THIS... is the infamous castle bed that we made. I'm not exactly sure why I thought it would be a good idea to build a bed, except that I knew I wanted something fun for the kids and I knew I didn't want to spend a ton on something cool. You could spend thousands on these types of beds. It ended up costing around $300 for all the wood, supplies, paint and tools. I could have gotten a regular bunk bed for the same price, but this was way cooler. I just knew I would have loved something like this as a kid.
I would love to say that I designed it all, but I can't. I got it from Ana White's website. Oh my goodness. Some people spend time on Pinterest, I spend time looking for new things to build on this website. It is amazing! She gives you step by step instructions as well as exactly what to buy and how to cut everything. We made some changes and saved one whole piece of 4'x8' plywood doing it, but overall, it was so awesome to have these free plans. I can't say enough about that website. Go check it out!
I didn't get too many shots of the beginnings of the project. All I know is that we think because we have a mini-van, that we can buy anything at Lowes and it will fit (thinking back to the time we bought a vanity and an 8'x10' shed on the same trip and brought it all home in one shot, including the double stroller and two car seats). Good grief. We had 5 giant sheets of plywood that we wedged inside of and on top of our car, and a bunch of other pieces of wood, while all the other kids rode in the smaller car. It was quite a sight. Mark my words, our next car will be a truck.
These were the first two pieces we put together. One tower is a bookshelf and the other is a window seat. My kids like to use it for a desk.
The next piece was the slide. This part was probably the most tricky, just because of trying to cut the ends of the white part at the right angle. It was also quite a little brain exercise because the instructions and cutting dimensions were meant for 3/4" plywood all over and we used some 1/2" and some 3/4" to save some money. Trust me, it is just as sturdy. But we would forget about that 1/4" inch sometimes, cut our wood and then have to adjust later. We ended up cutting a tunnel underneath the slide too just because I thought it would be fun.
Here is the other side, the steps (along with a couple of my scraggly kids). This thing is sturdy.
Another shot of the stairs with the two cubbies cut out. It was so nice to have the three car garage to spread out and work on this project. But, we did park at least one of our cars out of the garage for several months because of it.
This was one of the tools we bought for this project (the other was a jig saw). It is called a Kreg Jig and believe me, it is an awesome tool. Nobody at Lowes knew what it was, and Home Depot doesn't even carry it, so I suppose it's not that common. Basically you set it up so that you can drill your wood at an angle. Then you can attach it to another piece from the back or inside without seeing screws from the front or side. And I think it made everything really sturdy too. (I keep saying that, don't I? Mostly, I'm just surprised that we built something that isn't going to fall apart).
Once all the pieces were assembled, we puttied and sanded. The next step was painting. Here is Jared doing the priming in my premier homemade plastic paint room in the basement. Don't be fooled though, I did most of the rest of the painting. We primed, painted it all in a light gray, taped off the brick pattern, painted the dark gray, then mixed the two colors and dabbed it on the bricks with a plastic bag. Since I didn't want it all the be bricks, I painted the steps and slide on the edges to look like worn stone--at least that was what I was going for. Last, I put a couple of coats of poly on.
We made all the rails with the Kreg jig and then put it together in the boys' room. We actually attached the back rail to the studs in the wall so it will not be moving any time soon. We also made the front opening wider so that we could build another twin bed to fit perpendicular on the bottom when Connor gets older. I cut out the sign on the front, painted it red and named it the Daniels' Kingdom.
The kids LOVE this bed! At first I was worried about them jumping on it and running across it, but now I'm pretty sure it isn't breaking. Connor can't get from the top step to the mattress, but he can climb up the slide and get on the bed. Alex is so happy to finally have something other than a mattress on the floor. He was on the floor for about 5 months so I kind of felt bad for him. But now... what a spoiled kid! Marissa keeps asking when we are going to build one for her. Not happening. They all play on this one anyway. It was a fun project, but it took us 4 months from start to finish. It shouldn't have taken that long, but you know, there were so many other demands for our time, like a full time job and kids and putting in the yard and such. Jared and I always worked on it together. I couldn't have done it without Jared, and he wouldn't have done it without me being so excited about it. We make a good team.
Here is the inside. It's a great play house and storage spot for the books.
We've been reading scriptures here at night. Apparently none of the kids were paying attention though since they all have their own books. What else is new?
One of my favorite things is the lighting we added. We got two strings of LED lights at Ikea and it's perfect for the bottom. Then Alex wanted a reading light up top so we mounted his on the wall.
Everyone loves it (but probably not as much as me). I still can't believe we built it.
And I am so glad we did!