After a long summer, I’m so excited because
It has been a busy summer of building and I am excited to finally reveal my girls’ bunkbed! This isn’t your average bunkbed; no, no.. this bed is the stuff dreams are made of! I’m so excited to share it with you, because not only do I have pictures of this beautiful bed:
What? That did not just happen.
Oh yes, it did! Thanks to Ana White for helping make this dream bed a reality.
Earlier this summer, while I was in the middle of this build, I was doing my usual perusing of www.ana-white.com, and told my husband “Check out these people, Ana has folks contributing on her blog now, that would be so fun.” Sam said, “You could totally do that, Jenny!” and he suggested I email Ana right away and ask to be a contributor on her site (alright, he didn’t say “totally,” but it sounds better when I retell the story). So with his urging, I attempted to muster up the guts to message Ana…I would have to think on it for a little while. I’m kind of a wimp like that.
No joke, two hours later, I check my email, and guess what was in my inbox? A message from ANA WHITE, herself, asking ME if I would like to be part of her contributor program?!
Okay, I don’t know about many of you out there, but Ana’s “Kind of a Big Deal” around my house. Like celebrity status. I <3 her. I talk about her and her site, the“Momplex,”, and my latest to-do list from her plans all the time- you’d think she was my cousin or something. I’m surprised my kids don’t ask when she’s coming to visit, haha.
I knew I was crafty, but I didn’t know I could BUILD until I found Ana. She is absolutely inspiring, and really gave me the confidence to jump into the world of furniture making. I know I’ve gushed about her before on my blog, but seriously, if I could put her in my pocket and carry her around all day, I would do that. Is that weird?
Back to the story. I immediately responded to Ana and when she asked if I had any projects in mind I just happened to mention that I was right in the middle of a bunkbed build that was super fantabulous and I would love to share it if she could help me make it into a plan.
You see, I designed the bunkbed on Google Sketchup. It is an awesome and FREE program for building. It lets you design from the ground up; making boards, keeping track of dimensions, but most importantly, it gives you a great visual for how your project will come together. I loved this program over the winter, because it gave me an outlet for all my creative juices; I was able to design all of the projects that I couldn’t build outside in the crappy weather so they would be ready when the sunshine came.
Getting the Sketchup file into a plan is a whole other story. I am new at this program and there were many times I just wanted to throw my computer out the window because the learning curve was killing me! What took me over a month to design on Sketchup took Ana only days to break down into easy to read diagrams that went along perfectly with my instructions. I could have cried when she sent me the final draft.
So check out the plan- I’ve titled it “Sweet Pea Garden Bed.” “Sweet Pea” is an endearing term I use with my girls because they are just that sweet. My bed has a cottage garden feel to it, but it could easily be altered to suit a little boy. Less sweet, more rustic, and this could be one awesome hunting lodge! Ana even mentioned turning it into a firehouse- there really are endless possibilities when it comes to our kids. I hope that you will find the instructions easy to understand, and please don’t hesitate to ask should you find yourself knee-deep in a bunkbed build all lost and confused.
Here are the details of the build, you can find the full plan instructions Here.
When I started the bed, it was early spring. I was battling windstorms, rain, and snow. My garage is old and detached and has a flat roof (who does that?) so it leaks. My “workshop” is also known as my “driveway” and it’s only open when the weather cooperates. You know the neighbors gotta love that. If they’re not trying to eat dinner over the sound of my sander going or the air compressor refilling, then it isn’t a normal day on my block. I truly wish I had thought about blogging my build at the time, because I am a little low on pics for part of the construction process.
First, I purchased all of the wood at once. I WOULD NOT recommend this if you are building between raising kids all day. If you can bust this project out in a week or so, then it is no issue. However, for me, I could only work on it when I had free time during my kids’ naps or my husband’s days off. The wood sat in a pile on the side of my house through rain, direct sun, and all types of weather that are not friendly to lumber. I would suggest just buying materials for the bed first, then the stairs, storage boxes, etc. The storage boxes were my last project and it was three months before I finally got to them. By then, the wood was warped and problematic for construction.
There is a lot of wood here, and with it can come a pretty hefty price tag. I purchased some of the wood as “culled lumber.” This is wood that is slightly damaged, either warped, gashed, or split.You can find this in your lumber department of a big box store. My local Lowes has this out front. The culled lumber is banded together and you get what you get. You don’t get to pick pieces; sometimes it is just what you need (like a whole mess of 1x material), it is worth looking out for. I asked for discounts on several individual boards that looked great except on one end or a couple of feet that were in bad shape that I knew I could salvage. The cashier obliged and I got a deal- it never hurts to ask!
The board that I cut arches in on the upper front panel was warped pretty bad, shouldn’t have been so cheap on that one. I found that it would have been better to use straight boards on the long sides of the bed. You can see the warping at the top (however, the adorable shutters cover it right up!).
I recommend pre-cutting, priming and painting as many pieces as you can ahead of time to make assembly go much smoother. Except for the 1×2 trim, which you will want to cut to fit (you can paint it, though!), the majority of the pieces can be cut ahead of time. I had my nieces come over one afternoon and help me paint- it was a lifesaver!
When it comes to paint, I have to say, Lowes has revolutionized my DIYing, furniture-crafting self! I absolutely L-O-V-E their sample-sized paint jars. I find that one or two little jars is often enough for a small project and I don’t have to buy a whole quart or gallon. For this project, it really allowed me to add a lot of color to the design without spending a fortune on paint. The jars are 7-8 ounces and will run you $2.97 each (For the record, the cheapskate in me has to share: There are 32 ounces in a quart. My local Lowes charges $12.97 for a quart of paint. It is slightly cheaper to buy four sample-sized 8 ounce jars @$2.97 than purchasing a quart. boom.)
And yes, my husband does work at Lowes, but they certainly aren’t paying me to plug them. I just love their paint!
*Lowes, if you want to pay me to plug you, send me an email! Haha.
Just in case you are wondering, the colors I chose for the bed are as follows:
Frame: Valspar’s Parsley Sprig. 6008-8B It’s a vibrant, punchy green.
Siding: Valspar’s “Sea Wave” 5006-9C this is a perfect shade of “Tiffany Blue” I also used it on my niece’s bedroom makeover.
Shutters and Stair Railing: Valspar’s “Raspberry Sorbet” 1001-1B
Storage Box Fronts: Valspar’s “Organic Garden” 6005-6B with a little “Twilight Meadow” 5007-8A (pictured above) added to the mix to paint the grass.
The white trim is my go-to shade of Antique White. I use this everywhere in my house on moldings, wainscoting, and also on furniture. It’s my fave. It’s called “Heirloom Lace” by Olympic (also from Lowes). It’s fresh and crisp, without the cold starkness that makes you feel like you are in a hospital.
The rest of the colors I used were mis-tints I purchased at a discount.
I chose a distressed finish for the bed. It fit with the look I was going for, and honestly, you’d be a fool not to distress anything that goes in a kid’s room. They are rough on furniture! I lightly sanded the edges and knots to bring out the character of the wood.
When it came to assemble the bed, I made several mistakes along the way. I found myself having to rework the plan as I went. For instance, my stair railing was put together completely different than the official plan. That’s because I made it way harder for myself than it needed to be. I had to redesign that part so that you poor unsuspecting folks wouldn’t throw it in the trash because it turned out looking like junk when you were all through.
Starting with the front panel, it was a little tricky figuring out how to cut the arches from the window frames. Then I got looking around my driveway and found the answer:
I used the bottom of a plastic flower pot I had laying around to trace the arch. I marked my board for the window opening and lined up the edges of the pot with my marks and traced the arch. Once you cut out your first arch, use the scrap to trace the next one. I did NOT do that and my arches ended up different sizes. Not too noticeable, but it caused problems when I built the shutters. One set was larger then the other and I had to fit them differently to make them look even. Learn from my mistake and trace the second arch off the first!
Once I had the top board in place, I lined up my boards along the edges of the frame and nailed them to the trim. This pic is the view of the rear of the front panel as I was assembling it. On the two boards below the windows, I glued them together and used my nailgun to toenail them in place. You could also add a few pocketholes here to make the panels solid. I noticed that with the boards spanning the entire length of the bed, they could use a little reinforcing so they wouldn’t sag or bow.
The window sill notches are cut with a jigsaw too. If your notches are a little choppy looking when you are done, don’t fret, the window trim will hide any unevenness when it is finished out. Glue them into place and nail to the panel pieces.
Here is a better shot of how the panel pieces are attached to the frame. As the trim is attached to each frame piece, it creates a lip to lay the panel pieces across. This is a lower window section. When your pieces are pre-cut and painted, it assembles quickly like a puzzle. All of the nails are on the backside giving a nice, clean look to the front.
The front panel pieced together quickly, but the rear panel went even faster! The entire panel is essentially siding. I did go through a million pockethole screws piecing it together, however. When you have these long running boards, they tend to want to sag and bow beneath the weight of themselves. To remedy that, I screwed them together on the back sides with vertical pocketholes and glued them along the edges to make one large upper and lower panel to affix to the rear frame.
For the upper portions of the panels (above the shelves), I pieced them together with scraps. This saved on cost and also waste. Instead of a large scrap pile, I painted my scraps, distressed the edges, and pieced them together on end with pocketholes and glue. I ended up with a great color-blocking effect using several random colored boards to create each row. This added some fun to the inside of the bed providing a nice contrast from the main body of the bunkbed. The rear panel is very heavy, don’t give yourself a hernia trying to move it yourself. I jest, but this sucker weighs a ton!
The cat loves it in there.
And this is where I stopped taking photos! Ack! Be sure to read through the full plan, and message me if you have any questions. Thanks for stopping by!
Stay tuned for detailed posts on the roof, pergola, stairs and storage boxes.
Linking up and partying over here: