After we filmed a few Baby Gizmo videos for American Girl in my daughter’s bedroom a couple months back, we started to get quite a few questions about her bed. While you can’t see the entire bed in the videos, so many people started emailing us and asking us questions about where we got the bed. What does the rest of the bed look like? That’s when I realized that I’ve never really told you guys about her bed.
Most of the time, I wouldn’t talk about just a boring old bed but my daughter’s bed is no ordinary bed. This was a custom bed made especially for her when she was two by my husband and I. That’s right, WE made this bed and I’m super proud of it. We normally aren’t crafty people. My husband is very handy but I wouldn’t really call him crafty. He could completely tear apart a 1970s styled room down to the studs and build it back up so that it looks like it belongs in this decade (we did this too!) but building furniture or home decor? Eh, not really his expertise.
When I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, my daughter was only 18 months. At this time we started talking about what we would do about a crib for the baby. Since my daughter was still happily in her crib, we weren’t sure if we wanted to transition her out of the crib and use that one for the baby or keep her in it for a while longer and just purchase a second crib. We decided that since the baby was due at the end of January and would spend the first 3-4 months in a bassinet next to my bed, that we would leave my daughter in the crib until that Spring when the baby would need the crib. Our plan was that in the Spring we would transition her to a big girl bed (she would be 27 months old) and let the baby have the crib when he was about 3-4 months old.
The next question was – what bed would she transition to? Remember I was 6 months pregnant so I was in full nesting mode. I couldn’t just transition her to any old toddler bed. Oh no, I had bigger plans than that! I wanted something grander. I wanted a fun bed that made her feel special because I was really worried about how she would react to the new baby. I didn’t want her to think that the baby was coming to not only steal away our attention but HER bed as well. Problem was that I just didn’t know what kind of bed I wanted her to have. I didn’t want to spend the big bucks on the fancy beds that I saw in the Pottery Barn Kids magazine even though I completely swooned over them. Since I didn’t want to plunk down all the money for a fancy bed, I had the bright idea that we could just make one. Have we ever made a bed? Nope. Have we ever made any piece of furniture? Nope. Why I thought we could make a bed, I have no idea.
Now, let me stop for a second and say this all went down in 2006 before Pinterest was even around. I couldn’t just start pinning all kinds of ideas for fun beds to make. Nope. I had to look in magazines and head to regular old Google for ideas. After searching for weeks, I found this somewhere online:
I couldn’t even tell you where this photo is from because I literally printed it out and this is what we worked off of. A piece of paper with a 3×5 photo of a bed that you could only half see. That’s it. Again, there was no pinning photos. There weren’t even many design blogs or DIY blogs that showed you how to do this stuff.
So, what we did was we took this picture and started drawing out our plan. I don’t have those drawings anymore but believe me they weren’t impressive. We aren’t architects so more than likely my “plans” included a few rectangles on a piece of paper with estimate measurements. The only thing we knew is the size of a standard twin mattress. That is what we had to build this bed around.
I’m not going to tell you how to build this bed. I honestly don’t really remember all the specifics and I didn’t document them. I just know that we spent weeks in our garage building a bed for my daughter while I was 6-7 months pregnant. We worked on the bed at night, while she napped and on the weekends.
I’m still astonished how we pulled off any of the building process from the one photo that I found as a road map.
All I knew is that I was in love with the bed in the photo and I wanted to make something like that. I didn’t want it to be a crappy bed though. I wanted us to pay attention to detail and I wanted to make sure that it could withstand anything that my little rambunctious toddler could throw at it. Oh yeah, I also wanted the bed to be able to be taken apart and moved. We are movers. We don’t really like to stay in the same house for more than 5 years so I knew this bed would have to be dismantled to move and I wanted it to be easy.
Yep, it’s a tall order. Think of it this way for my poor husband – how on earth are you going to tell a 6-7 month hormonal pregnant lady no? Bless his heart – he just went with it. He made the bed with big bolts so that it could be taken down into pieces. The roof becomes two pieces and each side can be removed.
I wanted the bed to look like it had siding. We did siding.
I wanted windows that wouldn’t break if my daughter grabbed onto them and jumped. We built sturdy windows.
I wanted the roof to look real. Like a real shingled roof. We bought real shingles.
Yes, those shingles are real cedar shingles hand picked by me and fit together to fit on the roof!
I even wanted the same roof window that was in the original photo. We did that. And yes, that window was shingled as part of the roof as well!
This was going to be the best bed that we could make for our daughter!
When it was all finished, we were so proud at what we made and my daughter was ecstatic! The bed was complete a full 5 months before we even needed it but it was ready for our little princess when it was time for her to transition out of the crib. And what a great incentive for her to want to give baby brother her bed?!?
After 6 years (yes, my baby just turned 8!!), the bed is still the centerpiece of her room!
Have you ever made something for your kids that you are super proud of? Share with us in a comment.