The biggest way my husband Wil show his love for others, is by doing things for them, specifically designing and making furniture.
There’s an “I love you” in the bookcases he built for our home. There’s an “I love you” in the nightstands he made for us after I saw an idea on Pinterest. There’s an “I love you” in our outdoor lounge seating set, which we’ve enjoyed for about 5 summers now, under our outdoor roofed patio. But the most love, he has put towards making our children their bespoke bedroom furniture.
This started in 2016, when I was pregnant with our daughter Rosalie. At the time, we didn’t know we were having a girl, so it was a challenge to decorate her nursery in a gender-neutral style while still keeping it sweet and colorful (I’m not big on black and white for nurseries). So we landed on pastel colors and a “Dream theme”, with handmade furniture to match. I’ll take better photos of that one day, but we made a changing table with mint green star knobs on its drawers, and an oak crib, its panels filled with cut-out (sawed out) stars, clouds and moons which I all handpainted on the layer below in pastel colors, mint green and gold.
In this theme, I decided to handpaint a mural on a mint green wall: a huge, scaled golden constellation. Although slightly off now because she was born earlier, I had even looked up the stars’ positioning for the week she was originally due. I was 36 weeks pregnant and tried to paint little bits every day. I understood then how Wil feels when he puts his love into Creating. I did it, too.
Rosalie slept in the crib, comfortably, until she was a month shy of 2,5 years old. With a second child on the way who’d be born March 2019, we had to transfer Rosalie to a toddler bed. And Wil really, really wanted to make this bed himself, as well. Lucas upon his birth would be using the Dream crib instead.
Rosalie is our Rainbow Baby, a successful pregnancy after 2 miscarriages, and the rainbow was an important symbol to us. We wanted to make a rainbow-inspired bed for her to honor our love for her as well as give her something we knew she’d absolutely adore (she loves rainbows).
One of a kind Rainbow Bed design © 2019 Kaat & Wil Zoetekouw, Wijchen, The Netherlands
Wil and I designed it together, picked the colors together, and went to work on the bed mostly in January 2019. Putting it together wasn’t as much work as painting it would turn out to be. I struggled physically this time, as I had sciatica during that pregnancy, but I wanted to do this for Rosalie so badly. So again, I tried to do little bits every day, and we finally finished it about 6 weeks after we started, mid-February 2019, and we transferred her in as soon as the paint was dry!
And she has slept in it very well ever since. Rosalie immediately understood what was expected of her (in bed = stay put and sleep). She loves her pillows, blankets and all the stuffed animals she was allowed to sleep with (Monkey, Moppie, Beeboog, Puffy, Elgar, Pip and her favorite, Sharknado). She experiences it like a big, soft, warm hug and is often delighted to be in, snuggling underneath a blanket while having a story read to her.
We are still overjoyed that our design and our handwork has resulted in a bright, dreamy, happy spot for her to return to every night, and wake up in every morning. The way she reacts to it a year and a half later still is so rewarding, and we feel she deep down understands that we built this for her out of love.
Our son is 17 months now, not yet ready for a big boy bed. But we’re already thinking about what we’ll do for him when it’s his turn. Our babies both slept in the Dream crib, and I’m so glad they got to share that start together. But he deserves something for himself too, when the time comes. I will share whatever we come up with, then.