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The Princess Playhouse Bed

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After we filmed a few Baby Gizmo videos for American Girl in my daughter’s bedroom a couple months back, we started to get quite a few questions about her bed. While you can’t see the entire bed in the videos, so many people started emailing us and asking us questions about where we got the bed. What does the rest of the bed look like? That’s when I realized that I’ve never really told you guys about her bed.

Most of the time, I wouldn’t talk about just a boring old bed but my daughter’s bed is no ordinary bed. This was a custom bed made especially for her when she was two by my husband and I. That’s right, WE made this bed and I’m super proud of it. We normally aren’t crafty people. My husband is very handy but I wouldn’t really call him crafty. He could completely tear apart a 1970s styled room down to the studs and build it back up so that it looks like it belongs in this decade (we did this too!) but building furniture or home decor? Eh, not really his expertise.

When I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, my daughter was only 18 months. At this time we started talking about what we would do about a crib for the baby. Since my daughter was still happily in her crib, we weren’t sure if we wanted to transition her out of the crib and use that one for the baby or keep her in it for a while longer and just purchase a second crib. We decided that since the baby was due at the end of January and would spend the first 3-4 months in a bassinet next to my bed, that we would leave my daughter in the crib until that Spring when the baby would need the crib. Our plan was that in the Spring we would transition her to a big girl bed (she would be 27 months old) and let the baby have the crib when he was about 3-4 months old.

The next question was – what bed would she transition to? Remember I was 6 months pregnant so I was in full nesting mode. I couldn’t just transition her to any old toddler bed. Oh no, I had bigger plans than that! I wanted something grander. I wanted a fun bed that made her feel special because I was really worried about how she would react to the new baby. I didn’t want her to think that the baby was coming to not only steal away our attention but HER bed as well. Problem was that I just didn’t know what kind of bed I wanted her to have. I didn’t want to spend the big bucks on the fancy beds that I saw in the Pottery Barn Kids magazine even though I completely swooned over them. Since I didn’t want to plunk down all the money for a fancy bed, I had the bright idea that we could just make one. Have we ever made a bed? Nope. Have we ever made any piece of furniture? Nope. Why I thought we could make a bed, I have no idea.

Now, let me stop for a second and say this all went down in 2006 before Pinterest was even around. I couldn’t just start pinning all kinds of ideas for fun beds to make. Nope. I had to look in magazines and head to regular old Google for ideas. After searching for weeks, I found this somewhere online:

playhouse bed photo

I couldn’t even tell you where this photo is from because I literally printed it out and this is what we worked off of. A piece of paper with a 3×5 photo of a bed that you could only half see. That’s it. Again, there was no pinning photos. There weren’t even many design blogs or DIY blogs that showed you how to do this stuff.

So, what we did was we took this picture and started drawing out our plan. I don’t have those drawings anymore but believe me they weren’t impressive. We aren’t architects so more than likely my “plans” included a few rectangles on a piece of paper with estimate measurements. The only thing we knew is the size of a standard twin mattress. That is what we had to build this bed around.

I’m not going to tell you how to build this bed. I honestly don’t really remember all the specifics and I didn’t document them. I just know that we spent weeks in our garage building a bed for my daughter while I was 6-7 months pregnant. We worked on the bed at night, while she napped and on the weekends.

Playhouse bed

I’m still astonished how we pulled off any of the building process from the one photo that I found as a road map.

Playhouse bed

All I knew is that I was in love with the bed in the photo and I wanted to make something like that. I didn’t want it to be a crappy bed though. I wanted us to pay attention to detail and I wanted to make sure that it could withstand anything that my little rambunctious toddler could throw at it. Oh yeah, I also wanted the bed to be able to be taken apart and moved. We are movers. We don’t really like to stay in the same house for more than 5 years so I knew this bed would have to be dismantled to move and I wanted it to be easy.

Yep, it’s a tall order. Think of it this way for my poor husband – how on earth are you going to tell a 6-7 month hormonal pregnant lady no? Bless his heart – he just went with it. He made the bed with big bolts so that it could be taken down into pieces. The roof becomes two pieces and each side can be removed.

I wanted the bed to look like it had siding. We did siding.

I wanted windows that wouldn’t break if my daughter grabbed onto them and jumped. We built sturdy windows.

I wanted the roof to look real. Like a real shingled roof. We bought real shingles.

Playhouse bed

Yes, those shingles are real cedar shingles hand picked by me and fit together to fit on the roof!

playhouse bed frame

I even wanted the same roof window that was in the original photo. We did that. And yes, that window was shingled as part of the roof as well!

Playhouse bed window

This was going to be the best bed that we could make for our daughter!

DIY playhouse bed frame

When it was all finished, we were so proud at what we made and my daughter was ecstatic! The bed was complete a full 5 months before we even needed it but it was ready for our little princess when it was time for her to transition out of the crib. And what a great incentive for her to want to give baby brother her bed?!?

Princess Bed
Princess Bed
Princess Bed
Princess Bed
My princess 6 years ago!
American Girl Caroline
My princess today!

After 6 years (yes, my baby just turned 8!!), the bed is still the centerpiece of her room!


Have you ever made something for your kids that you are super proud of? Share with us in a comment.

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Mary Welch

Friday 6th of March 2015

Would you have any measurements on any of this?

Hollie Schultz

Thursday 12th of March 2015

Unfortunately, I don't. We made it years ago and didn't keep the measurements. Annnddd...we just sold it last year so I can't even measure it. Sorry about that.


Monday 6th of May 2013

That bed is beautiful! Really amazing job. Your daughter is one lucky little girl!

Hollie Schultz

Tuesday 7th of May 2013

Thanks, Jesse! It took a while to make but it was totally worth it! We are pretty proud of our work. :)


Tuesday 12th of February 2013

Ok, that is one super awesome, stellar bed. I am so impressed. Just looking at these photos makes me tired and incapable. lol.


Tuesday 12th of February 2013

Yes! My husband & I made a Lego table for my boys...made from a coffee table, so it's a nice size. But it's not just a Lego table. We put 1 inch sides around it so I could put another board in it. On one side of the board, I painted a road map for driving cars around on and the other side is painted with whiteboard paint for drawing! :) It looks awesome!

Erika Hormel

Tuesday 12th of February 2013

That is amazing!

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