We have a gorgeous, light-filled bonus room above our garage. It could be an awesome bedroom, family room, craft room or man cave. However, it is the Lego room. Hundreds of tiny, sharp-cornered Legos litter the floor just waiting for me to step on them (usually with barefeet. Ouch!). And this is what it typically looks like…
It has so much potential (if the kids would only pick up!). So this summer, I decided to add a little purpose and polish to an awkward bump-out that has served many uses over the years: reading nook, make-shift stage for pint-sized karaoke shows and most recently a home for toy storage.
I decided on a built-in daybed and shelves, a very ambitious project for me. My husband was somewhat skeptical and I understood some of his reservations. I’m a (tiny bit) impatient when it comes to getting things done which occasionally results in less than stellar outcomes. But I was determined to make this a successful project and resolved to take my time and plan the project before starting.
This is what the nook looked like just as I began envisioning the project…
Notice the Wallies? These space-themed decals were from the long-ago reading nook. They were cute but what a pain to remove! I spent 4 hours spraying them with white vinegar and scraping them off the wall. I couldn’t get all the paste off the walls, but it ended up working out because I covered the walls with panelling.
I sketched ideas on paper, asked Dad for advice, took measurements, researched ideas on-line and material costs at Home Depot. I originally wanted to clad the daybed with ship lap (ala Fixer Upper style) but at nearly $10 for an 8 inch x 12 foot board, it was way outside my budget. I found panelling that was much more affordable (about $22 for an 8 foot by 4 foot panel) and could be painted to look like ship lap.
Next, I researched the dimensions of a twin mattress and went from there. I built a platform using inexpensive 2 x 4’s and 3/4 inch plywood upon which the mattress would rest. I boxed in what would eventually become the daybed section and the shelf section.
Once that was complete, I trimmed everything out and caulked all my seams and gaps. Caulk is my new best friend! It is amazing how finished the project looked after caulking. A couple coats of white primer over everything and two coats of white satin paint made everything look nice (and built-in!).
I installed the shelves by mounting 3/4 inch plywood on top of 1 inch by 2 inch wood strips. They have plenty of support for books and kid toys. The shelves are very deep so we store toys that are seldom used at the back. Although you would never notice once they are loaded up with toys, it was a mistake to install the shelves after I trimmed out the shelf section. There is a small gap between the back wall and the back edge of the shelf because the trim is in the way. In hindsight, I should have realized I was doing things backward. But I didn’t, and it will be our little secret! I’ll know for next time…
Instead of using a regular twin mattress, I decided to go with Pottery Barn’s tufted daybed cushion. It looks more polished than a mattress and I just throw a set of twin sheets over it when the kids want to sleep on the bed.
The kids chose some pillows from Home Goods and “styled” the shelves and voila! It looks like a totally different room (except for the bajillion Legos on the floor. That hasn’t changed.)
I didn’t keep a detailed list for this project. I had to return to Home Depot often to get a little more of one thing or another. It worked out well because I didn’t have a lot of extra material when the project was completed. I was able to re-use the baseboard that I took off the back wall.
- 2 x 4s
- 3/4 inch plywood
- various molding
- 1 x 2s
- 3 inch wood screws
- finishing nails
- miter Saw (my Dad’s)
- nail gun and compressor (my Dad’s)
- cordless drill and/or impact driver
- circular saw
- carpenter’s square
- measuring tape