Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Almost every night after dinner we settle in on the couch, turn on the TV, and chill. And almost every night after I get all snuggled in and comfy Josh asks me to go sit on the back porch with him.

Ugh!

It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that all the seating out there is so . . .  vertical. I want to lay down, stretch out, and put my head on a pillow. So I started looking around the house for a camping cot or air mattress I could use. I was stoked to find a roll-away bed stored in the basement. I bought it a couple years ago at a friend’s garage sale and my kids use it when they have someone sleep over. I didn’t remember to take a picture but it looks like this one.

NewClassic

Nothing pretty but it was free and portable so I lugged it outside one afternoon, threw a sheet and blankie on it, and laid down. And then it happened.

The clouds parted, the sun shone more brightly than ever before and a cool summer breeze lifted all my cares away. My daughter curled up next to me and closed her eyes too. I swear I even heard a unicorn trot by. It was that magical. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? There had to be a way to make this bed a permanent fixture on my porch. Had. To. Be.

My first idea was to keep the roll-away bed out there – maybe fix it up with some pillows or something. I asked my daughter’s opinion and she said it looked like we had a hobo living on our porch. Hmmm. Maybe not.

So I went online and found plans to build this perfect outdoor daybed by Ana White (minus the canopy).

daybed1 ana white

The plans seemed easy and the cost came in at a reasonable $225, so we made our list and started stashing away money for the materials. In the meantime we were busy tearing down the backyard playground since both of our girls had outgrown it. Then somehow in this pile of scrap . . .

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

. . .  Josh saw a daybed frame (and a workbench for the garage but that’s another post for another day).

Turns out the climbing wall was the same width and almost the same length as my hobo bed mattress. So with a few modifications it could easily become the base of the daybed and still support the back and arms from the Ana White plans.

Modification #1: Square off angled end and “cap” it with a 2×4 to match the other end.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Modification #2: Trim any overhang from the ends so there’s a flush surface to add the arms when we’re ready.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Modification # 3: Add legs using 2×4 scraps from the playground. This photo looks like there’s only one screw holding the leg in place but I promise there’s three more in the side.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

And of course it needed power washing, sanding, and painting. I chose the same color we used on the porch ceiling since we had some leftover. Here’s a shot of the underside all painted out so you can see the finished construction.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

And here’s the top without a mattress. Disregard the filthy floor.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Finally, all made up and ready for a lazy Sunday morning or after dinner relaxing.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Here’s what happened when I was trying to take these photos.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Oh and to protect the hobo mattress in our wet Chicago weather I bought a waterproof, zippered mattress protector at Walmart for around $19. This is what the packaging looks like when it’s being transformed into a robot by a 10-year-old.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

For added protection I added a waterproof mattress cover we still had from when the kids were potty training. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms I bring the mattress in just to be safe but so far it’s stayed dry during our regular rain showers and humid days.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

Next we plan to add a back and arms but we’re starting to rethink the design based on how we use the bed so far. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Playground Climbing Wall Repurposed As Outdoor Daybed | laughingabi.com

What do you sit or lay on when you’re outside. Do you need to be horizontal to relax too. Or is that just me?

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Inexpensive Teen Bed Update

Teen Queen’s bed frame is old. The veneer was peeling and the finish was scratched up. It had some cool lines but it was far from cool. So I decided when she was gone for a few days to surprise her with a bed update.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

It’s nothing fancy, just paint and fabric but if you take a look at these “before” photos you’ll see how far it’s come. Please note I took these pics of her room in its “as is” condition. See how even the cat looks terrified to be in there? Yes, it’s embarrassing but it could be worse. And yes, that is a roll of toilet paper that I found under her bed.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

I started by taking everything outside and roughing it up with sandpaper. These pics only show the headboard but the footboard got the same treatment.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Then a coat of primer. I had grey tinted primer leftover from something (I have no idea what) so I used it. Of course you can use white or whatever you have on hand.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

And finally, clean, crisp, white paint.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Ahhhh – a mazillion times better already. But I wanted more. I wanted to add something fun and colorful to that middle inset panel. I went digging through my stash and found some IKEA fabric, scrap cardboard, and duct tape. Perfect.

Here’s the cardboard. It was leftover from a history presentation Teen Queen did last year for school.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

I used newspaper to make a template of the inset shape, traced it onto the cardboard, and cut it out. The only problem was the scores/folds in the cardboard. They made it kind of floppy and hard to work with. So I wrapped them a few times with duct tape to fix it up. (Oddly enough, all I could find in the garage was SpongeBob SquarePants duct tape. What does that say about my household?)

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Next I wanted to add some batting so it would feel more like an upholstered headboard. Luckily I found a piece of fleece in my fabric scraps that was big enough to do the trick. Any thick piece of fabric will work if you don’t want to go out and buy batting. I’ve even been known to cut up old blankets that we don’t use anymore.

I laid the fleece under the cardboard and cut it to the same shape. Don’t worry about being perfect. It will all be covered in the end.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Then I used spray adhesive to stick the fleece to the cardboard so it didn’t skooch around during the next step. (Sorry I forgot to shoot a pic.) You can use any adhesive you have, even SpongeBob duct tape would work.

Finally it was time to put on some pretty fabric. It really is a easy as wrapping a present.
1. Cut the fabric into a rectangle approximately three inches bigger on all four sides than the cardboard cut-out.
2. Lay your fabric rectangle, wrong-side-up, on your work surface.
3. Place your cardboard cut-out, batting-side-down, on top of the fabric rectangle.
4. Using duct tape (I found a roll of white in my daughter’s craft box) or whatever adhesive you have, wrap and stick the excess fabric onto the back of the cardboard.
5. When you come to a corner don’t over think it. Just fold and tuck until you get the fabric as smooth as possible and stick it down.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

As for those funky triangular ends, I just cut a slit in my fabric almost all the way to the cardboard then folded and taped.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

When you’re done flip it over and “voila”!

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

The last step was attaching it to the headboard. Surprisingly, I did not use duct tape. Instead I bought a couple packages of peel and stick velcro. It worked perfectly and makes it possible to take the panel out and update the fabric whenever Teen Queen changes her mind.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

Sorry I can’t pan out and share a glorious full room “after” photo but it’s really, really scary in there. This will have to do for now.

Inexpensive Teen Bed Update | laughingabi.com

 

Front yard before and after photos

We’ve been working on some outdoor projects and as I was snapping a picture yesterday I realized, some of you have never seen the outside of my house. (Unless you’re secretly stalking me and driving by while I’ve got my butt up in the air planting flowers.) Then I thought, what fun is looking at “afters” if you never got to see the “befores”? So here, for your viewing pleasure, are some pics of my front yard through the years.

Here’s how the front of the house looked when we moved in. The woman we bought it from must have been worried about people peeking in her windows because she had almost every one of them blocked by some kind of tree or shrub.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

One month later: oh, there is a house hiding back there. If you look close you can see the tree trunks we hadn’t removed yet.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

This is the only pic I could find from 2007. It doesn’t show much but you can see we cleaned things out a little more and filled in with some annuals that year.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

In 2008 we removed the circle of shrubs blocking the front steps/window (you can see it in the 2nd pic), reshaped the flower bed, and filled in with grass where we needed. We were left with this clean, blank slate. Ahhhh.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Then we started filling in with some shrubs.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

About this time all hell broke loose in the back yard, specifically on our back screened porch. We had to replace the roof. And the floor. And the ceiling. And the deck. (You’ll being seeing pics of all that soon.) So the front yard was put on hold for a while. A long while. Four years to be exact. Last year we finally started working on it again.

This view is looking out from the front door, toward the street. See that big circle of sh!t around the trees? It’s 30% beautiful ground cover and 70% nasty thistle weed. It’s driven me crazy since the day we moved in.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

One day I kinda lost it (noticing a pattern?). All that crap had to go. First I hit it with the mower – very therapeutic.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to get down in the dirt and start digging, and pulling, and yanking that crap out. We mulched it with leaves for the winter and this spring . . . ta-da!

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

There’s still some thistle coming up. That stuff is like cockroaches. It could survive a nuclear war. After I conquer it, which I will, the plan is to plant grass and pretend that circle was never there.

And finally, current photos of the house and flower bed. It’s funny to scroll up and see how much that little burning bush has grown. And the crab apple tree really needs a prune job.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Some of you may have noticed the front door went from brown to red. I don’t remember when I painted it but it’s one of my favorite things ever. I’ve always wanted a red door and this house was screaming for it.

So now you’re up to date which means I can start sharing the new stuff we’re working on. Can’t wait!

Do you look back at old pics of your house and see something you forgot? Or something you wish you could forget?

Loft bed for a little girl’s room

Psst, to see this room update from the beginning, check out these posts:
Phase 1: Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet
Phase 2:A modern tree mural update

Remember this post where I shared a cute way to display a little girl’s stuffed animal collection? Well forget all that. It’s gone. See, the problem with raising creative children is they get these ideas and the next thing you know you’re redoing things that were never even done yet. And yes, I realize I could have just old her “NO” but it was such a goooood idea. It had to be done.

Introducing Baby Girl’s new loft bed.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I know loft beds are nothing new but the genius of this one is it was TOTALLY FREE. We drug the bunk beds down from the attic and put them together without the bottom bunk. The chair is a thrift store treasure that was sitting in the corner of our bedroom, holding piles of laundry. And the little table was her nightstand. $0!!!

Here are some shots of Baby Girl hard at work putting it all together with The Hubs.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

As for that Ugly Doll collection, it’s back next to the bed where it belongs – just a little higher.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Some of you may remember that the bed used to be under a recently updated tree mural. Obviously we moved things around to make it all fit. The tree is still there but it looks more like this now.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I’ll admit I’m sad that Baby Girl isn’t sleeping under that tree every night. I designed the whole thing around her bed. But when I see her all snuggled up in that chair, reading a book, I can’t help but smile.

I still have a long list of finishing touches for the loft and the bedroom.

  • Paint dresser knobs
  • Touch up paint on bunks
  • Find something to hang on walls under loft
  • Create some storage solutions under the loft so things aren’t just laying around
  • Cover ugly support boards on loft “ceiling”
  • Paint ladder
  • “Tape” two small IKEA rugs together to make one patch of “grass” under loft
  • Sew curtains to create “walls” under loft

My biggest challenge? To get it all done before Baby Girl gets another great idea.

Have you ever decided to redo a project when you were only halfway done? Did it turn out better than the original idea? Please say yes. I really need to hear a yes.

Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet

A year or so ago I created a wall mural for Baby Girl’s bedroom. Back then she was all about a little fairy named Tinkerbell so I painted the Pixie Hollow tree over her bed. Now she’s nine and has informed me she still loves the tree but isn’t digging the fairies. (Insert mommy sniffle here.) And so another bedroom redo begins.

First things first. Fairy decals and fairy houses – you’re outta here.

Next, we wanted to fill the big blank space between the tree and bed. Not surprisingly, the Teen Queen is making some changes in her room too, so I went shopping in her “junk” pile and found a Collector’s Shelf I bought from Pottery Barn way back when. Score! It’s the perfect size for the space, the perfect color (matches her curtains) and the perfect storage solution for the pile, er collection, of Ugly Dolls that are spilling out of a basket in the corner.

Baby Girl wanted to help so The Hubs gave her a quick “How to put anchors in drywall” lesson and let her start poking holes in the wall while I went downstairs and made myself a drink.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

A few turns of the screws it was ready for action. (Every time I got out the camera she jumped under the covers.)

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Finally, she got to put all her little critters in their new home. And then we should be done, right?

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Unfortunately, her collection is bigger than I realized and they didn’t all fit. I thought about ordering another shelf but then we came up with some better ideas. Solution #1 – the little key chain Uglies went on cup hooks under the shelf.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Solution #2 – the biggest Uglies that were too um . . .  plump to fit in the shelf got a special place at the head of the bed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

How stinking cute are they? They look like they’re sitting at the table waiting for breakfast. Now it’s done. And most importantly, Baby Girl is happy.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I have to show you one more thing we added to her room over the long weekend. This adorable handmade linocut print from The Big Harumph. We received it as a late Christmas gift and decided it was perfect for Baby Girl’s room since she still refuses to sleep with the closet doors closed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

So that wraps up Phase 1 of the latest bedroom redo. How do you handle it when your kids outgrow their decor? Do you start from scratch? Work with what’s already there? Tell them to suck it up and go to sleep? I’d love to know.

Love & laughs,
abi