sewing because boards generally don't stretch, shift, snag, and unravel while you're working.
I plan to scale this plan down, add some safety hinges, and notch the board under the front of the lid to make a bench/toy box for my little girl's room.