Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday: Toddler bunk bed

KEVIN: "I need to build something"


SATCHEL: "Flying Treehouse bed for Firemen and Superman and Swordfighters and puncher-guys?"

IN UNISON: "Oh Yeah"

We saw this picture (Below) somewhere in the blogosphere, and both liked it, it was a similar space to what we were working with.

     From here, Lets just say that Whitney and I have different design processes.  

She is organized, well planned, thoughtful, and balanced. She starts a process by organizing her thoughts, writing them down, scheduling time to get them done, and realizing that sometimes other things are a higher priority than that project.
For those of you who may be wondering, THIS IS THE CORRECT WAY.

I, on the other hand, drive immediately to home depot and wander for hours just getting more and more confused and stressed, and then realize that there are just too many ways to accomplish a single task, and the only difference is how much money each option costs, and that I don't have as much disposable money as I thought, and that there has to be a better way. And, I haven't eaten or drank in 6 hours.

Then I come home without buying anything, and then start to do all the things that Whitney inherently already knows.

In this case, I tried a different approach. 
I did some research. I planned, drew, and then began.

I wanted the modern look of the horizontal slatted fences, so I knocked on a guys door who happened to have a really nice fence. He told me it was IPE wood. So I called a local hardwood and asked for ipe (pronounced ee-pay).

The phone call went something like this,
"Hello, do you carry ipe?"
"Yes, it is $9 a foot."
(More silence)
"Okay, thanks." (click) 

Sorry Satchel, unless there is ruby-studded-gold-plated-titanium-laden-cancer-curing edges on this wood, I will not be purchasing ipe. Sorry. But then a quick phone call to a reclaimed lumber place over in Half Moon Bay, CA gave me some hope. The guy on the other end said yes, I have some IPE, come on over.

When I got there, he said, "It's back there" >>>>>>
We walked down the hill by those trees, and had to hang on a branch of a tree to keep from rolling down the hill into a river. 
But there it was: ipe. 10 year old moss covered ipe.?? WHAT?? Yes, 10 year old moss covered ipe. But I had done some ipe research, and I learned something. Ipe is one of, if not the densest wood on the earth. It can last for 80 years buried in the ground. It has the same fire rating as steel and concrete. Awesome. 

So I took all he had. Oh, and it was $0.65 a foot. 

Then, over the next couple of Tuesdays (Project day around here), I made some sawdust. I had to "mill" (Re-sawing each board to be thinner, and cut to size) my own planks, and I only had a tablesaw. There are a number of other faster, easier ways to achieve this, but Novice woodworkers don't always have planers, or bandsaws, or joiners. Oh, and they don't have fancy things like vacuum systems by the way. (But I did wear a mask)

Gluing, and Fastening.

The Facing

I wanted to build it straight into the corner of the room, without any noticeable legs, but then realized that we are still (alas) renting, and sizable holes in the walls were probably a bad idea.
But it turned out, and he loves it. Sleeps up there every night, and stays in his bed finally. The vintage flags and boxing gloves?-  Flea market. Dress up clothes?-Dollar store. And the ladder? Found it by the trash can.

Sometimes the stars just align.



  1. My comment was going to be 'you guys are too cool' .. but summer Findley beat me.

    So I'll just say 'COOL'!!!

    ps. love the mini (-:

  2. It's AMAZING!! I have a two-year-old boy and can only imagine how much your little guy is loving this. Huge props! I love it guys.

  3. AWESOME! Really what little boy would not love a cool bed like that. You guys are so creative - I love it.

  4. Amazing! What a wonderful space for him to play, dream, and feel safe and cozy while planning future adventures (at least that is what I would be doing in there!) He is a lucky boy to have encouraging parents. SOOOOO cool. you guys are awesome.

  5. That is fantastic! I'm jealous of Satchel!

  6. Great project. I can only imagine how much Satchel loves it!

  7. Tell your child that the safety rails aren't a punishment but a safety measure. Tell them that sometimes people roll off their beds innovations bunk beds in the middle of the night and that the guard rails are there to protect them. Explain that sometimes Moms and Dads roll off their beds too, and that it really will hurt them if they fall.

  8. He is one lucky little boy! My boys would LOVE to have an awesome bed like that. I guess I better get to planning ;) Really though... great job!

  9. I love that you two found each other. Such wonderful and beautiful abilities under one roof makes me feel so happy. The tree-house bed is amazing. Love it! Such talented craftsmanship. I hope you pass this onto your kiddos...even if you have a daughter in the future! I loved watching my dad build things--he never taught me but I still have a fond LOVE for it.

  10. This is awesome!! I love the idea of space-saving, and fun! And I so wish my husband would say to me "i want to build something!" :)