Friday, December 03, 2010

The big birthday reveal, part two.

Okay, I promised furniture in part two of the big birthday reveal. much to say. Let's start with the reading loft. It's bound to be the wordiest.

Whatddaya think? Brynn's pretty stoked about it.

Scott and I built this one mostly together -- I'm pretty sure this isn't a one-person project. The hardest part? Besides painting all those inside corners? The ladder. Those are some wicked angles. Not that we couldn't handle it. We managed. We based the loft on this twin bed loft plan by Ana White, we just shrunk it to fit our space. And added a desk. Ana's directions were, as always, superb.

Actually, I should tell you the story of how we got stuck building the loft in the first place. It has something to do with a husband who sometimes speaks out of turn. We were in Brynn's room measuring for a desk. Just a desk. When we finished measuring, Scott blurted out something like, "Brynn, how would you like to have a second story in your room?"

I smacked him.

Brynn jumped up and down, giggling.

Fabulous. She has a bed already and we're not replacing it with a loft bed. Because it used to be my bed. And it is beautiful. So we decided the loft would have to be a reading nook, not a bed. Many sketches, internet searches, and calculations later, we decided on Ana White's loft and we're really happy with how it turned out. It is super sturdy (Scott says it could hold an NFL offensive line, though I'm not sure how they'd all fit up there), big enough to accomodate Brynn, easy to assemble and disassemble. It is just right.

The loft is definitely Brynn's favorite part of her new room. When she held the room "ribbon cutting" ceremony at her birthday party to show off her new room, there was an immediate line of ten little girls taking turns climbing up the ladder, sitting in the loft for a few seconds, and then climbing down. Look at them, streaming in to check out the new room!

The cushion on top of the loft was a bit of a challenge. I bought foam to make a proper cushion, but Scott was with me at the fabric store (big mistake!) and just about passed out when he found out how expensive foam is (we spent about $78 on foam and a few pillow forms, and it was all 30-50% off). I bought the foam despite his, um, reservations. Then we realized that the $19 Kirkland Signature dog beds at Costco (the rectangular ones) would fit the loft perfectly, so I ran to Costco where I found out that they're only stocking ROUND dog beds at the moment. Bummer, because both my kids love a good dog bed. At some point Scott remembered that we had some foam left over from my last upholstery project, tucked away in a box in the attic. He brought it down and, well, the contents of the box weren't exactly what I needed.

But we're resourceful. Scott brought me a bag of shipping peanuts from the garage and the box of 1" thick foam. I figured I could do something with it. I sewed a quick box cushion cover out of a flat lilac bed sheet from Goodwill, lined it with batting and 1" foam, filled it with peanuts, sewed the end closed and...voila. A recycled shipping peanut bean bag cushion.

Don't tell me about the chemicals in the shipping peanuts and foam...oh, the irony, I know, especially after the search for a non-toxic floor finish. The irony isn't lost on me, I assure you. The cushions surrounding the health-and-eco-nightmare recycled cushion are king sized pillows in Target pillowcases. And the green pillow is made out of an old Eddie Bauer sweater that I used to love...until it shrunk and became about two inches too short. The welting on both the cushion and the pillow are made from silver and purple Costco Christmas ribbon wrapped around some old nylon camping rope that we don't use.

What eight year old girl wouldn't love to have that desk? So much potential for creativity. It's like a blank canvas! Sharp new colored pencils, unblemished markers, her first ever ruler, her very own stapler and (gasp! because she has a bad habit of cutting her own hair! and bedsheets!) scissors. Brand new scissors. All in upcycled salsa and jam jars.

And, of course, there is the $4 Goodwill bulletin board, which could have taken on a much more dramatic change, had I not been overworked and running on empty. My friend Susan suggested turning it into a French memo board, with some cute fabric and ribbon. I considered it but couldn't muster the energy, not with all that needed to be finished before the big birthday party "ribbon cutting" (which was absolutely not my idea). So, here's a little detail of what I did do. A painted border, painted frame, and hot glued welting. Not much, but, enough.

The one disappointment is the light fixture above the loft. Scott bloodied his head up in the attic to drop wires for a hardwired fixture. I found an $8 contractor-grade ceiling fixture at Lowe's that I was stoked about cannabalizing and re-making into something fantastic. Something that looked like this, only smaller:

This pendant lamp is covered in...brace yourselves! Coffee filters. And I love it! So after I used Krylon High Gloss White to spray-paint the base of the ugly brass contractor-grade lamp, I took the glass shade and prepared to make it look like a fluffy white pom-pom. I spent an hour in front of Oprah (you can't go wrong with the Favorite Things episode) hot-gluing 100 coffee filters onto this glass shade. It was a masterpiece. I loved it. I attached it to the wall in Brynn's room, admired it, and walked away. I left the light on so that I could see how hot it would get. After all, I didn't want those filters catching fire.

About 45 minutes later, I returned with my camera and to my horror, all of the coffee filters were on the floor, hot glue cobwebs the only thing left connecting them to the glass shade.

Duh. Hot glue. It melts when it gets hot.

Yeah, um, oh well. It was a nice idea. I picked the mess up, threw it in a bag for later, grabbed a glass globe off of a much older contractor-grade fixture in our closet, washed it and put it on the wall in Brynn's room. So much for that idea. Now we have this ugly little guy which is better than no light but has zero character. My plan is to replace the 40-watt incandescent bulb with an LED bulb (which won't be so hot) and then do the coffee filter treatment again, but with different glue. Maybe Aileen's? Maybe E6000, or whatever that crazy epoxy stuff is called? It probably doesn't matter, since it is not likely to happen for a good 6-12 months. Oh well. It COULD have been really cute!

I think that's it for the reading loft. Tomorrow, on to the bookcases!


Court said...

Love, love, love it! I wish I had a room like that growing up!

Angie S. said...

I LOVE it! I know Brynn is thrilled with it. It makes me want to do something like that for Allie or my boys. Good job!


Susan said...

Gorgeous, Hillary, with or without the french memo board! I couldn't be more impressed with your efforts!

Kristin said...

Kudos for the borrowed space and excellent feng shui. Can I contract you to do Phil's Office/Baby's Room?

lucythevaliant said...

This is awesome! What a lucky girl!!

Lindy said...

Beautiful job! Saw this on Pinterest and loved seeing how you did it.