Jason's DIY Crib Solution

Jason's DIY Crib Solution

Carrie McBride
Oct 10, 2008

We're awarding Jason a DIY merit badge for conceiving and building this Oeuf-inspired three-walled crib for his daughter Annabelle. He and his wife Shannon own a small home in D.C. and, like many families, needed to transform their office into a nursery. Being a few inches shy of the space needed for a traditional crib got Jason's DIY gears turning to create a solution that would be both functional and beautiful. We hope this crib solution will inspire others with small or awkward spaces. Click through to see the "before" space, "in-progress" photos and the adorable crib occupant, Annabelle.

This looks like a lot of work - why did you build your own crib for Annabelle?

We are fortunate enough to have a small room at the back of our top floor that's too small to be a full bedroom, but served the prior residents great as a utility-type room and us as a study. The dimensions of the room are such that in the only real place where we could imagine her crib, we'd have had to get a non-standard, smaller crib (like the Stokke or some other mini-crib); the room is *exactly* 53" wide at that point, and given that a standard crib mattress is 52", no standard crib would fit width-wise in that location. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that I could still fit a standard crib mattress in there so long as I custom-built a crib that used the room's walls as three of the crib walls... and the project began.

Many of us find home projects like this intimidating. Do you have a lot of woodworking experience?

I'm slowly becoming a huge DIY geek, but had never really done any woodworking before 2006. We moved to our first we-own-it home, on Capitol Hill in DC, in the summer of that year and I quickly realized that the home presented me with the opportunity to learn a bunch of DIY skills, and play with awesome tools. (Homes on the Hill are 100+ years old, tight, and sometimes have awkward spaces that lend themselves to custom furniture!) So soon after moving in, I embarked on a bunch of projects that ended up being great practice for building a crib; the projects included building a custom desk (in the previous incarnation of the same room that's now Annabelle's nursery!), a radiator cover and bench, two sets of built-in bookshelves, another built-in desk and set of cabinets (so we could turn the study into the nursery), and other odds and ends. Here's a link to all my DIY pix.

How long did this project take? Do you have any regrets or is there anything you would change if you could go back in time?

The whole nursery project, which included the crib, refinishing an antique dresser, building a changing table top and radiator cover, and putting up crown molding, took about five weeks. There was a *lot* of trial and error, given that it's definitely the exception on the Hill when walls meet at 90-degree angles. And honestly, there is pretty much nothing I'd do differently -- there are things I *wish* could be different, but nothing I'd change given the constraints of the space. (Two examples: first, the crib front doesn't drop, but that was necessitated by us *needing* the storage underneath and not wanting to make things more complicated by figuring out a way to have both.

Second, the fact that three walls of the crib are also the walls of the room makes it very difficult to put a crib bumper in, but we solved that with velcro on the wall and the bumper, knowing that there's really only a few months' window that the bumper will be in there anyway.)

One thing I *thought* I'd regret but totally don't: the one mistake I made when routing the cutouts on the front of the crib:

I now love that spot, and am so glad that there's something like that that uniquely identifies the crib as a DIY project of mine!

That's really it -- building her crib was totally fun, totally worth it, and every time I see her curled up in there asleep, in a piece of furniture I made, my entire day is made.

Annabelle looks happy as a clam in her crib - thanks for letting us share it on Ohdeedoh!

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