Rocco’s Barn Door Crib

I really need to write down more things in the moment, because I can’t even remember how we decided to make this. Nano mentioned, at some point, probably during the beginning of my second trimester, wanting to build a crib for the baby. So, of course he started looking at YouTube videos and other stuff online and asking me what styles I liked.

I believe I initially told him that I didn’t care what kind of crib he made; it was his gift to the baby, so the design was up to him. And then, mixed in with a bunch of videos and images he was searching through, I saw something that looked like a barn door, I think—or maybe we were talking about indoor sliding “barn” doors again, because those were big for a while and I kind of wanted to jump on that bandwagon even though we don’t have anyplace to put such a thing in our current house that would make sense—and I thought, “Barn door baby crib!”

Surely someone had thought of this before, right? But I was surprised to find it much less prevalent an idea than I’d expected. Pottery Barn had a discontinued rustic barn-door-looking crib for $800 or so, and one YouTuber had build something similar. I found several Pinterest pins where cribs had big barn doors as a backdrop, rather than as an headboard and footboard style. But that was it.

So then I rescinded my permission for Nano to do a random design and told him I loved the barn door idea. Luckily, he really liked it too (if not for the style, for the design challenge at least). And here we are. We took some inspiration from the internet and made it our own.

We didn’t actually finish this before the baby was born. I say “we” like I even helped. I frequently accompanied Nano to buy wood—and added several bottles of Hubert’s Lemonade to our purchases each time, because they sell that stuff at the hardware store and I wanted to drink it all day long while I was pregnant. I also did little projects of my own in the garage alongside him, and documented a lot of the process. But he did this all by himself. 

Here he is looking for the best pieces of wood and making sure they’re straight:

Some of the wood was fancy but we also found a few good pieces in the bargain wood …

And because it’s a hassle to go out back and get the wood cut at Menards (and apparently sometimes they charge you) Nano likes to just bring his saw and cut it in the parking lot himself.


Couldn’t find the safety goggles, so he wore sunglasses instead. I nagged him about those sleeves too but it was still winter and our garage was freezing.

Numbering all the railing pieces. He arranged them so the wood grain patterns on each piece looked as nice as possible together and made sure all the prettiest knots and swirls were showing (this was how he kept them in order).

End piece framing up …

Where the rails go …

Fitting everything together to make sure it all works …

And it does!

Then he took it all apart again to stain it. Minwax, Dark Walnut (we like that one around here).

After staining, he did a couple layers of satin polyurethane, let it dry for a couple days, and then it was time to assemble it in the nursery.

Here’s the mattress platform (I forgot to get a before picture):

Finalizing bolts and screws …

And then, decorations! Which won’t actually stay on there because strings are obviously dangerous for babies, but my friend made me this banner for my baby shower and it was too cute not to use in the photo. Also, you may recognize my blanket ladder.

I loved these hexagonal bolts! I felt like they added to the rustic vibe we were going for. 

This is the default level of the crib, which will be perfect for later when Rocco is bigger. For now, Nano will be adding a riser to go under the mattress platform so it’s easier to put the baby in and take him out while he’s still tiny.

I love it so much and I’m so proud of all of Nano’s hard work. I always hoped I’d marry someone who enjoyed projects and building things, but I never even thought about a project like this. Better than I ever could’ve imagined.

3 August 2017
18 September 2017