Thursday, January 24, 2013

Basement Clubhouse Fort

For a long while, our basement playroom looked like this:
We had a little stage that we made using two IKEA Expedit units and a tension rod that we hung the stage curtains on.  We also enjoyed a Nilo Train Table that I picked up at Goodwill for $10 a couple years ago.  The chairs around the table were Target online clearance purchases.

At some point, I decided that the kids needed a play fort/reading loft in our basement.  I really liked the look of the Pottery Barn Kid's Eli Fort Bed:

Pottery Barn Kids

But it had a $1399 price tag plus tax and shipping, AND it was too big for our space.  We needed something cheaper and smaller, with the same fort like feel.  I discovered Ana White had come up with plans for the Eli Fort Bed, so Bill looked over her plans and modified them to fit our needs.  We decided on a fort base that was 6' long x 4' wide for the interior dimensions.  (Shorter and wider than the Eli Fort Bed.)

The Process

Here was how our play room looked all cleared out:

Bill put in many hours over his break working in the garage in really cold temperatures.  He was such a trooper!!  Charm did some helping too:)!

After constructing all four sides of the structure in the garage, we carried them to the back of our house and through the basement walk out door.  Next, Bill put the fort together, while I held it in place.  Here it is all together:

Once the structure had four sides, Bill installed the hardwood floor using 2" x 6" boards.  He also made a ladder for the fort.

The next day, I sanded and sanded and sanded.  Our entire basement got ridiculously dirty.  The saw dust was everywhere!!  We plan to stain or poly or paint the fort in the spring when we can air out our house more, but for now the wood is raw (and very smooth!).  We changed out the light fixture in the space too because the big round paper fixture was too big.  The new light fixture was from our guest bedroom in the basement.  The guest bedroom then got the light fixture that was in our front room upstairs, and the front room now has the big round fixture that had been in the basement playroom.  Did you follow that?  It was a little light fixture changing extravaganza, and was especially interesting because all three lights are from IKEA and are therefore all very quirky in how they are attached.  

The loft portion has a 4' x 6' rug on top of the hardwood floor to keep the space nice and cozy.  We have a couple big pillows up there and some books too!

It's hard to get a good picture, but you can get a little feel for the space with this picture:

 I set up the area underneath the fort like a grocery store:
We purposely adjusted the height of the fort so that Lucky could stand up beneath the fort and above it as well (for now anyway:)).  We wanted both spaces to be usable and fun spaces for the kids.

I found the fruit scale on Amazon:).

I made some grocery lists for the kids using small clipboards:).

I have big plans to change up the fort area often using different themes.  While Bill was out building the fort, Lucky, Charm and I came up with a huge list of possibilities from making the fort into a fire station or a castle...from a library to a bakery.  I can't wait to make their visions a reality!  I plan to post pictures to the blog as we change fort themes, and also when we make general fort updates.  Bill is planning on making some hinged window panes for the two windows in the near future....and I have window flower boxes on my wish list:).

I hope you all have a super weekend!!


  1. What cute nicknames you have for your kids. Lucky Charm :D
    This build looks fantastic! I so want to meet a DIY guy when my time comes so that my future children can have awesomeness like this!

  2. That is AMAZING. What a great husband you have!

  3. Christina @ Floridays MomJanuary 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    I found your blog via your super cute rope framed mirror you made and figured I'd check out your recent post and what a fun treat to see this super awesome fort you all made for your little ones. I the same fort magazine pic ripped out sitting in my "dream" drawer but never actually thought of building one myself. How wonderful! You guys did a terrific job and I am sure it will be beyond adorable once its all stained, painted, etc!

  4. Beth, this is a masterpiece. I can't wait to see this beautiful fort.