...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Fair warning: You’re about to commit to a very winded post on the search for an ideal big kid bed. There are few images and lots of rambling. Words > pictures. What I’m trying to say is…you will have to use your imagination. Coffee might help. Or wine.

Reath Design

It’s official. Mabrey is a big girl. She potty-trained on her own over a year ago but didn’t stay dry through the night on a regular basis until recently. I learned the hard way with my first that making a deal out of potty-training before they’re ready just makes more work for me. So I was happy to let her figure out the nighttime thing on her own, and she did just that. My only incentive to her was a “big bed” once she showed me that she could stay dry through the night consistently. Well, the time has come.

Part of me is a teensy sad. I love her room the way it is but her needs are changing. She barely fits in the IKEA GULLIVER crib / toddler bed. It had a good, long run (nearly four years!) but she really needs something larger. The dark pewter on the walls is still one of my favorite hues of all time. It’s so conducive to sleeping and napping (oh naps! where have you gone?!) which makes it perfect for a nursery but I think it’s time for a change. Mabrey is spending more and more time in her room during the day playing, and she’s developed such a spunky personality. I’d love for her room to reflect these latest developments.

Of course, I can’t be sad for long because, HELLO, I get to tweak her room! I’ve started a very rudimentary moodboard and I’m already giddy about the possibilities. I’m channeling my inner Mabrey and having fun with some of the details. But before I get too carried away, I want to share my ideas for the obvious – the big bed!

Mabrey requested bunk beds. Of course. Her brothers have bunk beds. But her brothers also share a room that’s substantially larger than hers. Sure, bunk beds would fit in her room but that’s about it. It would essentially be a bunk bed closet. With her room being so small, I’d like to keep most of the furniture low to create breathing room. I gently broke the news to her and told her we’d find something she liked. She took it in stride.

Right off the bat I had several stipulations regarding the new bed: 1) Twin size. Her ~9′ x 9′ room can’t accommodate anything larger. 2) Extra sleeping space. It would be great to incorporate another sleeping surface into our three-bedroom home for sleepovers or overnight guests. The boys have a separate, pull-out trundle under their bunk that has come in handy over the years. 3) Clean lines. Not only do I like the look, but straight lines take up less space physically and visually – a necessity in a small room. 4) Not a bazillion dollars. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit drooling over Oeuf and Dwell Studio kid beds, but I just can’t stomach the price tags when I know there are other viable options out there for half the cost (or less). I’m more likely to splurge on items that will be used by everyone in our main living areas. Beds in kid rooms? Notsomuch. Which is probably why, currently, all the little people beds in our house hail from IKEA. We’ve had great luck with them. So it should come as no surprise that IKEA was the first place I browsed.

I looked at the TARVA and considered using a SVÄRTA trundle underneath it. The setup was most definitely budget-friendly but I wasn’t convinced of its staying power. I also looked at the BRIMNES which is a pretty smart concept. It’s a daybed / single bed / double bed / bedroom storage in one and includes two mattresses and two drawers. However, upon further inspection I noticed that the included mattresses aren’t standard thickness. Plus, we sometimes bring the boys’ trundle out into the living room for sleepovers and that isn’t possible with the BRIMNES. I couldn’t see paying $600 for something that didn’t check all the boxes so I nixed it.

That’s when the search really intensified. Ha! I searched craigslist and ebay for vintage beds but everything was too expensive, too ornate and / or didn’t offer a trundle option. I considered daybeds with trundles but I wasn’t excited about anything in my price range (<$500) which most likely meant I wouldn’t like them a few years from now. I stopped looking for a while. Then I started back up again just a few days ago and found this crazy affordable trundle ensemble. I know what you’re thinking.

WHAT IS SHE THINKING?! SHE ISN’T. SHE ISN’T THINKING! SHE’S FINALLY GONE MAD. IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE SHE QUITS BLOGGING. THANK GOODNESS AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

But wait a minute. Hear me out. Forget about all that brown for a minute. Take away the espresso finish and the really bad styling. (Is that a beige microfiber comforter?) Yes, the headboard and footboard are slatted but at least they’re relatively wide slats. Now click on the “natural” option. Things just got a little better, didn’t they? Now imagine the “natural” frame painted in a modern shade of olive green. Lose the country knobs on the trundle. Replace them with elongated brass pulls. Do you see it? Let me help you.

DIY big girl bed

Now look at the price. Subtract $10. Did you get $283.95? Great. You win another cup of coffee. Or wine. Go ahead. Pour yourself a second round. I’ll wait. UPDATE: The price has increased since this post was originally published. Grrrr. But it’s still pretty affordable.

Good? Good. Let’s continue.

So, yeah, I bought that bed + trundle setup for $283.95 thanks to a $10 credit on my Wayfair account. (You can earn store credit for leaving reviews on past purchases.) It checked all the boxes. Twin size. Pull-out trundle. No ornate frills. No commas on the price tag. I’ll actually be able to afford mattresses to go with it. Imagine that! The fact that it’s made of solid wood and can be converted to a bunk (with the purchase of another twin) are just bonuses. And with a fresh coat of paint and some killer hardware, it’s going to look way less vacation rental…especially against light walls…maybe some fun wallpaper? I won’t finalize the paint color and exact hardware until after the bed arrives so I can see how things shake out in person, but I’m diggin’ the olive + brass combo. Mabrey is stoked and so am I.

I bookmarked the first image in this post years ago as inspiration for a child’s room and it’s stuck with me. I’ll be loosely referring to it for Mabrey’s big girl room. More details soon!

Here’s to no diapers (cloth or disposable) in my house!

P.S. – A crib review & transitioning from crib to toddler bed.

images: 1) Reath Design 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

62 Comments

25.February.2016

loving your vision. it’s perfect! as i read this i’m nursing in my daughters 10×10 room. every time i’m in here i get nervous about how i’m going to convert this adorable small space into a big girl room one day…now i know! can’t wait to see the olive/brass combo and what new pieces you get for mabrey’s room.

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25.February.2016

I’m definitely feeling the olive green brass combo. Her baby/toddler room was beautiful, but I am excited about the changes your making! I’m glad Mabrey is on board and likes your plan, my daughters are in the pink and purple puke stage, ugh I hate it! They don’t like any of the ideas I come up for their bedroom. They want pink walls and Frozen bed covers (the bed cover makes me want to cry a little). The bed is going to look amazing once your done with it, hey the unfinished look wasn’t as bad as the brown one. I think I should do the same thing though, make a mood board and get into my Gaby & Cici inner self (pink and frozen) maybe they would like my ideas, if they could see them. Why didn’t I think of this before? It’s what I do for all the other rooms in the house! Thanks so much, your brilliant!

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replied on February 25th, 2016

Mabrey likes pink and purple and Frozen too. I’m definitely taking her likes into consideration as I narrow down a design, but I’m also looking at longevity. I don’t want to have to replace stuff a year or two from now because she’s on to the next big theme. (There will always be another Disney movie.) I’m showing her the mood board as it comes together and so far she really likes it. Instead of asking her general questions like “What do you want your room to look like?”, I’m giving her specific choices. This or that? That way, she has a say and we’re, hopefully, still investing in a room that will grow with her.

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25.February.2016

where was this bed when i was looking for the exact same thing 2 months ago?!?! We ended up with a pottery barn bed and are saving up for the trundle. Nice score!

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replied on February 25th, 2016

I know! I’ve been secretly looking at twins + trundles for over a year. Sometimes it pays to hold out. Other times, I spend all that time searching just to end up at the beginning buying the very first option I found.

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25.February.2016

Love it! I am chomping at the bit to properly decorate my 2 yr old son’s room, but then I feel like I should wait until he moves to a big bed (which I am in no rush for, other than I will get to redecorate!).

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25.February.2016

I love all of your ideas!

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25.February.2016

What no Hemnes? http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30080316/
We have the older version and it fits a regular twin mattress perfectly, and we recently expanded it to fit a full. And my sister expanded it to a king!
I’ve read you can buy two Ikea mattresses and double them up for everyday if you need to actually use the expandable option to help with the storage issue.
So glad you branched out from Ikea though! ; P

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replied on February 25th, 2016

No hard feelings against the HEMNES at all! It just felt a little too cottage-y and closed in for Mabrey’s room. Plus, I really do think it will be nice to have a trundle (without drawers) that can be easily taken out to the living room if necessary. The HEMNES is a great option for small spaces though!

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25.February.2016

So jealous…of the diaper situation. Also that will look stunning :)
xo – kb

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replied on February 25th, 2016

I’ve got 99 problems but dirty diapers ain’t one ;) Hang in there. You’ll get there! xoxo

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25.February.2016

Beautiful ideas! Can’t wait to see.
As a momma of a 3 year old daughter who can’t stay dry overnight… did you do anything that helped/worked? Mine still wears pull ups at night and I’m wondering if letting her have accidents would actually help her wake up and use the restroom during the night? She’s a hard sleeper. We don’t talk about the pullups, accidents, or needing to stay dry – but she does! She recently started asking to sleep in underwear and not use pullups at night. But she NEVER wakes up dry. I want to encourage her, since she’s saying she’s ready, but I”m not excited about more laundry. Maybe letting her sleep in underwear will help her learn? or just wait it out? Anyone?

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replied on February 26th, 2016

I say let her try if she’s asking. Maybe give it a week or so and see how it goes. Just have an extra sheet for backup. Expect accidents. I can relate to the hard sleeper situation. My middle child is a an extremely deep sleeper and he’s been known to have overnight accidents every once in a while still because he doesn’t wake up in time. But at least they’re good sleepers, right?! There’s always a trade-off.

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replied on February 26th, 2016

For what it’s worth, my daughter is 3.5, and our trick was: 1) no pullups (they’re glorified diapers, which means your little one doesn’t know when she is wet); and 2) goodnite pads so when she does have an accident, the sheet doesn’t have to be changed as well. Yes, there is more laundry on those night there are accidents — a few times a week at first, a couple of times a month (at most) now. It took us about 3 months so get to where we are, but it’s so worth it!

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replied on February 26th, 2016

My nearly 6 year old just started being dry at night and she had been potty trained since before she was 2. It didn’t matter what we did or what we tried, she’d sleep through everything. No rhyme or reason, had nothing to do with what she ate or drank before bed. So I used Goodnites, they look like underwear but you put a super absorbent liner in them. She felt better that she was wearing “nighttime pants” and not pull-ups and I just let her be. After everything I’d read I realized it’s just not something that you can train out of them. Hope you find a stress-free solution for your family. (PS I did ask my doctor and she said she’d not recommend any treatments until she was 12. Yup. 12.)

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replied on February 26th, 2016

I would try an absorbent cloth training pant like Superundies. It won’t hold a full bladder full, but it will stop a “sneaky pee” and let her feel the warmth and wetness.

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25.February.2016

Olive? I did not expect that one. Good score on the bed. Those slats look like they will be hard to paint. Use a sprayer maybe? Wow where does time go, it seems like Mabrey was just born! Yay for no diapers and staying dry. Congrats.

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replied on February 26th, 2016

We bought a paint sprayer several years back to paint the vaulted ceilings when we were renovating. I will most likely use it for the bed. Mabrey turns 4 (FOUR?!) next month! Crazy.

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25.February.2016

I love it, and I LOVE your vision! I did the thing you expected though, clicked over and thought wtf? haha busted.

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replied on February 26th, 2016

SO. MUCH. BROWN.

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25.February.2016

Funny, I bought this exact bed for my son 5 years ago. As I’m preparing to move my two boys together this week, I was lamenting the bed and it’s dark wood and how it’s very much a 5 years ago style. Maybe I just need to give it a coat of paint (I’ve already got new handles for it!).

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25.February.2016

I just painted my 5 year old’s bed Sherwin Williams Rosemary and I love it! It’s a great gray-green–sometimes olive green can read a little brown and this doesn’t at all. My inspiration picture is here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224546731399241135/.

I can’t wait to see how the room evolves!

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replied on February 26th, 2016

I’ve always loved that color. I think Erica Powell (interior designer at Urban Grace Interiors) used it on her kitchen cabinets. It’s such a great color for furniture and cabinetry. Love that little poster bed you linked to!

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25.February.2016

I, too, have pinned the nursery above. Looooveeee! Thought I’d send a paint color your way. Behr Manuscript. It’s such a great color – I’ve used it before in other projects. Contemplated painting our kitchen cabinets this color in our new home but went with black instead. It’s an army/olive green with lots of gray undertones. Reminds me very much of the color on the walls in your inspiration pic above. Anyhoo, next time you’re in Home Depot, check it out! The color on the web isn’t very accurate, at least on my screen. Excited to see how the room turns out!

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replied on February 26th, 2016

Thanks for the paint rec! I’ll have to grab a swatch next time I’m in Home Depot…probably today.

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25.February.2016

My son’s room is 9×9, and we have bunk beds in it now – the kids will only sleep in the same room. I hate the bunk beds, the only place they fit blocks so much light. It doesn’t help that we picked up a GIGANTIC desk with hutch off Craig’s for $40, so it’s 2 huge pieces of furniture. I started decorating daughter’s room in the fall, hoping she would think about moving, so she now sleeps with a full sized duvet on the bottom bunk. Sigh. Maybe next fall, when she’s in kindergarten, she’ll move and we can get a regular bed +trundle..

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25.February.2016

I’m sure you are on top of this, but watch the height of the trundle mattress. We had the devil of a time finding a comfortable twin mattress that was less than 9 inches high for our trundle.

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replied on February 26th, 2016

Good tip! I definitely want the trundle to open / close smoothly.

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25.February.2016

A.W.E.S.O.M.E!!!!! Can’t wait to see it!!!!!

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25.February.2016

I like the bed it’s simple and maybe it’s just me who find it cute.
Wohooo for the no diaper so jealous.
You can check out this etsy shop. It has great items that you may like https://www.etsy.com/shop/allbuttonedupbytina

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25.February.2016

LOL’d at “no commas in the price tag.” I hate when I see a photo of something only to find out it’s a whole extra digit more than I’m willing to spend.

Can’t wait to see the tweaks! It sounds as though you’re planning to paint for sure? It will be sad to see the charcoal go (it’s so luscious and cozy) but I’m excited to see how transformed the room will feel afterward!

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replied on February 25th, 2016

PS you have great timing on doing a kid’s room – have you checked out the new Pillowfort stuff at Target? I thought this shelf might catch your eye – http://www.target.com/p/circle-shelf-pillowfort/-/A-50075919

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replied on February 26th, 2016

Super cute!

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replied on February 26th, 2016

Yeah, probably painting. I love the dark pewter but I also love switching things up as our family evolves.

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25.February.2016

LOVE your vision!

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25.February.2016

Just watch the corners on the handles though…I ended up using rounded ones because the square ones pack a punch when you kick them – ouch! Tends to happen when I make the bed or change the linen on the bed. I’m sure Mabrey would love the new room. Can’t wait to see it come together!

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replied on March 2nd, 2016

Good tip! I’m open to leather pulls if the brass ones aren’t practical.

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26.February.2016

LOVE this ~ can’t wait to see all the changes!! That bed is going to be too cute! (I love green – good pick, Mabrey; )

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26.February.2016

I’ve loved that inspo pic for a long time too but always thought of that army/olive green for a boys room. But suddenly it just makes sense…it would be perfect in a girls room! Love it!!

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replied on March 2nd, 2016

I actually didn’t realize the inspiration room was designed for boys until I started planning Mabrey’s big kid room. I think it’s a great gender-neutral palette!

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26.February.2016

Mabrey’s room inspired me to use Dark Pewter in my own master. I’ve had swatches up for probably a year, but then I never got around to it and saw Dark Pewter here (http://www.lonny.com/Home+Tour/articles/4dfujTc55lM/Understated+Portland+Home+Jessica+Helgerson) and now I’m going to use it in our living room (that has similar moulding and floors).

I’m so glad that bed is solid wood. I bought a dining room table from that brand on wayfair and it has veneers (which surprised me with the appearance and price tag) and they started lifting up after one quickly-dried water spill from my 3 year old. Very disappointing.

I will be ever curious to see what paint color you land on! My 3 year old is asking for a dark green room too. We have Benjamin Moore Lush swatches up now, but I am so very indecisive.

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replied on March 2nd, 2016

I love that dining room by Jessica Helgerson! I’ll let you know how the bed holds up after we’ve lived with it a while.

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26.February.2016

Will you be able to see the mattress under the bed? (On the ends?) Love this option, but wondering how you handle that?

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replied on March 2nd, 2016

The head and foot of the trundle mattress aren’t disguised so, yes, they will show but I plan to place the head of the bed against a wall and use a toy basket and/or chest on the floor at the foot of the bed. The trundle in the boys’ room is visible and I don’t really try to disguise it. It is what it is. I’ve found that keeping a plain white sheet on the trundle mattress helps to keep things looking cohesive.

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replied on March 3rd, 2016

So smart! ❤️

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26.February.2016

I’m so glad you posted this – I’ve just started looking at twin beds with trundles for my soon to be 3 year old (we need the crib for #2) and they’re so expensive! I’m looking forward to hearing how this bed works out for you and Mabry (and seeing the transformation)!

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27.February.2016

Love this idea! And the writing in this post too.

Ps also totally jealous of no more diapers

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27.February.2016

Looks great! I am loving the olive green/gray paint colors too. I just painted my bathroom cabinets a similar color. I pinned that same picture at the top of your post recently and I love everything about it! If you lived closer, I’d make you that bed! I made one for my son and one for our guest room and its so fun. You are so handy that you could make one too! :) Great plan so far – can’t wait to see it!!

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27.February.2016

I just finished redoing my 4 year old’s room & it was so much fun. I had a vision & she was onboard with the paint colour I liked so that was a win win for mom! She has been out of a crib/toddler bed for a while now but it’s nice to have a space she can grow in. Love that shade of Green, I’m sure Mabrey will love whatever you chose to do Dana.

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I’m digging the olive green with brass pulls!! :-)

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29.February.2016

Thanks for doing all the work for me, I’ve been looking for this exact type of bed for my son!

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29.February.2016

Funnily enough, my work desk (I work from home) is right now three feet from a CanWood alpine bed. They are fabulous! We have a ski cabin and have purchased their bunkbeds for it (twin over full and full over full).
They’re strong and easy to put together. We’ve had them for 10+ years now and they’ve held up well (though my daughter is now 14 and 5’11” no longer fits comfortably in the twin).

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replied on March 2nd, 2016

14 and 5’11”?!

Thanks for the feedback on the furniture line. I hope this one lasts 10+ years!

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replied on March 3rd, 2016

She gets her height from her dad. There are some strong Dutch genes on my husband’s side of the family.

Just wanted to note that we have the trundle as well. Only experienced one issue — the wheel on one corner broke off. I’d suggest double checking and buying stronger ones if they’re the all plastic ones.

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replied on March 4th, 2016

Thank you for the note on the wheels. Maybe I’ll grab four replacements from the get-go and have them on hand in case we need to replace them.

01.March.2016

My daughter is looking for some ideas for her room. I am going to share this blog with her. I think she will like this idea. Thank you for sharing.

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02.March.2016

In case a reader wants to purchase them as well and the Wayfair price is still $50 higher, they are available on Amazon and Walmart’s websites for the $299 price.

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replied on March 4th, 2016

Awesome, thanks for price scouting!

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07.March.2016

I love your creative thinking on this. I would’ve completely written this bed off, but the way you’ve described it sounds perfect. The fact that it’s solid wood is icing on the cake to me. We’re just about to transition out of a crib and have played with the idea of skipping a toddler bed and going straight to a twin but just couldn’t stomach the price, especially when our little boy is just a shrimp for his age anyway. With this find though, I might be willing to reconsider.

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11.May.2016

Came back here to find the link for those brass pulls and find it hilarious they changed the main picture since you first posted. Even the darker wood doesn’t look too terrible once all the brown is gone.

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02.July.2016

How’s the bed holding up? Do you have it set up on a rug and does that stop the trundle from being easy to pull out? My daughters are 2 and 4 and I’m thinking of getting a twin trundle for them to sleep on instead of the usual bunk bed route but not sure how easy it’ll be for them to push in every day (if it even happens)…

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replied on July 10th, 2016

Bed blog post coming soon! Promise.

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