From Granny Guest Room to ShipWrecked Kids’ Bunk Room

While others eschew themey decor, here at the beach we embrace it! Our plan at first was to design a ‘ship-shape’ kids’ bunk room, but after examining our true selves, where “Work Like a Captain, Play Like a Pirate, Swear Like a Sailor” is our motto, ‘shipwrecked’ was just more in keeping with how we live at the beach.


Admit it:  what kid wouldn’t want to pretend they’re moored on a deserted island, their ship cracked in two with just a few necessities left to keep them alive? Soft pillows, pirate eye-patch, a battered copy of Robinson Crusoe… and a real-life mom around the corner making pancakes.

Certainly a granny style guestroom has its merits. When our tiny beach house is filled with visitors – the way I love it – we have had to force grown men up the bunk bed ladder to that top bunk. Those poor guys were probably wishing for some pink floral sheets and a flutey dust ruffle on a queen-sized mattress, crystal carafe of water and a scented candle at their elbow.

BH-bunkroom-before-and-afterBefore and after. The above-mentioned ladder was added after this photo was taken, and the cobalt blue wall happened later as well.


SOMEday we will have grandchildren. Plus, the advantage of having three extra beds in one room instead of one big bed allows all kinds of disparate groups of people to stay overnight.

As deeply rooted DIY-ers , we managed to pull together the transformation inexpensively using resources like Etsy, Ebay, and as my own grandmother used to say, our own ‘elbow grease.’

Starting from the top, we ordered the pendant lamp cage from 1000Bulbs,  for $5.49.  1000Bulbs also sells the Edison lightbulb for $3.71.



For “window treatments” we found vintage life preservers on Etsy for about $14 each. The blinds were left by the previous owners of our little beach house, for which we are grateful.



Because the top bunk is without a place to set your novel, glasses, alarm clock etc. we rigged a bucket on a rope and pulley. Also a convenient mode of transportation for snacks, the bucket was purchased at our nearby independently owned hardware store. The marine grade rope and the cast iron cleats used to hook the rope below, and above for the window treatments, were found at our local marine supplies store.


Etsy was our source for the antique pulley.


Sheets and blankets are either vintage or second-hand, found on Etsy or in thrift shops, except for the life preserver print pillow cases (Garnet Hill, no longer available but click for similar fun prints.)  Life preserver throw pillow is from Land of Nod. The buoy throw pillow can be found at Cobalt Sky Studio; visit her Etsy shop or her website, which is worth visiting just for the gorgeous visuals!


If I had to choose one favorite item in the shipwrecked bunk room, it’s probably the poster we found online at 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store (there is such a thing! Pirates need to get their gear somewhere!) For just $20 (and a frame we built and slopped some paint on) this is a perfect message, we feel, for anyone who may think that cannons alone sink ships.


The bunk beds themselves were built by us, and the only real “splurge” items were the portholes. (We ordered them so long ago we can’t remember where we got them! Similar portholes can be found here.)


The portholes actually open and close, and we rigged lighting into the space behind them so the kids can flip a switch and have a softly glowing porthole for a nightlight.



Most everything else we used was either thrift or gift, or just stuff we already had (old wooden trunk, vintage suitcase, kid’s folding chair, moth-eaten books.)



And of course some flotsam and jetsam that “survived the shipwreck”:


These Converse sneakers also survived, and are now the perfect doorstop:


Just as we ourselves are, our shipwrecked bunk bed room is a work in progress. Someday we’ll finish trimming out the top edge of the top bunk, and add deep drawers underneath for extra, badly needed storage. And someday when those grandchildren arrive we’ll be reading bedtime stories from the ancient books, opening up the trunks to reveal hidden booty, and hoisting up sugary treats in the bucket before returning the little darlings to their parents!




  1. This space is great!
    Thanks for the nice mention!

    1. Thanks so much, and you’re very welcome Marley! Your Cobalt Sky Studio’s wares are awesome!

  2. Love Colbalt Sky Studio, great article

    1. Thank you Gloria! Cobalt Sky Studio’s pillows are a perfect addition to our shipwrecked bunk room.

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