making room(s) volume two: when 1 becomes 3

i really wanted to wait until i had the entire project finished and looking sparkly before i posted this. but since we know dukes project completion timelines occur in either rightnowthisinstant or mostlyprobablynever categories, i figured it was safer to go ahead and reveal the room rather than waiting until it's perfect because no one may care by then and the internet might not even exist at that point. 

but youre not allowed to judge the incompleteness. that's my one demand for showing you this. i know it looks like that and will get to it. just give me grace and let me show you how it works before i make it pretty. mmkay?


-the problem: we have a tiny 3 bedroom house. these bedrooms consist of the master bedroom, judah's room, and layla's nursery.

-the breakfast area (ersatz dining room) was taken over by me as a sewing space when my business starting growing/paying the bills.

-the living room then by default became the play room, family room, AND dining room.

-i took over layla's nursery in february and made it our office space/studio and then added a mind-blowing accent wall.

that may seem like a lot of information, but it still left one vital piece out and many of you were pretty concerned that poor layla was out on the streets. rest assured, she is safe and sound, and snuggled happily in the pin that started our house-wide rearrangement.

for mostly all of 2012 we were feeling pretty bummed about our house. despite pouring a lot of DIY love into it and making huge improvements, we still felt we had outgrown our space. i was lustfully trolling zillow for bigger homes while knowing we could never sell our house in this market (note: this is unhealthy and leads to more house-hatred).

with all of the above mentioned space quandaries, it seemed like our options were to upgrade (fairly impossible), add on (financially implausible), or deal with it (yeah...thats what we did).

and then i spotted a pin from my friend kate (who needs space-saving ideas as she and her husband are missionaries living in a tiny flat in scotland) that changed everything. in that one instant i knew it was the key to getting  years more HAPPY use out of our little gem of a home until we move or expand.

it was like i had been playing Tetris for the past 2 years and my blocks had all piled up and were a wonky mess. and then, from on high, descends a new, never before seen piece that fits my pile of impossible JUST RIGHT and it solves everything.

i give you my tetris piece in pin form:

 this is a picture of the original pin

built-in bunk beds IN A CLOSET SPACE!

so you take two bedrooms worth of sleeping kids and sleeping furniture and you put them into one single closet.

in our case this was an unused and DETESTED closet that we never used because of its weird layout. it has one single door that opens (into the room, mind you, taking up floor space) onto a shallow (like 2 ft) wide space which is simultaneously about 8 feet wide. 

the 8 feet part sound awesome, but since you cant even access it due to the small opening and the shallow depth, it's kind of useless.

this was how we had it set up before judah was born. and after rescuing useful items from its depths when we realized its dysfunctionality we mostly just abandoned this space for his entire life.


SO the thought that this nightmare closet could become our saving grace was a little mind-boggling. but then again, "the stone the builders have rejected has become the capstone." yeah, the psalmist was mostly referring to jesus here, but maybe a little bit to this DIY project too? or is that blasphemy. if so, strike it from the record, please. i'm just saying...

i pitched the idea to jesse and he was instantly on board. that almost never happens, but the glaringly obvious utility and simplicity of the idea cannot be denied. even by husbands terrified of pinterest-wielding wives.

after about $30 worth of wood and maybe 2 hours of jesse tinkering, measuring, planning and building, it was done! (not like pretty and photo-worthy done, but functional and life-saving done...seriously dont judge the form, just the function)

OUR take on the pin. my feng shui lifesaver 

at first i was a little nervous about shoving my kids into coffin shaped sleeping quarters...would they feel degraded or abused? would people think i was awful? and then i remembered what it was like to be a kid and how much fun small, enclosed spaces are for them. especially ones that grownups cannot easily get into. 

a freaking NOOK was what i lived for as a little kid and this is what we have given them. as predicted, their tiny minds were blown.

we removed the door and chucked it in the attic because, you know, i dont need to be tempted to close off the 6th side of their nooks...ever...i just dont (i wouldnt sew the top of their sleeping bags closed, right?).  and unlike the original, we didnt have the width of double doors to utilize as a place to put a ladder. we didnt want to do any demo and widen the door at all, so to accommodate a climbing device we pushed the two sleeping platforms higher and built handholds into the weird triangular space on the far right at the foot of their beds to use as climbing aids.

so the kids get in their beds (judah is in the penthouse because of birthright, sexism...) by scurrying under the bottom bunk and over to the right, where their mattress platforms end and the handholds are secured to the walls. they climb up until they reach their desired level.

again...dont judge the unfinished-ness. but you CAN judge the fact that one of these was what judah cut himself on (shown in this post) because we didnt sand or paint these. lesson learned.

layla went straight from her crib into her custom made bed, so she got a guardrail. this makes tucking her in super uncomfy for us, but lord have mercy, if that's the worst part of all this, it's still so very worth it.

the "mattresses" are actually leftover foam from a cushion project we did. it fits snug as a bug and made me so happy to use "waste" in such a useful way.

so with both kids sleeping in the closet, the rest of the room was free of most of your typical bedroom furniture (except the one dresser that they share for their clothes which starred in this horrifying episode) and was wide open to become their play space!

all their toys, their craft table, their treehouse, their play kitchen...EVERYTHING kid-ish that drove me out of my mind sitting in and scattered around our otherwise grown-up living room is now contained in here. and it is magical.

its not the prettiest playroom or shared kids room ever...not yet. i will get to a place where the patched walls, old paint and non-decor bother me. that makeover and reveal will come. but i am not there yet. i am just reveling in and enjoying the mess out of the function of this room and the balance it has restored to our house.

heck, i bet we could even fit another kid in there. triple stack anyone?

just one tiny pin and we were able to make a girl's bedroom, and boy's bedroom and a playroom out of ONE existing room. 

i am so happy. call off the search for layla's sleeping quarters.

*i know i have left out something about these tricky tetris moves. feel free to ask any questions about the where/how/"but what did you do with the...?" aspects that i have forgotten in my bliss.


  1. That is awesome. Like I almost want to do it even though we have one kid and four bedrooms. She would LOVE it! Imagine when they are big enough fro sleepovers, like hey, who wants the nook?!

    1. hahahaha THAT is quite an endorsement! if only we could have one of your extra rooms! and yes, when our out of town friends came last weekend, their kids' heads almost exploded with fun.

  2. Love it! It looks like the space on the floor would make a cool fort or reading nook, too!

    1. exactly! i see blankets being hung and that becoming a fun kid cave.

  3. That is great! Were you able to fit twin-size mattresses or toddler mattresses in there?

    1. great question! i update the post to include this. we actually had some leftover high-grade foam from a cushion project that fit PERFECTLY. it was meant to be.

  4. This is happening all over Hong Kong and totally accepted and excepted. Feng Shui it up girl!

  5. LOVE, and I can just imagine how jealous I would be(am...) if my friends had this when I was little(now...)

  6. totes throw a moses basket or some other baby holder on the floor under cutie miss and you've got a triple decker bus of Dukes sleeping AWESOME!! I love this, so much better than the gigantic bunk beds in our tiny house!