An heirloom reloaded

Confession: The day before Kelly’s birthday, I suddenly realized I had no present for her.

Uh–Large problem. Very nice, mommy.

But it brought to my mind an idea from months ago–to restore the handmade dolly bunk bed my parents gave me when I was two; to recreate it for my daughter’s second birthday.

28 years ago, with its original owner

Here’s how it looked after almost 30 years, wobbly, faded, scratched, and in short, much-loved. What a treasure!


Designed, crafted, and painted by my dad—

—upholstered and furnished by my mom.





I started snipping fleece I had on hand to make fresh patchwork blankets, sewed em up, then stitched them with yarn and a darning needle—my favorite mix of homespun and contemporary.

Ryan tightened screws, hammered nails, and refitted a missing crossbar, turning our project from rickety to solid.

I repainted with some cream paint we had on hand, and added a twist: real leaves from our yard, dipped in chocolate paint and varnished onto the frame. Jesus does detail so much better than I…

I covered the beds with new fabric, fitted it on with the same old tacks, and our work was complete.

I’m adding this project to my “something from nothing” category because the only thing I had to buy was a yard of fabric for the upholstery. But it’s hard to go wrong when you have such a great “something” piece to start with.

Kelly was so happy she turned all Victorian on me.

Okay, not really. She’s just enjoying the beach umbrella from Grandpa’s, and the homemade binoculars from Regan.

The best part of it (despite the joy of recrafting) was giving my girl a piece of her grandpa, her grandma, her daddy, and me. We made it for her.

What do you like about restoration?

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11 years ago

What a pricelessly beautiful gift!!!

11 years ago

Wonderful. What a great idea. I love how necessity spured your creativity.

GrandmaKitty Brown
11 years ago

How precious for Kelly to have something so special of her mommy’s, from her mommy, repaired by her daddy, handed down (literally from their hands!) from loving grandparents. Aren’t you glad you “had no present” for her? 🙂

11 years ago

I love this so, so much. And you are not alone in forgetting gifts until the last minute! I’m great at doing that, but my solution is usually a quick run to the store for something cheap that I later wish I hadn’t bought.

One of the best Christmas memories I have is the year that Mom repainted the little cupboard, table, and benches that we used for doll play. We awoke Christmas morning to our faded green cupboards painted a soft lavender/pink and the table and bench matched.

11 years ago

You do things I dream about doing! Sigh.
What an exquisite gift.

11 years ago

Wow, your upholstering is amazing. That leaf detail is wonderful.

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