Tip # 186: Don’t knock it ’til you’ve stacked it.
We live in New York City. And while the crumbling brownstone we call home is far from the most extreme example in this city of people living one on top another, when we fall asleep at night we know there are four floors of people sleeping below us. On summer evenings, when James and I manage to sneak onto the roof of our building and take in the sunset, the view we see is chockablock with people stacked just like us. Giant block towers with glowing windows set against a pink and purple sky.
Taking stacked sleeping one step further inside our own tiny apartment seems logical, but I still deliberated between low-profile bunk beds, or a trundle, or a shared double bed for the kids’ narrow bedroom. To be totally honest, I didn’t fully grasp what a difference bunk beds in a tiny apartment could make until we had our kids sleeping in them. Here’s how it’s been going:
I’ll probably jinx all my good luck by putting this in writing, but some combination of weaning, and summertime exhaustion, and finally sleeping in a bed sized for a child instead of a baby, means that Silas has been sleeping beautifully. Magnificently! Blissfully! There was a bit of negotiation and kinks to work out in terms of finding a new bedtime routine. We had a bit of up and down and up again regarding where bedtime stories would be read before landing back in our big bed where we’d always read them before. But overall the transition regarding sleep has been easy. Nay, wonderful. I’m not naive enough to think the new beds were the only factor here, but since the first night our kids started sleeping in them, we’ve all been getting unprecedented sleep in this tiny apartment.
With the floor space that we gained in the kids’ room by moving out a crib, we were able to welcome a rescued desk from a local pre-k classroom. And the room has become less of a place just to sleep and more of a space to play. More than that, it’s become a space where the kids seem to feel a real sense of ownership. The beds themselves serve as the jumping off point (sometimes literally, though thankfully not yet from the top bunk) for imaginary games of every stripe. The kids’ desk being in their own room leaves them a bit of privacy and a space to create away from the hubbub of the rest of the apartment. As they get older, I imagine the bit of individuated space will be even more important. Right this minute, I’m scoping out possible sconces or clip-on lights so that each kid will have their own private space to read. (Recommendations welcomed!).
I’ve gotten lots of questions about how we’re making the bed. For now, we’re using fitted bottom sheets only. Both kids sleep on relatively lightweight mattresses and so James and I haven’t found changing the sheets to be very much more onerous than changing sheets on any bed. The corners lift up easily and with a grunt and a pull or two, the bottom sheet’s on. Because it’s been summertime, the kids have been sleeping with their small baby blankets only. Come cooler weather, I’m planning to use throw blankets or toddler-sized duvets or blankets over top. For the next few years anyway, I can’t see the value in wrestling twin-sized flat sheets or blankets onto the beds. Their room is fairly stuffy all year long, so I’m hoping a lightweight blanket or quilt for each of them will be easy enough to wash weekly and cozy enough to sleep under. Specifics TBD.
+ The bunk we settled on is the Oeuf Perch Bunk Bed. I was torn between this bed and tackling a more involved DIY hack of the Ikea Kura, but when we were given the opportunity to rehome a set of secondhand Perch bunks directly from the designers themselves, we decided we couldn’t pass on the opportunity. We couldn’t be happier. When James and I were briefly solo in Brooklyn back in July, we took my parents’ car and rumbled over to Park Slope to drop off our crib and pick up the new-to-us bunks. By the end of the night we had everything set up and ready to go. (The video instructions available to set up this bed are genius and leave out most all room for error or spousal disagreements. I highly recommend them to anyone tackling the project.) To save space, we’re using the replacement ladder that comes with bed’s trundle option. (Full disclosure: I’m not certain this ladder can be purchased separately from the trundle typically, but it’s been a huge space-saver for us and such a welcome addition to the bed!)
+ The kids’ desk was rescued via my local Buy Nothing Group and before that, from a local elementary school updating their pre-k classroom. I repainted it in the kids’ requested color: pink. The color is Calamine No. 230 from Farrow & Ball, who generously provided a small pot of their paint for the project. I decided on the Modern Eggshell finish for durability and it’s been lovely. (More on this desk and the oft-asked-about art supplies very soon!)
+ The kids’ sheets were a gift from Lewis Home in the Rosehip print which is so sweet and subtle and even more lovely in person.
What else? Bunk bed fears you need allayed? Questions? Fellow bunk enthusiasts?