First project of our very first house? Redoing an extant bench to become the seating part of our entry. The house doesn't have an entryway - you just walk right into the living room - which means that one has to be created by artificial means. So far, this is the element that we have:
As you can from the "before" inset, this used to be painted blue and faux-distressed, kind of a shabby-chic thing. We weren't huge fans and kept it in our bedroom, so I decided to sand off the paint and stain it a dark color to match our coffee table. It was great to find that under the paint was a really nice wood grain (I think it's maple, but don't quote me) that came alive beautifully with the walnut stain. Three coats of water-based sealer later, it's a combination seat and shoe containment field!