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My Bed, My Way

Like a stone thrown into the looking glass of one's future, the ripples from that moment have the potential to cascade on to the shoreline of today.. If there were ever a picture taken to capture that time, that moment, this would be that picture.



Long ago when the boys were still in single digits we stepped into a furniture store with the intent to buy both boys their very own bed.  I am sure you can recall a time in your life when your parents took you out to buy something specifically for you, particularly for your bedroom.  The home is theirs, but that 10x10'ish area...  that space, that's all yours. :)


Crazy as I pull back the blanket of time and suddenly I'm drawn to my childhood.  One of which literally altered my own life when my parents allowed me to build my bed, my way. Only by happenstance in going through pictures did I stumble upon my own stone throwing moment.

Just as Chas and I were preparing to leave the nest and go out on our own, here are some pics she snagged of me cleaning up... I was barely 21.  


Sheesh!.. 
As of this writing, Avin will be 20 in January.


The empty space on the right was for my 19" Tube TV.  The space to the left was for my VCR and first generation PlayStation - PS1, and of course, diecast model cars under low voltage puck lighting. ;)



A mirrored headboard with two columns and hidden puck lights below.  Even in my adult infancy, I had a love for lighting!  Not to mention, the small wire mold inside to hide the wires.



I didn't want a rickety-squeaky bed like my former futon fold out couch-bed.  The large 2x6's were placed below the box spring so the base, a would-be-bed-frame, could breathe.  



I wish I had a picture of what it looked like when it was all dolled up, however today, all I have are these pictures along with the hand drawn and dimensioned design drawings I used to estimate and build from.  Like a treasure map from another world, I have them framed and are placed in the corner of my office as a reminder of where I came from and why I love building cool shit.



When we walked into the furniture store that day looking at beds, beds that my boys had decisional power over, I suppose I was subconsciously drawn back to my childhood.  I am pretty sure that the reason why I took the "my bed, my way" was that it set a fire under Tristan that he would not let go.


At this time, he was a quick witted 3.5 year old hell bent on creative play, with a huge love for Spiderman... Like a lot! 




In expected fashion, no surprise that Tristan would have fallen in love with that kind of bed.  Although he did not get the Spriderman bed, that sweet little asshole talked his parents into the idea of buying him his own bunk bed... 


Yes, the beds that are designed for two people.  He and the persuasive salesmanship of his Dad were able to sell his mom on the idea of a bunk bed... yes.. a bunk bed for one damn ass kid. :)


The only caveat to the buy-in was that he had to sleep on the bottom bunk until old enough.  It's the fine print I share with you here... 3.5 year old Tristan and his damn bunk bed... with of course Spiderman sheets and NO top mattress or ladder to climb.



And without paying attention, there it is.... 

no take backs


Poor Chas, she lives in a house with nothing but dudes.  I mean, she particularly has her mom shows, (yuck) hahah!  but for the most part, she's surrounded by a bunch of gamers.  It only makes sense that in short time Tristan would bite on the technology bug and be a hooked gamer! 



His brother Avin and I weren't any better of an influence on him as he quickly fell in line. haha! 



Tristan and I rocking the THIRD generation of the PlayStation - PS3.



Even when family is over, boys are hooked! 



RIP Nanna! We miss you! <3



So as Tristan came to an age of 10, he was poised to do some serious gaming!  Combine that love for gaming, pretend play, and Legos, this would be like a grease fire in a kitchen...  


Overwhelming and hard to manage!!



For the longest time, Tristan has had a knack for being in my shadow while I'm working.


He's either using the tools as best he can, or is pretend playing.



Other times he'd be by my side watching what I was doing or copying me in some fashion.



Eventually, that sweet 3.5 year old baby would turn into a 10 year old child with the mental capacity for a 14 year old.  He got to the point where he was not interested in his bunk bed anymore and needed a change.  This was not without a lot of passive bugging... but ultimately something bit me.  


and Lord did it ever! hahah 


Leave it to his Dad to drop the idea of "hey, maybe we can build you a bed that's like a gaming fort!  One that's from one side of the wall to the next?!!"  His eyes lit up! yes! and could it have a secret door hatch too?!"  hell yeah it could! 


He was overwhelmed with excitement! 

BUT! 
DO NOT SAY A WORD TO YOUR MOM! 
I need to make her comfortable with the idea first.

So one night I presented the idea to Chas.  Her first thought was no way, what happens when he grows out of it?.. my prepared mind said, what happens when he grows out of his bunk bed? We'd be in the same spot as a clubhouse we're taking down.  He never had a clubhouse and this would be something he'd get.  We left it at that and gave it a day or so.


Thankfully, Chas saw the joy in it - so we all built his gaming fort together over a long weekend.- "Fort YoYo Games" HQ!


Here is a video never shared before.  This is the morning we disassembled his bunk bed to start his gaming fort.  Tomorrow, 6/30/24, this video will be exactly FOUR years old!



The transformation of his room was incredible! Not only was the project one of the coolest things I had done with Tristan, the house, his hallway smelled like fresh cut wood for the better part of a week!


After:


Before:


For the days, months, and years that followed, this is where Tristan could be found - and heard! 



The main wall that his fort occupies is shared with our kitchen pantry... which means that when he would get into a sweaty match (translates to stressful) you could hear him hollering and screaming.  It's one of those parent things that, yeah, it's reallllly annoying, while at the same time, it's only going to be for so long so might as well enjoy it.


When he would be done he'd slip down from his gaming station through the hidden hatch and lay down and watch TV from below his bed.  This evolved into a routine of everyday'ness. 


But hey! Can't beat the efficiency of the use...


it's as if it was designed this way from the beginning... hmmm??? ;)

 

When he would have his buddies over to spend the night, two bodies could be found curled up in the fetal position up inside the fort.  Meanwhile, someone else would occupy the bed below.  You see, the secret hatch would be at the pillow level.  So that meant someone stepped on the pillow to get in the fort... which we asked, "doesn't stepping on the pillow while sleeping bother your friends?" 


Nope!

Time would lapse before us, and there it would be... 

Into the unconscious days of the future, what feels sudden can now easily be seen off in the distance, there's no mistaking what's unfolding - but it's happening... and it's on its way.  


Intentionality... 

Observation... 

Father Time...



Poof!



When his bedroom door is shut, it's still loud.  Regardless of a four year difference, the sweat matches are just as intense.  However, it sounds different now.  Once you go through the door you realize what's just happened.

 

The ripples have turned to waves and now are at the shore.
no take backs.


What was once a bright filled space is now dark and abandoned looking... someone's moved out.


Through his paying attention and knowhow, he took items from inside the fort and brought them down into more of a usable space - his space.





No more are the days of him building in front of the TV anymore.  Chas and I would just sit there and watch our shows while he would go back and forth on the entertainment area playing and building.



​Today, he's now repurposed his dresser area as a well lit workshop (which he re-wired / re-mounted from above) so that he can build Legos and other things efficiently.  The shelf on the left holds completed parts and pieces, while he builds on the topside.  Meanwhile, the top drawer has been eliminated from clothes and is filled with containers of detailed pieces for Lego building. 


There was a time when Tristan needed my help with the Legos...




But now, he's next level all on his own.



But what happened to his gaming fort?
Is he still doing that?? 

Okay... I see what I've done here..


Yes...


Yes, he still has his gaming fffoor... well, let's call it what it really is now... "a gaming station"


and before you get all judgy - cause I sure would! hahahaha! 


I must disclose that I had a hand in the pot stirring of "gaming station possibility"... No surprise, he did bite, and bite hard he did, and with that he made it his own... of course with some design oversight on my end. hahah! 


let me explain ;)

There was a time when I needed to pay my dues. (still am btw) I needed to earn the opportunity to inch by inch step my workspace up just as I did my tools, truck and or anything else I've worked for in life.


It's imperative for my spirit that I be comfortable in my environment - especially if I am required to be creative. It's become far easier in my life now that I am my own boss. Although I do have to do a lot of shit that my boss tells me to... I at least don't have to fight about stepping up my work area any... so that's a plus!


My humble workspace in my first office:


And a minor adjustment for a job well done in my newer office.

*the center monitor is the exact same size as the other two, however it's the curved screen that makes the smaller illusion. For perspective, the desk is 72" long.


I have to admit, I feel like I can command a space station from here hahah! .. but I don't have toys in the garage, or a boat or hotrod... so this is my happy place. ;)


So... just like being the youngest kid in the house, you get your older brothers hand-me-downs of clothing.  But when your older brother has his own job, buys his own cool shit, has a dope ass gaming computer... I suppose the next logical recipient for "Dad's old shit" is... well... the younger brother.


Not bad, aye?


My boy still got love for the Spiderman... so that's cool! :)


So the other part...

lord help me with this reveal, lol!... 


Here is his gaming fort set up.

Before:


After:


Before:


I know there's a lot going on here... so let me break it down to you so you get a better picture of how, what this is.  


The Loadout:


A- Clock  - YES! you are gonna crawl your ass out of bed to turn it off.  NO you can't have it near your bedside.


B- PlayStation 5 controller case - Because I guess a nice controller needs a hard case now? lol! It's literally a parking garage for his Lamborghini controller.


C- Trophy - because that's what happens when you beat the Steelers in a clutch game! Shoutout Saints! 


D- HAND-ME-DOWN Headset & Mic  - Hand-me-down from his cool ass uncle


E- Nintendo Switch - I guess we bought this too one time?!.. 


F- Fifth Generation PlayStation 5 (PS5)  - He bought this with his own $ after a lot of saving


G- Stupid ass big ass TV  - He was gifted a silly ass huge ass, OLD, TV from our good buddy Jon. RIP.


Once we rearranged the entirety of his TV wall, there was a face-sized burn in the center of the screen.  Like HUGE!  We had already destroyed the wall's original layout with the installation of this... Afterwards I was committed to the idea and had to honor the intent and go buy him a new one that day.. Thank heavens with all the inflation out there, TV's are stupid cheap!  I am happy to report he did not negotiate up in size of TV.. he was just happy to have such a cool set up


*** Oh... and why not back light the TV too, right?! hahahh! 


H- HAND-ME-DOWN Bose Sound Bar  - I was cool with everything for him, but this thing is a topper on spoiling your kids.. sheesh! 


Chas and I had this in our bedroom for years... not used but three times or so.  He was trying to hook his sound up and I made the comment - Go ask your mom if it'd be okay to use the soundbar... to his surprise, she said sure, we're not using it.


I did not remember how amazing this thing sounded.. but DUDE! Remember me saying with him up in his clubhouse we'd hear everything??!!... Well now the spoiled little shit cranks it up and you can hear all the gaming fodder, drama, bullets and everything ROAR out of his room!!


When I approach the room and open his door he's got a stupid ass grin on his face.... 


"Need me to turn it down???" ... HAHAH




*IMPORTANT: Tristan on his own, figured out how to use his former TV mount for the smaller TV and repurpose it for the soundbar.  Only did I step in for some minor adjustments in design.  He gets ALL the credit for it even being possible! 





I- First headset & mic  - has been replaced by his uncles... so I suppose he still needs to flex on it still?? haha


J- DAYTIME Cologne and deodorant.  - I have to confess... he got this idea from me.  As I have this exact setup! 


K- NIGHT TIME Cologne and deodorant - I shamefully admit... I have been doing this lame ass scent change up for years.  

*don't hate ;)  hahaha


L- HAND-ME-DOWN Former Dad's Work Station  -  I wouldn't buy this shit for him! LOL


M- HAND-ME-DOWN Electrical Current Machine  - Another gift from our buddy Jon


N- Broke ass headset  - I repaired these with some silver-metal-tape! He still rocks'em! 


In all 100% transparency, helping this kid redo his gaming setup was such a random, spontaneously done project.  I installed all of while wearing my relax shorts and flip flops on.  I felt incredibly "un" professional.. more like a DIY, Pinterest Dad. lol! .. but! we got it set up.


The TV back lighting looks dope as shit!!


Kinda breaks my heart, some... :(

Same

Exact

Wall...



​At least he's still rocking Spiderman.. <3


Chas and I knew that one day Tristan would outgrow his bed.  It's one of those things that I wish I could have held onto forever... but that's not how life goes.  Father Time definitely doesn't care for my feelings. 


He had been complaining for a good while about not feeling comfortable in his mattress.  Honestly, he was 3.5 when we bought the full size mattress for the bottom of the bunk bed.  Didn't matter cause he was so small.  It was shit though.. such a pain to lay on it with him.  Nonetheless he was due for a new bed and mattress.


For a time he would send me other beds that were found online.  This was a new Tristan.  A 14 year old kid with the mindset (sometimes) of a 17 year old.


One day while in his room going over the details of things I again made an off the cuff comment..  


What would you think if we took down your clubhouse, moved your bed up high to the ceiling and build a workshop like space below?

"Like what are you thinking?"


Well, we could get you a new mattress, same size as this one, but push you as high up as we can to the ceiling, build a headboard so you can keep stuff up there, but you'd have like a lot of space down below.  We could build a worktop counter space for you to build more things. Maybe we could get some extra lights to light up the space.. Oh yeah! Instead of getting pull out drawers like you want - because they're very expensive - instead we could get a shit load of containers.  Containers that are designed for screws and nuts, but instead, it'd hold all your key Legos! 


It didn't take long for the wheels to start moving in T's head.  He was excited again! 


For a few weeks he passively asked me when.  We had already set up his gaming station and he was itching to move out.  Before we could start I told him that he needed to purge his room and old fort so we weren't figuring things about his purgeable stuff while burning up build time.


So over the course of his Spring break he committed.  That allowed us the last three days to get after it... and that's exactly what we did! 


This time however I would be wearing work clothes! hahah


What felt like a flash in the pan, as soon as it went up...


It was coming down...

Damn.. a lot changes in four years... :(



Tristan's only design expectation was that he needed to be able to walk underneath the space with ease. Just like his previous work space.  It had to be at least that tall.



After a full day of demo, we needed a break.  Might as well go buy the remaining material AND a new mattress.  That was a fun experience :) 


As we approached the large lumber door, Tristan made the comment about how much he loves the smell of Home Depot.  The place where it smells like wood and that gassy smell from the forklifts - propane - I clarified.


It was just a moment ago he was there to help me load my material cart. 


Today, while I'm ordering paint, he's out wandering around through the store getting the cubby boxes and other unique things he wanted to add to the build.  It was nice to exercise the "I spared no expense" (Jurassic Park'ism) as I pointed out where he could find the small containers and let him rip. 

 

He came back and I was like: "are you sure you have enough??" Really?! he said... "Yeah, go grab a couple more, man!  This is fun shit shopping for tools!"  So he dipped out and grabbed some more and slightly different ones too.


When all was done buying material, we ate at the hotdog stand and connected talking about the build and next steps.  It was slightly overcast and not very hot, which made it that much nicer.


I am really happy to report that all we spent that day at Home Depot was $350.  All the other materials needed to pull off this build was from his first bed, or random leftover shit hanging out in my shop or the go-box-tool boxes I had at the ready.


We picked up his mattress after lunch and headed back home.  We made some dry fit adjustments to be prepared for tomorrow then called it a day.  We were smoked!


By early morning the next day, the initial game plan was humming along quickly.  We could see the overall look!



We took his old 2x4 black cubby and repurposed it as his headboard.


The mattress slipped in hella nice.  Comfort was happening! 



For more stability and storage capacity we built an inner structural wall that locked in the primary vertical post along with the strength of the adjacent fixed wall.  We used 2x6's for extra depth so it would give space for all the small bins we purchased the day before.


Before we could close it up with the backer, someone needed to learn how to paint...


and paint he did!  We went with white to create a contrast in color to the grey/wood backer.



While my inexperienced subordinate did the low technical work, I got to nerd out on the fun technical shit..  actually, the really unnecessary technical detail kinda shit..


I mean, what else am I going to do with leftover low voltage lighting?? 


Duh!
I'm going to back-light his headboard for the dopest nightlight evar! 

You can't have a bed without a nightstand!!.. Where are you going to charge your phone?!! Or hold your sippy cup for a midnight thirst quench?! So, we built one with a removable top plate to gain access to the charging bank below.  Not to mention, the extra storage capacity.



​Now with the cubby space painted and dried, we could install the backerboard.



I'd be lying if I said this wasn't bitter sweet.. :(



Stacking the build correctly, we were now ready to build the staircase! 

I told Tristan that whatever we did, the City Inspector had to approve design intent and constructability. (aka Mom).  


The City Inspector did not like the genky ass ladder of the first bunk bed, and mandated a better design. 



Message received! These were gonna be stout!

 

Like, large ass Dad stout!  Being pinned between the exterior wall and the cubby wall, this was going nowhere! Additionally, with where the stairs are located insures that there is no sway - left-to-right - within the bed. Lock in and locked down!




Even has a step down landing spot.  Makes it really easy to slip out of bed.


Handicap rail works like a charm! Secure as a mo'fo! 


There was even a leftover low voltage lighting budget.. How can you light the headboard and NOT light the stairs too.. Come on people!! Standards!! :) :)


I'm happy to report that the stairs were approved with flying colors from the City Inspector! She especially liked the surprise lighting change order that was approved by the funding department.


Now that the stairs are in, we can work on the other details! 

The cubby locker looks awesome! 


Especially with the white color contrasting to the painted black frame and wooden-grey backer.


A structure that has stairs MUST also have a Harry Potter room!! 

You just gotta! 


Plus the storage is incredible! 


Underneath the stair landing is homage to Club Yo-Yo and its new upgrade, The Red Shop.


Nothing is better than getting the customer's approval on the progress of construction.


No doubt, this is what the face of approval looks like! 

My bed. My way.

You can't call a place a shop without a quality workspace! 


Time for the countertop!


That's right people! 

169" linear inches of work space! 


At 24" deep and 30" tall - this is going to be perfect! 


See there in the teal color? We drilled a hole from above, but below the headboard, and dropped an extension cord within the wall to pop out below to be energized with the outlet underneath the countertop.  This gives us electrical power up in the suite section above!..


**no wires to be seen!!


Countertop fully installed! 

169" x 24" converts to be 25 square feet of workspace!

Upstairs in the suite section, the bed fits like a charm! This is a seriously comfortable bed! 


Unlike Club Yo-Yo, the rebuild was built sooo much tighter.  You can't hear a creak or click of a movement. All of which makes for a more enjoyable sleep space! 


So you put lighting on the stairs - yes, sure did!

Lighting at the headboard - duh... this guy?...


Is there lightning anywhere else?

What kind of question is that??? 

Of course we did! 

It's just begging for it! :)


Just before the stairs were lit up we put LED lighting under the counters AND shelves.  We entertained multi color LED's but that wasn't available in the leftover stock of lights.. not to mention, color LED's clash with the pop of all natural colors in the space. ;)


We wired the shelves from the headboard above, then roped the counters and stairs into their own sequence of lighting.



We chose a balanced paint scheme of white, black, and natural wood to give it a nice completed look.  The stairs were not painted as the type of paint, the time it'd take, and at the risk of the friction/body oils would impact its longevity.  So we kept it as bare wood. 


That set the stage for the structure of the countertop base and front molding on the countertop.  To bring cohesion, we painted the backsplash area black and used the cubby space's white to connect with the countertop itself while leaving the molding as bare wood.


This also gave the black shelves on the wall (thank you to Tristan's Grandsire) immediate contrast to the white of the countertop.  It's very easy on the eyes! Looks like a custom piece of furniture! :)


With it all painted, lit up, next step is to move in! :)

This is where Tristan spent a week or so getting things just as he wanted.  This took some serious time though.  We got done with the Red Shop rebuild in March, but let the move in duration take the time necessary.  I mean, there's a manufacturing-I'm building stuff feature to this place! 


The storage containers had been proactively spaced before the cubby wall was built.  We offset the shelving within to give it a cool look, but also, those containers filled the space with perfection! 



Kudos to the designer!! 

40 storage containers so he can break down the colors of necessary Legos... or grow with the space as he ages into its design.



3 bonus containers for Lego people parts.


I periodically pop in to see how/what Tristan is doing.  I often ask for feedback on the design and layout of the space.  What makes it even cooler is the combination of all the colors of the wall art, his toys, and of course, the lights!


When he's in chill mode or focused on gaming, he can rock only the low voltage indirect lights separate from everything else via remote control. ;)


This creates a calming space for the ultimate level of chillage.


Quit it... you're distracting me.
Yes, I'll get to the creature comforts here in a sec.;)

Ahem, back to the lighting!


Remember Tristan's work space he made having repurposed the lighting from the fort space?


We added a few more so that he would have no shadowing while trying to craft his amazing masterpieces... 


You cannot have a workshop without good lighting! 

And nothing is worse than a bad shadow when the details really matter! 

Even better when it's controlled with its switch on the wall! 


Hella bright! Like fo-reals!



Yes... :)  

When our sweet friend Jon passed away he had an old electric fireplace in the back of an unused room.  Tristan expressed interest in it as a good memory of him.  Tristan served Jon for almost six months straight having traveled to his house daily to take care of the cat box.  While Jon was in the hospital, Tristan would also feed his kitties too.  


The idea of him wanting something nice to remember our buddy... well, it made perfect sense. :) Especially fitting as the cubby wall was designed to cradle juuust above it. ;)


Sure makes it hella homey :)


It's super neat seeing it all come together.  All the comic book colors sprinkled throughout... enough space for Tristan to really decorate the way that is fitting for his kinda jam.


Looks so, so dialed in man! wow! :)




Oh yes!...

 

Well that... yeah, that's 100% me and his mom.

I mean, you only turn 14 once in your life...

and come on, he has a fireplace too!


You HHHAAAVEE to have a fridge loaded with snacks.

*sidenote:... I did draw the line at not having a microwave... and yes it was requested. The funding department denied the request. You gotta have some sort of limiting standards!!


**sidenote to the sidenote:... the sweet child loved that he was getting a fridge for his birthday... BUT! this genius negotiating asshole makes the comment:


"soo.... will it come loaded with drinks?"..
"Dad, would you buy a cell phone without a SIM card?"
"I mean"....

I mean nothing you little shit! yes, we'll stock it up for you!! 

Way to sell the idea Tristan! HAHAHHAH 


And yes, that is a pink tutu skirt around his garbage..

And yes, that is the top of the garbage can...


Makes for a hell of a snack holder! 

Courtesy idea from the City Inspector!


Although this sweet asshole is now 14... that creative little kid is still in the background. <3


(Such a sweet picture! just ignore the two huge piles of shit next to Tristan! HAHAHAHA)


There's always some super hero tension looming around within the details of Tristan's room.





Like finding Waldo... I wouldn't have known had he not said anything!


I just love where his head is at! :)



I still can't help myself wanting to just pop in and check this place out! 


The view from the suite above, looking down!



Just below the top rail, a floating shelf for the necessary location for remote controls... the one on the right works ALLL the indirect low voltage lighting... I mean.. who wants to get down to turn on or off the lights?! no one!  Only for the alarm clock! ;)



View from his gaming station:


View from the workspace:


It's like an amusement park in there! But really a fort thingy that's a workshop, that happens to be a bed... with a crazy gaming system accompanied by a fireplace and a fridge... 


I bugged Tristan for days to get his room photo ready.  He knew the details of where I was going.  And to my delight, he took the entirety of it seriously and allowed me to nerd out.  


There's only so much time we're gifted on this planet.  I always wondered how/if/when I could connect with my boys in the similar fashion of my own GP.. (RIP)... seeing all these pictures, all the history of the life we live, filled with the creations built... I am damn ass happy the universe helped me find a way to connect in the way we had.


It's his bed, done his way....
Or...  
 is it my bed, my way??? ;)

Thank you SOOOOOO much for reading this incredibly fun story.

Doing the math on time, I have spent more time combing through pictures, prepping for, and writing this blog than it took me to build the Red Shop. 


I have likely spent north of 30hours on this post having written half of it once, did not like it, started over, paused because it was too late in the night, and now finishing it the next day.  Not to mention, there are 108 pictures that tell the story of this story. 


Not only was it a rabbit hole of a fun picture dig, I had to take just the right angle for the DDFD pics... afterwards, each picture had too be screen captured, reduced in file size, named and filed accordingly, then stitched throughout the story.  


I know, I'm a nerd.  Someday into the deep future I will be happy I captured this window of time in such detail.


An amazing shoutout to the City Inspector, my bride, my Chas, for allowing me the time it took to comprise the details and story to this post... I love you on the mucho! 


I deeply appreciate all of your support! :)


Have a grateful weekend!


Given the right tree, I could probably pull this off. ;)



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