I knew I wanted one thing for Michael: BUNK BEDS. People think I'm crazy for putting my three year old in bunk beds, but me and my brother shared a room and slept in bunk beds when I was that age and we survived. My husband didn't understand at all, but he's a great enabler, so he went along with it.
I spent a long time shopping for beds online, checking craigslist, checking furniture stores in person. I'm very picky about bunk beds. A lot of beds are so short... so short that Michael, at 2, wasn't able to sit up in them without bumping his head. You think I want to change the sheets and make that bed? Def not. So I was searching for "tall" bunk beds and I found a few options, but I wasn't that excited about them or their prices.
So I looked for plans online to build them ourselves. A big problem with most bed plans is that they don't come apart (easily) and you have to either build them in the bedroom or at least do heavy assembly in room (or they are the bed on top of a bed type and those are usually short). Not for us. So I was pretty thrilled with this set on Ana White. This design is great because it comes apart in four sides that simply bolt together. And it was easy to modify the dimensions for our needs. We made it a little TALLER. Yay! We made the space under the bed a little taller too for Michael to park his fleet of trucks and tractors under it. And we made the head room the same for both beds (the distance from bottom bunk to top is the same as top bunk to ceiling). We also added a rung to the ladder to make it a little easier to climb.
It only took about a day to make and was pretty easy. It took about a week to sand and poly. Michael was involved in the making and got to see it come together which I think is an important lesson, even if it doesn't really make sense yet. And I'm SO GLAD that we didn't try to make something in his room, because it was a total mess. And then with the poly, the fumes were pretty dangerous. We got it finished in time to move it into his bedroom on his birthday. He was really looking forward to it and was very excited.
On top of making the bed, I made the bedspreads. I was going to just buy something, but then I got this idea to upcycle a giant pile of old jeans and make a jean quilt. I started to hate myself about half way through, because making one bedspread is a whoopin', making two is crazy (and I was splitting my time between finishing the beds, making the quilts, and cleaning 3 year old puke). But I felt it was a worthwhile project. Michael now has two handmade blankets, made from his parents' jeans. Jeans we wore while making his life. If you look closely, you can even find some paint splatters on a pair of jeans ruined while painting Michael's room. And because I decided that the "worthwhile-ness" of this project was in the sentimental value I decided to do a little embroidery at the foot of the blankets so it's there, but it tucks in, cause these are for a boy after all.
Ok, so the pictures.
Michael was so cute, he wanted a book and a stuffed animal up top to chill with. He's allowed up top, but he sleeps on the bottom (for now).
Plenty of clearance for his toys... unfortunately I didn't realize how large his collection had become and it's stuffed under there.
The embroidery, "made with love 2013".
Another view where you can see the quilt a little better. It's a strip quilt, very easy to make. FYI: Denim quilts are super heavy. Each quilt is made from ~9 pairs of jeans. I used flannel as a thin, lighter batting and the backing is red homespun plaid. I made it a little more narrow than a regular twin spread so it tucks in more easily. I also made a sham and still have a few more on the project list.
And we had to move his shelf to the other side of the room. This shelf is still the handiest thing.
And like I mentioned earlier, we had to move the chair out of his room but now we cuddle in his bed for story time and now that Michael is so big, I think that actually works better than the chair.
So far the beds have been a great change and Michael has done great with them. Climbing up to the top is also great "heavy work" that helps with his SPD.
And I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so adamant that Michael have bunk beds. Think it's because I can relate bunk beds to some of my best memories. Being a carefree little kid. Summer camp. College. Bunk beds are the best.