Saturday, January 15, 2011

Secret Project: Complete

What started as a massive pile of lumber in my garage has been transformed into the coolest project I've ever completed.
It took me a couple of days to cut all of the wood and begin assembly. I spent my birthday drilling and building. I loved every minute of it!
Jason reluctantly helped me cut the huge sheets of MDF since they were pretty heavy. He hates building things, so he was happy to let this be my little project. And I relished the time by myself, sipping coffee and listening to music. I love creating things and this project was perfect for me.
It was very quickly coming together! Boards became walls and railings...
...and walls and railings became an awesome bed!
For just under $300, I built the most amazing loft bed for Leila & Sarah. I'd had my eye on a dollhouse loft bed since the girls were born, but the $2000 price tag was just never going to be something we could afford. When I saw these free plans on Ana White's website, I fell in love.

Building the bed was the easy part. When it came time to start finishing it, I was getting impatient. Filling the pocket hole screw holes and sanding everything took one day. Then I started painting and that took the better part of a week since I couldn't paint with 6 kids under foot. I waited until they were in bed and then did the painting in sections. It took a long time!
The girls were anxious to see the finished bed. I was anxious to hang the cute curtains that I'd made. I carelessly left out a paint brush one night and Ryan painted lavender designs onto the white trim (and himself) so I added a little extra work. I followed the plans exactly and only made one modification-adding window sills.
Once everything was finished, I hung a strand of rope lights inside the playhouse area. I hung the two matching sets of curtains in the windows and tidied up. Then it was time for the big reveal! The girls oohed and ahhed over the bed and couldn't wait to climb up into it together. As a matter of fact, Matthew and Joshua joined them in it last night. I haven't put a second mattress in the bottom area yet because the girls wanted to sleep together up top. The twin mattress feels huge to them after being on crib mattresses for so long.
I also added "carpet" to the stairs. The stairs are actually a storage space, with each step opening to reveal a spot for toys, linens, or clothes. It is such a great idea and was one of the reasons I fell in love with Ana White's plans for this bed. The bed is cute and functional. It was Sarah's idea to add the carpet to the steps and Jason told me about it. I grabbed the bath rug that was in the girls' room already and cut it into 3 pieces. Then I nailed the pieces onto the lids of the steps. It makes climbing up and down the stairs much softer and quieter.
We are all just totally in love with this bed! All 6 kids have ended up getting room makeovers and I'll share the photos soon. This was part of their Christmas gifts this year.
Several years ago I refinished the dressers that I used as a child. The girls have my childhood furniture with new knobs and fresh, lavender paint. (Cost: around $30) I painted the wooden name cutouts a few years ago and added ribbon to hang them. (Cost: around $15)

We have 4 matching lavender bins for storing books and accessories. (Cost: $40)
My mom and grandmother sent money for Christmas and we used some of it to buy wall decals. Because we are renting this house we can't paint the walls. The are a fun and non-permanent way to decorate!

The wall decal is from Etsy. (Cost: $38) The vintage doll cradles once belonged to my mom and aunt and I refinished them with lavender paint. (Cost: $1 for paint on the "oops" shelf at Home Depot) I sewed the little doll blankets when I made the cradles. (Cost: $5 each)
The girls have new sheets and comforters from Target, using gift cards that they received for Christmas. The flowered sheets are a perfect match for the room! (Cost for comforters: $40 each and sheets were $14) I made the curtains myself and that took me almost as long as it took to build the whole bed. I wanted the curtains to look nice on both sides so the reverse is made of the same dollhouse fabric that I used on the ruffles. I used fabric that I already had in my stash.
I had custom decals made from an Etsy seller. The girls love ballet and these were a perfect addition to the new bed. (Cost: $12 each) The rope lighting inside was from our box of Christmas lights and I found some brackets in the garage that I used to attach them. The beanbags are from Target and we bought those when we were living in Georgia with no furniture. (Cost: around $20 each)
The fabulous rug is my favorite part of the room (besides the new bed of course!) I won it at a La Leche League conference during the silent auction. (Cost: around $200) The money went to a great cause so I felt good spending so much on a rug. It had the perfect color combination for the girls. Leila loves purple (like me) and Sarah prefers pink. That's why I painted the inside of the playhouse with pink paint.
In the end, this lumber, hardware, and paint for the bed was just under $300. The only new purchases were the wall decals and bedding. Everything else in the room was either already here or was repurposed from elsewhere in the house.
Sarah insisted on posing in her ballerina outfit (which she never takes off.) I think the girls are pretty pleased. Matthew says I'm the coolest Mommy ever... and he didn't even get a new bed!

A big thank you to Ana White at Knock-off Wood. Her plans are easy to follow and her creativity is amazing! Best of all, everything on her website is FREE! I now have a list of ten other projects that I must complete. Go check it out and tell me what you end up making!

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