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Before starting lay down drop cloths to protect the floor. Measure the area beneath the stairs where the alcove will go. Snap a chalk line to mark the outline of the area to be opened. Use a utility knife to score the drywall along the outline. Hammer then remove the drywall to expose the studs.
Tip: Before starting, use a stud finder to check for wires or pipes.
Make sure studs are not load-bearing. If they are, reinforcing studs and headers will need to be constructed. Use a reciprocating saw to remove the studs to fully expose the area. Start by cutting through the studs at the top and then pull or pry the studs away from the floor.
Measure and cut 2" x 4" boards to frame a bench seat to fit beneath the stairs. The depth and width of the bench will depend on the space available. Anchor the 2" x 4" boards to the floor and rear wall studs.
To create an alcove, enclose the framed out space in 1/2" plywood. The plywood for the alcove has to have something to attach to, so where there are no studs install 1" x 2" braces. Measure and cut plywood to line the interior of the alcove. Attach to studs and braces with screws.
Line the alcove with bead board panels to create a decorative look. To make the new under-stairs alcove match the rest of the house, attach matching trim and moldings.