2008 D*S DIY Contest: VOTE! [entries 9-12]

by Grace Bonney

[Note: Today we’ll be posting the top 20 Finalists in the 2008 D*S DIY Contest. Four finalists will be posted an hour from 9 am to 1pm. Once you’ve seen the top 20 click here to cast your vote. Details on today’s voting process are right here]

9. Angie’s George Nelson-Inspired Jewelry Cabinet

  • Description: Working in the fashion industry, Angie has built up a large collection of accessories and jewelry. Inspired by George Nelson’s mid-century chest, but unable to afford the $1400 price tag, Angie created her own version using Ikea drawers and an Ikea table base (which she stained and then lined with vintage wrapping paper and cream colored felt).

10. Kirsten’s Suitcase Dog Bed

  • Description: Kirsten created this unique dog bed for her dachshund using fabric and a vintage suitcase.

11. Susannah’s Shelves

  • Description: Tired of ‘crappy pressed-wood IKEA bookshelves’ and in love with Atlas shelving, Susannah decided to create her own affordable, DIY version. She cut and stained wood, and then built the U-shaped shelves with her trusty power-drill. She then used an IKEA freestanding standard/bracket system, which was spray painted white to ‘be less hideous’. Total project cost: $200.

12. Melissa’s DIY Crib

  • Description: Melissa is 7 and a half months pregnant with her first baby (a girl). She lives in a small one bedroom apartment with her husband so they didn’t want to buy an oversized crib that would take up all their space. So they created this entirely DIY version (including the matrress and bumper pads) using wood and details like hand painted white floral patterns.

    *note: safety guidelines suggest placing crib slats closer together. if you’d like to replicate this crib before we’ve posted instructions please note the nsc’s safety tips and alter the structure accordingly. we will be noting this change when full instructions are posted.

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  • I love it! It looks like the perfect amount of the space for a little one to sleep in without taking up a huge amount of room!

  • love, Love, LOVE the Angie’s Jewelry cabinet. I think I’m going to run out to Ikea on my lunch break so I can get the acessories to make my own tonight!

  • I’m with Tangibelle–I need that jewelry cabinet. I too have long been obsessed with the Nelson version, but it’s sadly way out of my budget. Angie did a phenomenal job of recreating the look. Any way we could get details on which Ikea pieces and stain she chose?

  • Love the creativity. And – thank you, Jen – safety was the first thing that popped into my mind, as well, on the baby crib.

  • As a new dad, I am not too fond of the crib. Yes it looks great, but like Jen says above, there are safety standards and they exist for a reason.

    Cloth bumpers and a no-no these days as babies can roll against them and suffocate and the slats need to be the proper distance to protect little hands and feet.

    I would not feel comfortable putting my child in this crib and I feel like it is a bit of an irresponsible choice.

  • I agree with Jen; while it’s a great looking crib, safety needs to be first…the baby’s head could get stuck and what if her air supply was cut off?

  • That crib would not pass muster in Canada. The slats have to be close enough together that a baby can’t wedge her head through them. USA regulations are probably similar

  • the crib is so cute! but yeah, too many no-nos: slats should be close enough that you can’t fit a can of coke thru it and bumpers are a sids risk.

    but that etching or painting or whatever is really pretty

  • Enough of the safety regulations bit. Its a DIY project – if you’re going to do it, do it the way you’d like it to be. This is a lovely crib.

    By the way, can someone source the pretty fabric (curtains) in the first picture?

  • I think the crib looks great. Not having kids, the safety aspect didn’t even occur to me, but I imagine Melissa must have researched her project before embarking upon it and I’d be shocked if it wasn’t designed with her cild’s safety and comfort in mind. It could be the case that the way it’s been photographed has made the dimensions look wrong?

    On the topic of safety though, I hope Kirsten attended to a safety measure for keeping the dog bed/ suitcase lid completely upright, as I’d be worried about my pooch sleeping somewhere that could snap shut!!

  • Safety regulations are important! A baby’s life should not be endangered for the sake of pretty.

  • The crib is stunning and luckily for Mellisa she has lots of recommendations for making it safe now! I bet it’s easy go back and add a few more verticals to tighten up the wide spacing. Now, I’m more worried about reaching/bending over all the way to the floor to get the baby in and out every two hours for feedings! It’s still such a pretty crib and the baby is adorable:)

  • Please take crib photos off the website. I am a big fan of design sponge, but this crib is unsafe and it should not be celebrated. I’m sure most parents would agree.

  • Wow, Angie’s jewelery cabinet is awesome. I actually like it better than the George Nelson version!
    I assume/hope that when we get step by step how-to’s for these projects there will be links to the constituent parts for sale at Ikea?

  • I think the crib is lovely! my favorite so far. a great, personal interpretation of what works for you in your life. which is what DIY is all about… right? its about creating new interpretations of what is already out there. well done. i think your baby will love it!

  • Kristina

    These photos aren’t actively hurting anyone, child or adult.

    The safety comments are noted and available for anyone who would like to try this project and make changes based on the suggestions above.

    Please note: The details and instructions for this project have not been posted yet- when they are we’ll make sure they follow any standard safety practices and include the safety concerns noted above.


  • I don’t know, Grace, I think if people are looking at design sponge they may not read the comments. They might think “oh, I can make my own crib, too” and not even think about how risky that could be. I love your site but I think I agree with Kristina.

  • The crib is fantastic. As a new mom, seeing someone create a smaller crib that can fit in a tiny space is great.

    A collective deep breath is needed on the safety issues for the crib- It’s Beautiful. Besides, I didn’t see any complaints about putting a dog in a suitcase.

  • Who’s going to casually glance at a picture and build something without any instructions at all?

    I think someone doing that has larger safety concerns of their own.


  • oo, i’d like to know which ikea shelving unit was used for those bookshelves. I love the off the floor minimalist quality of them and especially the wood/metal combination!

  • I never read the comments posted here at d*s — (sorry, time is short) — but was immediately struck by the safety issues regarding that crib. Sure, it’s cute, but WOW. How irresponsible.

  • Maybe a simple note right on the photograph itself could read: “please research crib safety standards and regulations before replicating this crib.” I would surely hope that anyone taking on the responsibilty of parenthood and building this or any crib from scratch would research crib (and other) safety standards and implement them. That’s probably not the case though.

  • I agree that the crib is absolutely beautiful, and I’m really impressed with the craftsmanship. But like others my very first reaction was whoa, that can not meet safety guidelines, and for that reason alone it seems like a bad choice for the top 20. Regardless of how the directions might be altered to meet safety restrictions, the photo of the finished product clearly doesn’t meet them.

    That said, I’m pretty sure that a crib like that would be perfectly suitable with my daughter and in my small apartment. She’s not a climber or a squirmer and we’re so on top of each other that I wouldn’t be worried about it. I think you made a really beautiful piece of furniture, Melissa.

  • I added a note to the top post about NSC safety guidelines for anyone who decides to build this without following instructions first.

    That said, this is DIY contest. Projects can and will be altered to fit safety specifications and when we post the details to the project crib slat distances will be noted.

    Further commentary that takes a personal tone or seeks to make a judgement on either a commenter’s or entrant’s parenting skills will not be allowed. Your concerns are noted and have been addressed in the original post, comment section and will be addressed when we post the full project instructions.


  • Oh my goodness, you’d think the end of mankind would have occurred back in the 60’s before the crib safety regulations. This wonderful and beautiful blog isn’t responsible for your baby’s safety. YOU ARE. Egads. What’s the world come to? Life in a padded cell so we can’t hurt ourselves? I don’t think so.

  • The NSC page you linked to contains general guidelines intended for people looking at old used cribs at garage sales and the like. If you are actually building a crib, you need to get familiar with:

    1. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s safety standards for full size cribs, 16CFR1508 (available as a PDF, Google it). These are the standards that cribs sold in the US must meet to be legal. I would also point out that if you were to make a crib yourself and sell it on after your kid outgrows it, these standards (and consequent liability) potentially apply to you too.

    2. ASTM standard F1169-07, Standard Specification for Full-Size Baby Crib. This is the standards document used to grant JPMA certification for cribs; it has some additional requirements above and beyond the government standard. It’s not available free online, but a good city or university library will have a copy in the reference section.

    Not to be too graphic, but these standards are by and large not something dreamt up by a pencil pusher in Washington. In almost every case, they are a direct response to a previous design decision that has killed or seriously injured thousands of infants. It is information that should not be ignored or treated blithely.

    Also Grace, I would strongly recommend you consult a lawyer before you post any instructions for building a crib. There are potentially very real liability implications.

  • Oh my goodness, you’d think the end of mankind would have occurred back in the 60’s before the crib safety regulations. This wonderful and beautiful blog isn’t responsible for your baby’s safety, YOU ARE. Egads. What’s the world come to? Life in a padded cell? I don’t think so.

  • I think the George Nelson-Inspired Jewelry chest looks better than the original. Sweet DIY project!!

  • Gaile:
    The standards and brackets I used are from the “Broder” line of heavy-duty shelving. I think they’re designed for use in the garage/toolshed, so they’re really industrial-looking, but with a coat of white spray paint, they fade into the wall and you don’t notice them so much, which is what I wanted.

  • I agree with this last post. The crib is absolutely beautiful and I’m sure as a mother, Melissa has and will continue to take ample effort to ensure her child’s safety. Using cloth bumpers is a CHOICE every parent is allowed to make for themselves. Many parents still CHOOSE to use them as there are good reasons for using them as well as for not using them (i.e. for some babies hitting their head against the wood may be a bigger risk than a breathable bumper pad). Depending on the breathability of the internal material, the bumpers could still be used without a problem. Furthermore, this is a DIY contest folks! We should be celebrating, rather than micro-critizing these projects. This is an amazing project! I congratulate its maker for her creativity, talent, and thrift in preparing her home for a new infant! You will love having a baby girl…they are so precious!!

  • Love your comment Caroline :-) Cute dog bed… my mini dachs would love something like that. I think it’s time to find a vintage suitcase. Thanks for the idea!

  • First off, I have designed and built my own kid’s crib and toddler bed, and I regularly cover both DIY parenting projects and the impotence of the CPSC on my site.

    AND I’m a huge, longtime fan of D*S. And yet I am utterly baffled at people dismissing the glaring safety flaws in this crib design. Creativity and talent and workmanship are all well and good. But a design for infants that does not start and end with an awareness of the product’s safety requirements is a failure.

    For this specific crib, the gaps between the slats are only one issue. The crib rail looks too low, and the bumpers provide a horizontal step-up for climbing out of the crib. [Granted, the kid doesn’t have far to fall.] These things aren’t unfixable, even with this finished crib. But it is still an unequivocally unsafe design, and I don’t think it’s micro-criticism to say so.

  • I have wanted a George Nelson chest for my jewelry for SO LONG…now it looks like I will be able to make myself something JUST as cool…thanks, Angie (and Grace!)

  • This makes me never want to be a parent. Is this what happens when you have children- you lose all sense of perspective?

    Clearly the project is going to be amended for safety standards- Grace said that. And it seems that no one is brushing off the safety complaints of all the parents here. So maybe everyone could take a great big chill pill.

    I can see why people would be mad if D*S published a full list of instructions that built something unsafe, but it’s just a picture. A picture with a note that says it needs to be changed for safety standards.

    Good lord, what has happened to the comment section? “Death trap” comments and questioning someone’s parenting skills is pretty judgmental for people who don’t know anything about this woman and her project.

    How do you know she won’t fix this immediately- she probably already feels terrible enough with all you people leaving nasty comments and posts everywhere. .


  • for all who are curious…i added a snap-on strap to the top and bottom of the suitcase to keep the lid from closing. i will include instructions if they ask me to.

  • I agree with Greg. I think a crib that as designed and built ( with slats that are unsafe and otherwise does not protect a child) is a poor design. it’s a key element/requirement of designing a crib- It’s the same as if the bookshelves picked were too small or narrow to hold any books, or the jewelry cabinet was designed with giant holes in the bottom of each drawers so all the jewelry falls out. Safety is the key function of having cribs at all- if the design is not functional, it’s bad design- regardless of how pretty it is. I don’t think everyone should get chastised for pointing out what are essentially design flaws….

  • I LOVE THE CRIB! I came here looking for ideas not tear them apart. These ideas on this and anyone elses are take ’em or leave ’em ideas. They are do-it-yourself projects they did personally for themselves.

  • I never meant to be judgmental, just informative. People aren’t born with knowledge about the width of crib slats. Or how to dose Tylenol. Or when a baby can eat a strawberry. Lord knows, I couldn’t tell you all the things I didn’t know when I became a parent for the first time. You have to read them in a book, or someone tells you, or something. And sometimes you don’t know YOUR kid will roll over at 3.5 months until he does it off the bed, onto the bedframe, and you have to take him to the ER. Stuff happens.

    But the slat thing is a particularly dangerous thing only bcs it can — and has — resulted in real tragedy.

    And hey — I’m not a montessori parent, but they’d say skip the crib entirely. You can do that too.

  • Like Julia, I also wanted to be informative. The description says that Melissa is 7 and a half months pregnant with her first baby – there is still plenty of time for her to alter her crib, and I hope she will.

  • grace- I really hate to add further comment here about the crib safety, but I couldn’t agree more with those who are concerned. I am a new mom, I have a 15 week old, and I am super design-conscious. Prior to having a baby I thought I would be able to merge thoughtful, beautiful design with safe design. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. I have caved to horribly ugly bouncy chairs, swings, etc. Because my baby loves them. I have also followed ‘ugly’ safety guidelines for the baby, because ultimately, if I have an injured or dead baby at the end of the day– because I made a choice that was beautiful, rather than practical, then I really wouldn’t be able to live with myself. For those non-parents who are telling the parents of the group to ‘take a chill pill’, I think it is not possible to know what it’s like to be a parent until you are one! I know– because the ‘chill pill’ comment is something I would have said or at least thought, prior to my little one’s arrival. I also don’t think you want to open yourself to the legal responsibility of publishing an unsafe crib (I’m married to a lawyer, and I hear crap like that all the time!). I would urge you to take the crib off of the site, as beautiful as it is. Sorry to continue this line of commentary, but I still feel the best thing to do is to remove it. I promise, when you’re a parent, you will understand.

  • This is CRAZY. There is no legal ramification for publishing a picture of a crib, safe or unsafe.

    All of the parents here are jumping way ahead of the project and assuming that steps have already been published and recommended. Grace already said she wouldn’t publish steps that didn’t go along with safety standards.

    My sister has 3 healthy, happy children and then all sleep in cribs with thin, soft bumpers. Somehow they all survived and no one was suffocated.

    I find it incredibly offensive that people have children and start to jump on other parents like there’s no tomorrow.


    Aren’t we/you ultimately concerned about the baby’s well-being? Yet the amount of STRESS, GUILT and DISAPPOINTMENT these comments may put on Melissa’s body (which may delivered right to the fetus), don’t seem to be a concern??!!

    MELISSA, congrats on your future arrival. Be happy. The crib is precious and I’m sure by now you get the point(s). We all do. NOW LET’S ALL MOVE ON:)

  • Lastly, let me add this. I used to work for a Kids & Baby magazine as an art director. Anything that was photographed for the magazine had to be reviewed by the company’s lawyers. We had many, many restrictions on what we could show. We weren’t even allowed to show a blanket in a crib with a baby, for fear of giving someone the idea that they could put a blanket in a crib with a baby (suffocation/SIDS risk). Ridiculous, I know. But the legal team was adamant that we opened ourselves to getting sued if someone saw the ‘idea’ of having a blanket with a baby in a crib in our magazine, and their baby died or was injured in some way as a result of it. For self-preservation, if for no other reason, I would recommend to take it off the site. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear…sorry!

  • Caring that your fellow human beings are safe is not “mean,” “crazy,” or “judgmental.” No one is persecuting the mom-to-be at all, just pointing out that this crib needs to be retro-fitted.

    Bumpers are often the cause of SIDS. I’m not a parent but if I were I wouldn’t want to tempt fate.

  • Dorie – Good eye, that’s exactly what I used, you know your Ikea! Fira chests and the base of the Fornbro table

    Caroline – RE the curtains. Unfortunately they’re not readily available, I made them myself out of this amazing vintage mattress fabric I found (on the bolt of course, not from old mattresses…yuck).

    I believe Grace is getting us to post full instructions at a later point so the people who are interested can do their own DIYs.

  • What about the rest of the beautiful entries in this category? It’s a shame that the crib is overshadowing other great work.

    Also, comment sections like this are precisely the reason I don’t read children’s design blogs anymore. I’m a parent of two beautiful baby girls but I would never feel right attacking someone and their project the way people have done here.

    Obliviously the slats will need to be changed for safety purposes, but I think everyone could take a different tone with this and encourage the creator to correct the problems, rather than go on and on about “death traps”. I used to read Daddytypes and I was sad to see such extremist talk about a project that will clearly be changed. I don’t think anyone here really thinks Melissa will put her new baby in something unsafe.

    As for legal ramifications, could we be quicker to run to extremes? My husband is a lawyer as well and he started laughing when I asked him the site could be successfully sued for running a picture of this. Perhaps a larger corporation has different issues at hand but he assured me there are no legal ramifications for running a photo like this.

    I’d hope that we all, as parents could agree that yes, there are problems here, but no, we don’t need to bite anyone’s heads off- instead let’s work together to be constructive and inform people about the safety standards, rather than scare them to death with angry rants and extremist talk.


  • Obviously we are a caring nation here…we’ve all pointed out the risks for Grace for posting an UNSAFE CRIB and for Melissa who built it. They have a choice to fix it.

    ENOUGH NOW!!! There are 19 other final projects to study and vote on!!! Grace, how about semi-finalists, honorary mentions, other DIYs? Can we get a peak at some more?

  • CAL

    i mentioned the other entries in the first post today- i’ve asked over 40 of them to contribute their projects as regular DIY wed. posts so you’ll be seeing them all for weeks and weeks (and weeks) to come ;)


  • I love the jewelry cabinet. What a fantastic DIY.

    The crib is a beautiful idea. The edges look kinda sharp to me, though.

  • ENOUGH!!!!!!

    We get it. The crib doesn’t follow safety guidelines. There is no need to continue the group bashing of this couple’s poorly thought out design. No one is going to REBUILD it to these specs.

    No one questions whether Kate’s Leaning Wall Shelf is securely fastened to the wall or if Kate’s Framed Wall Sconces follow electrical code. It was placed on the site b/c of it’s unique (although flawed) execution of something we take for granted. The details are beautiful; it simply needs some minor tweeks in execution.

  • My vote is for the dreamy Nelson armoire ~ I, too, have been salivating over the original, but this version takes the cake!

  • I love the crib!! but i’m totally torn between DIY’s, I LOVE so many of them!! Also the trivets are great… can I vote twice?!

  • I’m so impressed by people’s ingenuity – all these projects are fabulous and definitely overshadow the drama that some people bring to the comments section.

    Grace – enjoying the DIY contest and had a hard time choosing.

    Contestants – congrats on your great ideas!

  • so i guess my suggestion of letting the newborn sleep in the bed it was conceived in isn’t going to fly with anyone else.

  • Love the crib. It’s truly, truly beautiful, and easily modified, i imagine, to be safer with appropriate instructions. The jewelry cabinet is a great idea, too–kudos to both.

  • I vote for the dog bed! Mostly because I think the dog is cute. :)

    On the crib – it’s something I would have done as a first time parent. I would never have known there were regulations on such things. But having since found out … I would remove the picture from my site.

    Also – my dad built my first cradle. A little bassonet. I’m now going to have to investigate whether or not it will be safe for my future child. So if for nothing else … thanks for the education!

  • I love the Crib, it is creative and you can see there was a lot of time and effort put into the project, Melissa has a real talent in creating things and using her hands, this project shows her talent in design, woodwork, sewing, and painting, it also goes to show the love she has for her child, the fact that she at 7 months pregnant will go out use a slidermyter saw and make this creation is amazing. Melissa is a true artist and you can see her passion in being creative. I think she did a wonderful job on it, the safety aspect of the crib may be considered, but as a mom she will want what is best for her daughter and will provide that safety no matter what anyone can judge from a crib.

  • I vote for the crib. It’s lovely even if it’s future involves less space between the slats.

  • Angie Montreal. Thanks for the info on the very pretty curtains. What a great vintage find for you! Your jewelery chest is really cool too. You’ve got a great eye to put all that together.

  • I hate to add to the crib discussion, as some people are clearly “over” it, but I wonder if everyone here who thinks it’s OK would think the same of a crib mass-produced and sold at Wal-Mart?

    When my little sister was in 3rd grade, one of her classmates tried to climb into the stuffed animal hammock hanging over her bed and accidentally hung herself. All because of a design flaw in a toy made for children. There’s a reason for the CPSC guidelines, folks, and it’s not because babies have bumped their heads. It’s because crib slats that are too far apart have lead to deaths, something I think any parent would want to avoid, no matter how pretty the crib.

  • love the crib! flaws and all. It definitely gets my vote for providing me with a DIY idea that will add beauty to my baby’s room. Of course, all safety precautions are noted, but in the true spirit of this competition this entry has probably inspired the most people.

  • i vote for the crib – so cute, lovingly made and great for small spaces. add a couple more pieces and it’s baby ready!
    hang in there melissa, parenting these days can be overwhelming.

  • I think the design for functionality and form is great. How many of you clowns who are criticizing this bed have ever been involved in creating and manufacturing? How many prototypes have you seen? How many prototypes do you think a manufacturer creates before something is built and promoted and ready for sale? THIS IS A PROTOTYPE OF AN IDEA! Think about the objective and who created it and the purpose. There are some very positive aspects about this bed as well as some things that need to be fixed and can be EASILY. Bumper pads? If they are so bad why are they freely sold everywhere and not on dark street corners by criminals? Come on this is an amateur site, not the Yankee Workshop. Creativity = A, Functionality = A, Design = B- (once slats are fixed, Design = A)

  • sorry, grace. i am a long time fan of d*s but i really cannot bear that this crib is still on the site and part of the contest. even if i do think it is a beautiful crib.

    for me good design is when someone manages to work within serious constraints — money, materials, space, construction methods, technology, safety standards, etc — and can nonetheless produce something beautiful. this crib avoids those very serious constraints of safety for the sake of beauty. to have it on the site is, in my opinion, an endorsement of poor design decisions.

  • I can’t let the issue with the crib go either. . . I have to echo what others have said already. Please remove the photo of the crib. . . it is negligent and disturbing.

    I’ve witnessed too many accidents with cribs and bumpers. This crib is has struck a nerve with this mama of three.

  • I LOVE THE CRIB! I have seen other pieces that Melissa has done~ She is a very talented woman full of creativity and spunk! I LOVE IT! I’m voting for her! As someone who has studied Interior Design and worked with the Fine Arts I think that it is the most creative and sentimental piece there. Picasso wasn’t accepted at first or considered “Fine Art” for years but it’s something he enjoyed creating. He was a Master Painter at a young age and had to teach himself to paint like a child, which is when his Crayon drawings were created. This is Melissa’s first crib and it will be a talent that she will be able to refine and perfect! It’s something that will have great memories for mom, dad and baby for years to come! KUDOS TO HER!! I look forward to seeing what else she can create!

  • The fabric is Calico brand quilting fabric I found at JoAnn’s. I was looking at their online store, and they don’t have it listed.

  • Absolutely love those shelves. They provide the perfect solution for apartment dwellers who are afraid to make holes in the walls, AND they have a wonderful, gravity-defying floating beauty that inspires tranquility. Well done, Susannah!

  • There is absolutely no doubt that the crib is beautiful or that it was artfully and skillfully made and done so with care and a good deal of love. Good design is more than those things, however. The functionality of this design is flawed because it is simply unsafe. No one here who has expressed concern is being alarmist or belittling Melissa’s efforts. She is obviously very talented and I would love to see her child’s crib in a form altered to address these very valid safety concerns (not simply to read instructions on how to build it this way). I would also like to see the original post edited [again] to include the information that Scott included in his comment earlier today.

    As for the other 19 finalists, you’re designs have not been overlooked. Kudo’s to all those who entered. I voted for the mural.

  • I agree that Melissa is a very talented designer and has created a beautiful piece of art. As I said earlier I’m fairly sure this crib would be fine for a family in small quarters and for less adventurous babies. But considering the glaring safety aspects, I really agree with Lisa that the photo should be taken down. I hate to say this but I feel it is irresponsible of D*S to have this as a finalist. Sorry.

  • Wow, just popped back to see what everyone had to say and am shocked by the number of comments on the crib! It seems everyone who had a comment on the crib wants to help in some way – either by alerting Melissa and others to the potential dangers of not following safety regulations when it comes to childrens products or by defending Melissa’s right to choose what she thinks will work for her child. Melissa (and Grace), I hope you can take it all in with the spirit of good intentions that started all of these comments (even if some of them came disguised in a snarly tone!). Congrats to all the finalists, you’ve all done a great job!

  • Steven, this is the proto-type of an idea with a real-live baby living in it. Think again.

  • Grace, by including this crib on your website you are opening yourself up to potential law-suits.

    to everyone else who doesn’t understand, this is a real baby, not an accessory and yes, she can get her head stuck between the railings.

  • This sounds like an Apartment Therapy conversation. I stopped commenting over there because of the legal crap and now I’m tempted to leave this site for the same reason.

    Everyone’s got some story about their husband or father or brother being a lawyer. Good lord- give it up!

    Anyone can sue Grace for anything at any time. That’s the way our country works. However, if someone builds a crib that already has a safety warning next to the picture WITHOUT FOLLOWING ANY INSTRUCTIONS I doubt it will hold up in a court of law.


  • Unless you are a U.S. lawyer and understand the state and federal laws regarding the publication of photos of babies in cribs, you have no business commenting on whether or not Grace is at risk.

    It is one thing to share your opinion, but it’s entirely un-cool to try to intimidate Grace with the scaremongering tactics.

  • The majority of those who have commented regarding their concern about the crib have not raised the spector of lawsuits. I personally know little of the law and claim no knowledge of what legal ramifications may or may not exist in the matter. For me [and others] to question whether it is responsible or wise to display a picture of something that though beautiful is inherently unsafe is as legitimate as those who express their exasperation and disdain for me doing so.

    This is your blog, Grace. I will continue to read and comment (if infrequently). I appreciate and admire your work. In this instance, however, I disagree with the way you’ve chosen to proceed.


  • This post should be removed immediately. A baby crib is the one DIY project people SHOULD NOT be encouraged to undertake.

  • Oh man, I go away for a few days and I miss all this!

    I guess I’d like to add my vote to the people who think everyone seems to have jumped to conclusions and looked way past what is actually posted here: a picture with a warning and no instructions.

    Seriously, aren’t you being a dangerous parent if you decide to build something after ignoring a safety warning and building something WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS? I’m more concerns about parents who decide to build something for their precious child without instructions.

    But really, what concerns me more are the lawsuit threats and stories of dead children. Is this a Right-Wing convention or something?

    And no DIY crib projects ever? I guess we’re all supposed to shell out hundreds of dollars we don’t have to buy cribs at Wal-Mart. What’s wrong with making your own crib from scratch if you follow safety instructions (which are listed a million times above)? And what’s with inferring that parents here who aren’t offended by this project are somehow reckless and responsible for the death of children. That’s irresponsible. We should be supporting and educating parents, not attacking them.

    I built my first baby’s crib from scratch and although I would definitely suggest fixing the slats here and adding a solid back to either end, I think it’s incredibly alarmist to jump 15 steps ahead to assume that someone is going to go build this without instructions and after ignoring the safety warning above. And I’m shocked to see people telling this woman that her baby is going to suffocate with thin padded bumpers.

    It seems like another case of upper middle class parents frowning on those who may not know everything they do yet. If I didn’t know what a crib needed to be safe, I certainly do now. So let’s move on. It’s DIY project for Pete’s sake, not a manual on how to raise your child.


  • What a diatribe! This has got nothing to do with left vs right, upper vs lower, rich vs poor. These rules are there for a reason.

    I’ve written to Grace about this. I’m not trying to scare her. Americans love to sue. It’s a fact that Americans are the most litigious people on the planet.

    In the insurance industry I’ve seen people sue over crazier things than this. Why do you think those sleeves are on all the Starbucks cups?

    I can’t fathom how shallow and stupid some commenters are being on behalf of something just because it’s pretty!

  • I love the crib. but since seeing it the slats are too far apart. I vote for this but maybe put some smaller slats inbetween:)
    I love the fabric and the designs on the wood. good going girl:)

  • I was keeping quiet on this, but I can’t hold it in any longer.

    You’d like to hear from Melissa? Why? What good would that do? She’s already been tried and found guilty right here in the D*S court! Why in the world would she now want to subject herself to more scrutiny!!???

    My goodness, this has gotten ridiculous. There’s a safety note right there under the photo. I seldom read the comments, but I saw the safety note clearly and plainly. I think people got the message!

    I agree with Amanda (or at least until she made this a political thing. What’s with the “right-wing convention” statement? Is this really the place for that?)

    Note to Melissa: I think you did a lovely job on your crib. I think that the time and effort you put into this beautiful project shows the love and commitment you already have for your sweet child. I have no doubt that you will be a great, loving, kind mother, and that you will do everything in your power to ensure the safety of your child. Blessings to you, and congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first child.

    And I feel badly for the rest of the people whose projects were featured on this post, as their great ideas have been overshadowed by this ridiculous debate.


    Angie, I absolutely love that jewelry cabinet. It has such a fresh and unique look to it. Very clever, and it adds great height to the corner of the room.

    Kirsten, that is truly the most creative dog bed I’ve ever seen. I never would have even thought to do such a thing. The fabric you used is gorgeous. And the best test of all…your sweet puppy seems to enjoy it immensely! Great job.

    Susannah, what an ingenious idea with the U-shaped shelves! I’ve never seen shelves like that, but truly…what a great solution to the age-old problem of finding bookends and other things to prop those books up. You’ve killed two birds with one stone with this brilliant project.

  • I just think that if Melissa said she would be modifying her crib to make it safer, it would put a lot of people at ease. I would love to see a new photo post-modifcation! I think the crib is lovely, but the safety factor makes me anxious.

    I don’t think anyone is accusing Melissa of being a bad mother, or criticizing the handiwork that has gone into the crib. It is clearly a work of love.

    Personally, I just want to be assured of her baby’s safety.

  • Amanda, just to respond to your comment from the point of view of someone who thinks the crib should be removed from the contest:

    I don’t feel that there is ANY risk of someone seeing this photo on the D*S site and replicating the crib without instructions. I mean, c’mon, who does that? My problem is that the crib, as it appears in the photo, is very clearly unsafe and probably not suitable for most babies. I think it’s irresponsible for this site to showcase it, especially as a finalist, give that reason alone.

    We would all probably gasp at a carseat on here with beautiful grosgrain ribbons in place of a seatbelt harness, right? It’s the same principle. Like someone upthread said, beautiful design should also incorporate functionality.

  • Amber

    If the picture isn’t going to cause anyone to create this, then what is the big deal?

    Grace has said that she’ll post the project with the safety modifications so why the outrage- I just don’t get it. It’s not like anyone here is refusing to recognize that changes should be made to this project before using it.

    And why does anyone demand a response from Melissa? You all just gutted her in here and you want her to come on and talk? I wouldn’t jump into this discussion and get attacked either.

    And do you REALLY think she’ll put her baby in this if it’s unsafe? You’ve all made it ABUNDANTLY clear what needs to be changed, do you want her to sign a form saying she’ll change them? Geesh. The mob needs to put down their torches.


  • What I’ve only seen mentioned a handful of times in this whole firestorm, is the simple fact that if the crib in question, as pictured, is unsuitable for use, then the design is flawed. It’s gorgeous, but can’t be used without alteration. All emotion aside, the functionality of any item should play a major roll in whether it’s singled-out for award. A piece of furniture (any piece of furniture) needs to be useful as well as pretty. A big part of a crib’s job is to keep a baby safe. This one will do that very well, I’m certain, with some minor alternation. But not as it appears in this photo, and the photo is what this contest is based on, from what I gather.

  • I agree with Catherine. It’s a good “idea” for a crib, but a badly executed design, and therefore should not be a finalist. I like the mural a lot better, anyway.

  • LOVE the shelves. The jewelry case looks a little too top heavy for me. How sturdy is it? I do love it though. I agree that the crib is a poor design and should be removed. The dog bed, love it for the little doggies and the I love the mural and the spring/fall coverlet.

  • I wouldn’t want to bend all the way down to the floor to put my baby in and out of the crib. What a back killer!

  • All I could think when I saw the crib was “too cute, too bad that’s not safe.” I agree design ought to take parameters like safety into account.

    ung, I don’t know if you were joking, but if not, I’m with you! Forget the crib and put the baby in bed with Mom. But first, read up on how to co-sleep safely, because there are some no-nos there too. :)

  • i voted for the crib, but had a tough time choosing due to all the beautiful ideas.

    you are all so very talented and creative.

  • I think the projects are very inspiring, thanks for the contest, Grace. I love the jewelry cabinet the best.

    I do have to agree with the others who are concerned about the crib. This was a real person creating a real crib for a real baby. I think everyone who said that “obviously no one will recreate this without following instructions and safety guidelines” overestimates the intelligence of the general public. I have embarked on many a diy project with just an image I saw online, and I wouldn’t put it past some eager new-parent-to-be to maybe try this without researching it first. The people who invoke the “good old days” when less neurotic (or informed) parents put their kids in any old crib or drove without carseats drive me nuts. They obviously lived to tell about it, but what about all the kids who didn’t? No one is saying that wide slats on a crib will cause death, but the risk of danger is so high and therefore the safety guidelines were created. I’m sure Melissa can alter her design to be both safe and beautiful.

  • all of these submissions are really amazing (even the crib, despite all the drama), but my vote has to go to the doggy bed. it’s so creative, practical and beautiful, and it doesn’t look impossible to make! i wish i had a dog now!

  • I’d be willing to be a lot of the people who are freaked out over the crib have cared for a baby and the people who are a bit more dismissive have not. This is not intended as criticism, nor fuel for the fire, but I do think once you’ve had that responsibility you are more acutely aware of the risks and you feel them more intensely. I know it’s been true for me.

    Interesting too that the commenters who DO have specific legal knowledge of the issue, rather than those simply conjecturing, have objected strongly.

  • I love the crib. So cute. But I do have to add that a lot of these things are not child safe sooooo… such as how a newly crawling/walking child could pull down the cabinets, shelves… just a thought. Well done to all those that submitted their projects.

  • Do you realize how dangerous it is to put your children in the car with you? I think the odds of your baby dying in a fatal car accident are much much higher than he or she getting his or her head stuck between non-regulation crib slats.

    Also… that dog bed is ridiculously cute!

  • Xueling has made the argument better than anyone else who has commented. Thank you.

    And Terri, I am well aware of how dangerous it to get into a car. That’s why when I do I wear a seat belt and place my children in carseats which I have taken the time to learn to install correctly and have had inspected to make sure that I’m doing so. It is not our job as parents to live in fear. But it is our responsibility to do our best to mitigate the very real dangers that exist for ourselves and our children and, hopefully, to teach them to do the same.

  • Another safety concern… In canada it’s strongly advised that bumper pads are not used as they play a leading role in SIDS. Just read that in the newspaper a couple of days ago.

    it’s very beautiful – but for the sake of the baby style shouldn’t come first.

  • What bothers (and concerns) me about this crib, and is probably at the root of other people’s comments, is that the crib has obviously been painstakingly and lovingly executed, and yet is so shockingly and flagrantly unsafe that it seems more than a mere oversight — how could someone go to that much time and trouble without first checking the fundamentals? That is not only bad design, it makes experienced parents uncomfortable, which is why we speak out — if this mother-to-be didn’t immediately realize that this crib is extremely dangerous (the child in this crib would be risking strangulation and getting his or her head caught in the slats from the time they could first roll over — and there is a much greater risk of that than of being in a car accident), then I as a parent am left wondering about other obvious dangers she might miss…

    As for the crib bumpers, apparently all the warnings about them are not reaching the public. On Feb. 28th, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about crib bedding (including bumpers and quilts), which resulted in 97 crib-related deaths between 2002 and 2004.

    The American Pediatric Association, as well as the Canadian equivalent, and every other health and safety organization in North America, state clearly and unequivocally that bumpers should never be used.

    Research on cause-of-death data has shown that bumpers are directly responsible for the death of 27 infants between 1987 and 2005, as a result of strangulation or entrapment. And then there their role in SIDS…

    In answer to the question ‘why aren’t they banned?’, it would be impossible to ban them. There is not a single manufacturer, but thousands upon thousands… they are often sewn at home — it would be like banning people from hemming their pants! A government could never enforce such a ban, so they are impossible to ban.

    However, when every safety agency says they should not be used, people should take heed. When these authorities say that they serve no useful purpose, that they are only decorative, there seems to be little justification in their continued use.

  • If it’s UNSAFE, it’s clearly BAD DESIGN. I agree with so many other posters… the picture should be removed. (AND, this annoying “conversation” could have been over long ago!)

  • The difference in the opinions above are undoubtedly a result of whether or not they have a child.

    Once you have one, you’ll understand, PERIOD.

  • The crib is poorly designed from a safety issue, certainly, and it’s really not that impressive as a piece of furniture. I’m all for simple spare design, but this crib doesn’t seem inspired or inspiring enough to be in this contest.

  • Carrie

    Please don’t lump all of the pro-crib or at least not angrily anti-crib comments into a parent/non-parent situation.

    I’m a parent of two 4 year old twins and nothing irks me more than other parents getting on their high horse about someone else’s parenting or parenting choices.

    I think we can all safely (no pun intended) recognize that their are major safety issues here- all of which have been explained (ad nauseum) in detail.

    But to act like those of us with children are unified in thinking this woman should be chastised and a potentially beautiful project ignored is wrong.

    I agree that if this wins or if the directions are posted they need to be abundantly clear and safe, but I think to continue to harp on and on about safety when it’s clearly been addressed is a little much. It makes it seem like all parents are highly neurotic and judgmental people.

    My child’s safety is my first priority but when I think a safety point has been made I can still recognize when it’s time to move on. And no one is forcing you to vote for this project- I’m sure you can find something less “dangerous” in the other 19 entries.


  • Susannah’s shelves get my vote with the u-shaped shelves. I’d do the color-cordinated books for added flair!

  • STOP THE DRAMA WITH THE CRIB ALREADY!! Lets focus on the other proyects too they are really good.!!

  • I love the crib! I wonder if Melissa is going to use it only for the first couple of months (ususally babies are not into rolling until 3 months or so). After that she can make it more ‘safe’. Is people like me, who were babies in the 60’s before all the safety rules and regulations, miracle survivors? Most of our parents, put us on cribs, with bumpers, pillows and blankets to the top of our necks, and we’re still here. Safety is important, but let’s stop being so dramatic about it! I have 4 kids who have survived a crib with bumpers. I look at the safety issues, but mostly I followed my common sense. When my babies were ‘ready’ to stand up, I just removed the bumpers, and soon after changed them to a twin bed.

  • did anyone else notice the other designs?? there is more in this post than just an ill conceived crib.
    it’s a shame that the crib seems to be getting all the attention. i personally think it’s lovely, but it obviously has design flaws (of which have been discussed in excruciating detail in the comments).
    even if it is going to be changed, due to the design flaw i personally would not choose it, but to call it uninspired is a bit unfair. i think it’s a wonderful idea and the detail is beautiful.

    i however love love love the u shaped shelving. it’s hard for me to continuously find matching shelving to hold out 800+ growing movie collection, not to mention all of our books. This is definitely my favorite on this page.

    i also love the George Nelson inspired chest. it’s fantastic.

  • I had a hard time deciding between Angie’s fantastic jewelry case and Susannah’s gorgeous and utilitarian shelving. Ultimately, the jewelry case gets my vote since I daily wonder how I am going to organize and care for all my jewelry in a smart way. I seem to have the books down already!

  • All of the ideas are so wonderful!
    My two personal favourites are the two beds. These DIY projects inspire me in my own ideas.
    It is scary that there is so much argument about what someone else has chosen to do. Who copies someone elses ideas exactly anyway? When i find inspiration in someone elses idea i tweak it to suit my needs, so if i wanted it to be to ‘safety regulations’ then that is what i would do.
    It is not up to these talented individuals to make their DIY projects suited to someone elses standards, if you want it a differant way then design it yourself the way you think it should be.
    It is not hurting anyone for the lovely picture of the crib to be on this website.
    I was inspired by the beautiful delicate paintwork on the wood surface of the crib. I think it would look beautiful on any piece of wooden furniture, perhaps a child’s drawing table? I also love the new use for an old suitcase! Just delightful!
    It is ok to be concerned for others, but enough now. All that people have wanted to say about ‘standards’ and ‘regulations’ and ‘the law’ has been said, several times. Warnings are up. Let the picture stay.
    Every new design needs to be tweaked to perfection and we learn this from using it and from what people tell us. If it has already been said why say it again? All of these designs have the right to be in this competition. The criteria is ‘Do It Yourself’, NOT ‘Design something to every standard imaginable, something that is perfect in every way to everyone.’
    Let’s all get back to being inspired by what others have lovingly made! They are all great ideas! I’m so impressed with you all! Thank you for inspiring me!!!
    (I apolagise about the rant.)

  • The crib is beautiful! I’m impressed by the design and the detailing! Great job, Melissa!

  • Well said, Tallulah!

    I do think that the “crib” is aesthetically pleasing, but it’s failure in design is too ridiculous to ignore (or amend with a small safety warning).

  • The crib took my breath away! SO beautiful, and so perfect for the intention for which it was designed…small space, big need. I love it!

  • the comments here about safety of the crib are completely valid. and yes, i’m a parent.

    – another comment about the crib – i can’t imagine a baby being too happy about spending time in what must feel like the insides of a packing crate.

    the wide planks (as well as the guards) eliminate an infant from taking in their surroundings as they fall asleep or wake up.

    the idea of a small crib – ok. but if it’s not meeting safety standards, forget it.

  • It’s funny to see people telling others to take a chill pill, but if you are a parent and/or have COMMON SENSE your perspective would be whole lot different and would agree with those who are concerned. Those who are childless and are not understanding the concern for the child’s safety need to take a step back and take the chill pill since they do not know what it is like to be a parent firsthand. YES, there are safety regulations that have to be met and that should be DISCUSSED, it is a matter that is not supposed to be glazed over. Also, YES, there are people who have no kind of common sense and will look at that crib and say, “Oh I can build that” and go ahead and put something together without reviewing the instructions (there are plenty of simpletons out here, whether you want to believe it or not). That said, the end of the crib is low and and the edge looks a bit sharp where if the baby were to bang it’s head the outcome wouldn’t be pretty !

  • I didn’t read all of the comments, but all they have to do is add a few slats of wood to the crib and it’ll be fine. My son had a bumper in his crib and he survived. Nice crib.

  • this has been a big success, no?!i´ve just tuned back in to find the comments area turned into marketplace turned bazaar! the great thing about design is that people are so passionate about it. i think this is a wonderful discussion going on about all the different topics that are important. safety versus aesthetics, which rules make sense and what does the culture of lawsuits in america do to design, original ideas or copy, cheap or smart… all these are the things that fulltime designers think about every day. so i think this discussion round has created a lot of new awareness for the work of designers, – and maybe poeple will be less inclinde to knock of designs for cheap, and also it has touched a few topics about design in america that could be discussed further.

  • Wonderful crib idea! I love the small size. I never used a crib for 3 of my kids because they were all so large and my room so small.

  • I love the George Nelson inspired jewelry chest! I’m going to make one asap. I wanted to add that I used a smaller IKEA mini drawer chest w/6 drawers for keeping small items on my kitchen counter and I turned the drawers around so the finger pull slot was in the back of the box and I put knobs on the front of the box. It worked great and I get one could do that with this set of drawers as well. That way you could put knobs on it similar to G. Nelson’s! Very cool! Thanks for the creativity!

  • The crib is amazing! If your sooo concerned about the baby’s safty, fix it up yourself when YOU make it! By the way, this projects is ment for you to Do It YOURSELF!!! Now start having a cow about your own kids safety! It’s not like your being forced into putting your baby into it just by looking at the picture. Come ON! Give me a break! No one is trying to get you to do anything! Besides, the directions are going to be up to code!

    Now there, it’s been said! Deal with it!!!

  • wow. if you are going to gang up on a woman for making a beautiful and I am sure safe crib, then buy her one if you are so inclined and if it will shut you up. I think it is great and if you think it is so irresponsible, then do not use the design.
    kudos on the creativity.

  • All of the readers who have kids must have lots of money or dont care for the people who dont have much and as new parents sometimes you do something that just doesint seem to come out right. Im sure all of you have made big mistakes with ur lil ones that were your first babies. The crib is addorable and none of you should critizie, just dont make the crib, easy huh, dont make it!! and for the ones who thinks its a cute idea, well ajust it to make it safer. And please all the oh so no it all parents, ther are lots of parents that have to put there babies in a drawer or some type of made up bed. I do belive many of these children did survive. No matter careful you are, something is going to happen that you should have seen, watched or been there. remember that.