Thursday, July 9, 2009

Designing the "Big Kid" bed

My son Liam is just obsessed with cars and trucks. From Fire Engines to Police Cars, Sports Cars to Lawn Mowers, if it has an engine, he LOVES it.

At 20 months, he is just to the age where we need to start thinking about moving him from the crib to a toddler or twin bed. There are tons of great pre-made options for toddler and twin beds out there, but remembering back to my childhood, none of those nice looking bedframes were very much fun. I remember my parents picked out a beautiful bunk bed set and my brother and I just wanted a cooler bed. Kids have very different design tastes than adults. As much as I adore some of the very modern children's beds on the market, I know my son will get older and think they are lame. As much as parents might want a certain "look" for their kid, remember that you are designing for the end-user, your little one, and you should always take their tastes into account.

I guess I'm an anomaly... a designer who wants fun and colorful KID stuff for their kid. I'm so vehemently against the recent proliferation of "classy" kid accessories colored and designed to blend with a neutral decor. I've seen baby swings and stuff in ecru with a tasteful little bear mobile on it, and thought "how BORING!"... If I was a baby and they made me look at something I could barely see against a white ceiling behind it, I'd cry too! I'm sorry, but it bothers me when people want to have these "designer kids" that flawlessly coordinate with their decor. Ummm... it's a CHILD not a household accessory!!! Babies can only see contrasts for the first few months, so why would you make their room all ecru, beige, and white? For the love of pete, give the poor kid something fun to look at and explore!

Ok... so off my soapbox... sorry about my little rant.

So, that said, I'm going to design him a new bed platform/frame with him in mind. First and foremost, it has to suit his tastes... so naturally anything motorized! Then, it has to be fun. He has to be able to crawl into it on his own and be able to sleep in it without wiggling out of it and onto the floor in the middle of the night.

I started by roughly deciding on materials. Because I want to limit toxins in his environment, I think I will build it out of an eco-friendly wheat board. So that really helped determine my design. As much as Daddy likes the 1940 Ford pickups, the curves would be a nightmare to replicate in wood! So I went with a boxier-looking car. Mommy wanted a car that could be colored to suit his existing decor - and thought blue would be great. Well... since I am a huge Subaru fan, it was only natural to design Liam's bed to be a Subaru Rally car!

It will have doors that open and close (because Liam LOVES doors as much as he loves cars!), mirrors on the doors to look into, and the big tail fin on the car will form a headboard shelf. I'm working out how to build in some under-bed storage right now... and I'm sure I'll find other fun things to add into the project as it goes along.

So... new project in progress. Now it's a matter of getting the $$$ to buy materials, building and painting it, and putting it all together. But I figure I can likely do it for the same or less as the cheezy (and toxic) plastic car beds at the store and it will be one-of-a-kind and fun!


  1. You are so talented, I have no doubt it will be perfect and he will be oh so happy!!

    please remember to take pics before, during and after to share!!


  2. Hi,
    Just strolled in for my first visit from Justine's. I do think it's possible to create both a nicely decorated ( not over the top)room that's fun too. When my boys were young they shared their bedroom. They spent countless hours on many adventures at play in their room. I'd like to think it was because... in decorating I incorporated all they're favorite things.
    I've enjoyed my visit to your charming spot, I'll be by again.

    Sweet wishes,

  3. good luck in your project Michelle!