The 2013 This Old House Reader Remodel Contest yielded a few impressive bedroom solutions. Among them this installation in Portland, Oregon, by reader Dawn Shelton. "My sister and I have four kids between us, and we wanted a place for them all in one room. We used 4x4s for the corners, extra kitchen cabinets for the bases, plywood for the platforms, and old spice racks for the bookshelves between the two bottom bunks. The kids love the privacy and the fact that everyone has his or her own reading light," she said.
Crafty kid's room
In Smart Storage Solutions, one reader fits slumber spots for two kids in the space of one with built-in bunk beds. Here, Amagansett, New York, architect Darren J. Helgesen had extra room to work with at the foot of the beds, so in place of a standard ladder he designed a staircase with V-grooves cut into the treads to give little feet traction for climbing; the angled stair wall serves as a handrail. To eliminate the need for a freestanding dresser, clothes drawers are hidden in the risers. A built-in book cubby provides more storage space in the corner beneath the stairs. And just in case a little one wiggles out from behind the top safety rail, Helgesen created a crash pad by taking advantage of the 20 inches between the built-in and an existing window to use a full-size mattress for the bottom bunk-which also makes a nice comfy spot for parent-child story time.
What could be cozier? Stacked twin beds get a character boost from an arched enclosure. This pair is finished with wood paneling and white paint that tie in with the rest of the room. Books find a home on shelves at the head of each bed; extra linens hide in the lower bunk's deep drawers. See more hallmarks of cottage style in How to Design a Cozy Cottage-Style Interior.
Sleep and play
With four kids under the age of 7, Nikki and Caleb Grandy in San Tan Valley, Arizona, have had to make many of the rooms in their home do double duty. For their three boys' shared bedroom, that meant carving out space for both sleeping and playing. So rather than dedicate precious square footage to three twin beds, the couple created a sleek wall of built-in bunks that leaves the floor clear for spreading out toys and roughhousing. Nikki and Caleb started by building the bunk beds' 2×4 frame, which they anchored into the walls and ceiling. Next the couple sheathed the structure with medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and trimmed its face with molding for a paneled look. Crown at the top, baseboard at the bottom, and beadboard inside tie the built-in bunks with the room's existing molding and wainscoting. See more in Inspiring Home Spruce-Ups on a Shoestring Budget.