I’m probably too cheap for my own good sometimes. It’s a blessing and a curse I suppose.
But in this case…it was definitely a blessing. I am talking about Will’s big boy beds.
He slept in a crib that converted to a toddler bed for the longest time. I’m not one to rush the kids into the next stage. In fact, when they start crawling I get legit ragey. Don’t get me started on walking. And so this whole nonsense about sleeping in big boy beds is up there with driving and bar hopping. Kids, you can be the weirdo that climbs into bed with Mommy and Daddy after your prom. #kiddingnotkidding
I just like keeping them young as long as possible, ya know?! So when Will started asking about the big boy beds, I had a twinge in my heart but I knew that it was best for him in the long run.
That is Will’s current room situation. It’s not done…so ignore that part. Focus on those navy wooden beds. They actually came to us from humble beginnings. They were curbside pick ups looking for a hot date.
Yup. Way back in 2010 I freaked out about these very orange wood bunkbeds that I saw in the trash pile. Jeremy waited till I passed out, resuscitated me and then went and picked them up like the awesome boytoy that he is.
We’ve had them in storage ever since. I joke that I am a hoarder but I do actually try to use the things that I keep for years and years. It’s called practical hoarding and there is no shame in it. Well…maybe just a little 🙂
So the first thing that we did was to come up with a plan. I knew that I didn’t want to use them as bunkbeds because Will is a little too little to be sleeping on a towering bed. If we were gonna use them as twins, then we had to figure out a way to make the lower bunk pieces look more finished. That’s when we decided to divide the beds up into one lower bunk piece (future headboard) and one upper bunk piece (future footboard). The lower bunk pieces had holes in the tops so we added an outdoor fence post top.
They were a different wood type and color but that didn’t matter because it was all getting painted anyway. I just wanted to make sure the finished look was okay. Since the shape was similar and the size wasn’t too big, they looked like they would work just fine screwed into the existing hole in the bunk bed headboards. Not only would it cover up the holes…but this solution added a little height to the headboards and allowed us to have the flexibility to switch it back to bunkbeds if the boys ever wanted.
As you can see, the bunkbeds also got sanded down completely.
That sanding process took forever. We put Will on the job at one point…
Sanding all the pieces for the bed is really important when it comes to the finish. We usually do a medium grit and then fine grit sandpaper for the best finish with a little ‘between coat’ sandpaper in between.
Then came building time. Since these were trash finds, we didn’t have any side rails. Nothing for the mattress to sit on. Our solution was to get lengths of 2×6’s and make rails and then attach 2×2’s to them for the mattress to sit on.
The original plan was to attach them with the ledge on the lower part of the 2×6’s so that a mattress would nestle inside the rails. Jeremy and Will even built them like pictured above. But then we realized with some measurements that the mattress wouldn’t ‘nestle’ like it should because the headboards were too narrow.
So Jer unscrewed all the 2×2’s and reattached them about 3/4″ from the top so that the mattress rails could fit on the ledge and the mattress would sit on top of the rails.
Jeremy worked on attaching the rails to the beds at this point…he had very fancy and technical methods. They included measuring the existing holes…
Marking and predrilling the side rails.
And then using lag bolts to attach them all together.
I was all skeptical that we needed lag bolts (that’s what hold decks to houses) for a little kids bed but Jeremy assured me that if we had anything less that it would collapse and crush our child as he slept. He has a way with words, no?
I watched from a far as he attached it all together. Obviously kids live here.
Then Jer cut the slats for under the mattress. Those slats were just scrap lumber we had on hand. Ignore what is happening in the background 🙂
We also had a bit of extra 2×6 wood that we added to the footboards. We used pocket screws and a Kreg Jig to attach it all together.
Finally came time for painting. Oh right…did I mention that we started this project while I was over due? Nothing like a little last minute bed makeover!
Will got in on the action here too.
People always ask why we prime (vs. just using a paint that has a primer built in) and here’s why…
a 2 in 1 paint works best on previously painted surfaces. Since most of our projects are built from unpainted and unprimed wood or makeovers of discolored or uneven paint, the coverage factor is really important as is adhesion. Primer is formulated to adhere much better than 2in1 paint. Also, cost comes in play for us. We paint a lot of stuff…and primer is about half the cost of 2 in 1 paint. So if we were trying to paint a bed…we could use one coat of regular primer and then two coats of 2 in 1 paint and save a little bit vs using three or four coats of 2 in 1 paint.
After priming, we used one quart of Behr’s satin paint to make the bed’s Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy.
Side note…did you know that if you know the name of the Benjamin Moore’s color that Home Depot can color match it to their paint for you? It can be slightly off vs going to a Benjamin Moore dealer and buying their paint directly but we’ve been pretty lucky at getting a really close match. Also, it’s helpful when the nearest Benjamin Moore paint store is AT LEAST 35 minutes away.
It was actually pretty funny because I couldn’t do much around the house at this point with my sciatica pain. I guess LJ had shifted down and was sitting directly on that nerve so walking was out…but I could definitely sit well and my painting hand worked just fine. I told Jer that we needed to build a ‘sciatica stool’ that had wheels and had hydraulics for adjusting the height. I could be a billionaire with that idea.
Here is the side by side before and after…
My favorite part of the beds is the little details. These little stacked balls were a pain to paint but they were worth it in the end because I think that is what makes the beds look vintage and playful.
The other bed I didn’t tackle until after LJ arrived so I was able to do it inside (we had rain for a few days and this was a much better option).
We also needed a new mattress because we didn’t have two twins. I suggested price matching in our little town and we found a decent one at Mattress Choice. This Simmons Beauty Sleep Brookwood Euro Top is usually $239 for a twin but we got it for half that – $120.
And of course we got the obligatory sitting-on-the-mattress photo….
Don’t ask me why we do this. I don’t know. It’s one of those weird things that we do when we buy new mattresses. Maybe subconsciously I am dating the mattress with a photo so that we know when it can be replaced? Probably not…but that’s a decent excuse.
This is Weston on his crib mattress and his future bed mattress (when he moves from a crib one day!).
When everything got moved into the room…the boys and I all celebrated 🙂 #randomshoeonashelf
And now it looks a little bit more finished with the bedding in place…
Overall…it was a great feeling to save money and not have to purchase two brand new beds but instead use what we have and modify them to work. Plus these are much more sturdy and chunky to hold up to the boys bouncing and banging and general boy-ness.
Speaking of cost…here’s the breakdown…
(16) 3/8″x6″ lag bolts @ $.90 = $14.40
(4) Post tops @ $3.36 = $13.44
(4) 2x6x8 wood @ $5.08 = $20.32
Slat wood – already owned
1 Quart Paint = $9.97
TOTAL = $58.13 (approximately $30 per bed!)
In theory, if you didn’t have the slat wood or the primer or sandpaper on hand, this project would cost probably about $15-$20 more per bed but even $50 per bed is a great price. Plus…Will gets to say that he helped build and finish his own beds and that is priceless.
So that my friends is how we took some trash and made it something worth sleeping on. Have you been recycling anything lately? Any trash pickers in the bunch? I get all excited when I see a big pile curbside…you just never know if it’s worth diving into!