27 June 2014

Loft bed

June was Month of the Loft Bed.

If children's excitement could be linked to a battery, we would have been running off-grid all month. 

Tyson built this bed using mostly recycled materials found on verge collection. We gathered up an almost-complete single and queen bed frame. Some of the timber was too deteriorated to use. Other bits were joined together to make stronger posts and the dents and damage marks puttied away.

The sides from the queen bed were added to the single bed. Some additional new timber was also needed.


Tyson worked away at it for weeks, with some help and tool-loaning from his dad. As after five dry months it rained here nearly all of May, we re-purposed the carport (our only covered outdoor area) as a workspace.

Finally the bed moved inside, heralded with unbounded joy by its new occupant. 

And by her small accomplice, who learned to climb the ladder in about ten seconds flat.

This is a step for sustainable living on account of the recycled materials, but also as a way to use our existing space. It can be easy to see an overcrowded room and think it needs to be bigger. Or to anticipate two children big enough for their own big beds (not quite yet but coming soon) and assume they need two rooms. 

The loft bed has transformed a fairly ordinary room into a fantastic play space, with the under-bed area great for cubbies (with their own light!) and the increased floor space inviting more play in general. The lower bed (also an old verge-collection find) is not physically attached to the loft bed, to allow maximum flexibility as needs change. The ladder can also be easily moved, including going over the end if necessary.

Initial Time: Oh well. Lets just say a lot. Tyson has been full-time home dad the past few months and this was his main project, in between parenting, for weeks. Plus there were months of dreaming, thinking, planning, carefully watching the verge, bringing materials home, hiding a single bed frame under another single bed for six months while waiting for more, sketches, measurements...

Initial Cost: $200 for timber and assorted things like sand paper, screws, wood putty, etc. Especially for The Ladder (which is arguably the best bit of it all).

Ongoing time or cost commitment: Zero. While we could possibly have picked up a second-hand loft bed for around $200 on Gumtree etc, new beds like this cost $800-$1200, so it was a considerable saving.

Impact: Two beds saved from land fill, and equivalent timber, factory overheads, chemicals, transport etc saved from being made into a bed for us. The timber we bought was plantation pine, while many manufactured beds use rainforest timbers. One modest size bedroom has been made to feel bigger. And the joy... 

I'm also posting about it because I'm so darn proud of Tyson's efforts. And because Eva wants photos on the blog to show the bed to her beloved kindy teacher.

PS: I've added an extra photo of our boy playing in the winter sun to last month's post. For those of you in it for the photos.