Before & After: DIY Crib Turned Toddler Bed (Turned Crib Again!)

Long time readers may remember father and small space problem solver Jason who built his daughter Annabelle a stylish crib (above) to fit into a nook that was a few inches too small for a traditional crib. He took charge of his home and made it work for his family. As they all do, Annabelle grew up and was ready for a big girl bed. Here's how Jason converted the crib into a toddler bed...and then back again when brother William joined the family!

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How did the custom crib you built work out? Anything you'd do differently?
The crib worked out fantastically -- I literally can't think of a thing I'd change about it. Given the space constraints we have in that room, I managed to luck into a design that maximizes the storage space underneath while having a sleeping area that's flexible enough to work well for a sleeping infant all the way up to a pretty big preschooler (and all of her books and toys).

Something that turned out to be pretty key for a crib like this -- which uses the walls of the room as inner walls of the crib -- is that we used a reasonably-washable paint, Benjamin Moore's Aura, on those walls. Every few months, we needed to give the walls a wipe-down to keep them as clean as the rest of the room, and it turned out to be pretty easy to do.

How old was Annabelle when you converted her crib into a toddler bed?
We converted her bed just before her third birthday. We probably waited a little longer than normal, but that's mainly because right outside that room is a steep set of stairs, and we wanted to be absolutely sure that if she got out of bed in the middle of the night, she was capable of understanding that she had to be careful. She actually didn't mind a bit.

What did the conversion involve?
The conversion was simple -- I just had to take off the crib front, and replace it with a low board to help make sure Annabelle didn't fall out of bed. (The front of the structure is actually in two sections -- the section which includes the drawers, and then the section above the drawers. That made this easy, since it was just the section above the drawers which was being replaced. If you zoom in closely on the picture of her jumping up and down in her new bed, you can see where the two pieces meet on the far right above the drawers.) I hand-traced the cutout on the right, and then cut it out with a jigsaw and routed the whole upper edge of the board with a round over bit, the same as I had done with the cutouts and top of the crib front.

What did the re-conversion for William involve?
Re-conversion was equally simple; I just took the low retaining board back off and replaced it with the (freshly-cleaned-and-painted) crib front. And voila -- crib 2.0!

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We haven't figured out what we're going to do for artwork above the crib, but that's more a second-child-syndrome sort of thing. :)

Bravo! Thanks Jason and family!

(Images: Jason Levine)

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DIY, Family, Before & After, Cribs, Small Spaces

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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