Since our move to Alaska, Little B had been sleeping in a travel bed. By the time she was 20 months old, though, we knew it was time for an upgrade. It was January, and her room got chilly at night since our only heat source in our rental home is an oil heater in the living room. With her door closed at night, the heat couldn’t circulate and by morning, the room was downright chilly. Despite her wool sleep sack and cozy jammies, she was starting to wake up regularly around 2am, at which point she’d join Papa B and I in our warm bed. Although at nine months pregnant my sleep quality was already pretty mediocre, her new early morning routine meant none of us were getting a good night’s sleep.
We decided to order her a twin mattress online, as we had with our own mattress upon arriving in Alaska. A few days later it arrived vacuum packed in its box. It’s amazing how compact a mattress can be. That afternoon Papa B unfurled the mattress in his office and, with much anticipation from Little B, sliced open the plastic. She thought it was so fun to climb on the mattress as it filled with air. After it reached its full size, she sat on top and stated, “I like this! I like my new bed!” It was clear our Little B was as ready for this transition as we were.
After letting it off-gas in the office for a few days, it was ready for action. I had found some fun, girly caribou sheets for her online (and even on clearance with free shipping(!!!! -there are few phrases more sweet to an Alaskan than “free shipping”), woot!), and we made up her bed in her room. At this point, we were rocking a Montessori-style floor bed; just the mattress on the floor. We had entertained looking for a cheap used frame around town, but I have plans to make as much of our furniture in our new home as possible. (Or maybe “dream” is a more accurate word for it since I’m not quite sure I’ll find the time to make those plans a reality. Ha!) I had no interest in buying something I wasn’t crazy about, to then move it or deal with reselling it in a few months when we leave our rental. I was perfectly content with the floor bed.
Thankfully, Grandpa & Grandma were planning to visit for a few weeks after Baby B’s arrival. Grandpa (my Dad), is a talented carpenter, so we asked him if he’d be willing to help us build her a bed frame during his visit. He was happy to oblige, so I set out on the internet in search of a bed I liked. I ended up deciding on this West Elm knockoff from The House of Wood. (Surprise, surprise, I chose a bed with a headboard that is basically a wooden quilt. :-))
Grandpa then worked his magic. I helped with staining, and spent a few hours with him at the shop arranging and securing the pieces on the headboard and sideboards, but I didn’t do any of the actual construction on this one. Nursing a newborn doesn’t leave a lot of time for other endeavors. As with any good project, we hit a bit of a bump in the road when it came time to assemble the chevron. As we progressed with the headboard design, my Dad and I quickly discovered the materials list in the plan was short.. to the tune of at least 30 feet of 1×3’s. (And here we thought we were done staining.) We made a trip to the lumberyard for more wood, and then he sanded the next batch for me to stain.
I chose pine because I wanted it to have a rustic feel, and while it does a great job at that, it doesn’t take stain consistently. Since I can count on one hand the number of times I have stained pine prior to this project, I just had to wing it and experiment with layering colors to achieve the weathered/rustic look. In the end, I wish the darker pieces on the headboard weren’t quite so dark (the topcoat really added to the richness of the color), but ultimately I love how it all came together.
Although the plan is designed for a box spring, we decided to skip that for now and instead placed the mattress support rails a bit higher on the side rails. With its toddler occupant, we don’t need the extra height. We finished in the nick of time, moving the bed into Little B’s room the day Grandpa and Grandma headed back home. After getting it in place, we decided the mattress was still a bit too high, and ended up bringing out the power tools one last time to lower them to where they would be had we used a box spring. That way, Little B can climb in and out on her own. While she hasn’t had any issues with falling out of the bed, it’s also nice that it’s a bit closer to the ground in the event that she does. Plus, now we’re all set for adding a box spring down the road.
She’s been enjoying it ever since. We are so thankful for Grandpa’s efforts, and we can check one piece of furniture off of the to do list for the new house. It will be fun to design her new bedroom once we get our house built. Until then, I should get to work on making her a bigger quilt!