Elisio Tiúba is a Brazil-born surfer, artist, and furniture maker. He designed and hand-painted surfing boards for years. On top of it all, he’s a proud dad of 3 boys. He lives with the dynamic trio and their lovely mom in Paris.
When they moved into the new apartment, modestly sized for a family of 5, for Elisio, it was like somebody gave him a blank canvas. Except for this time, he was not going to paint – but to build.
He created a workshop in the apartment’s basement, with the ambition of customizing the entire place to perfectly fit the needs of the family and boost the active and adventurous spirit of his kids.
That is why he has built a fantastic children’s room – a skate park, a jungle gym, and a cozy nest, all in one.
The film by the renowned maker community documentarist Kirsten Dirksen was seen over 600k times and captured the minds and the hearts of at least 10k people who clicked Like – though there are undoubtedly many more. One of the commentators jokingly asked, “Anyone happen to know if this guy adopts 28-year-old children?” – and I have to say that I completely sympathize!
The film also earned Elisio a nickname – The Skate Flat Dad.
Anyone with a knack for DIY ingenuity will love this video – I think I could watch it weekly and never stop being fascinated. And it is not only for watching – it is a highly inspirational documentary piece that can give you a ton of ideas on how to increase the fun factor and cool-ness of your kid’s room.
Elisio hasn’t provided plans or tutorials for his awesome projects other than this little movie. However, thanks to the hard-working and kind makers, there are plenty of tutorials for elements similar to those that Elisio created.
In this article, I will find and review some of these DIY kids’ room tutorials that can help you build your own “skate-and-climb” haven for your kids.
Before we start, I have to point out that all of the listed projects are for makers with intermediate to advanced skill sets. Storage and shelves are projects of medium difficulty, while beds are definitely for the advanced makers.
1. Mini Half-pipe Indoor Skateboarding Ramp
Let’s start with the centerpiece of the children’s room – the skateboard mini-ramp. Although this is not the most practical thing to have in a room due to its large size, if your kids love skateboarding, it will entertain them for hours, all while making them exercise. The constant access to a ramp will give them a chance to get very skilled at skateboarding, which is not necessarily just for fun anymore – skateboarding is now an official Olympic sport!
When not skateboarding, the surface of the ramp can serve as a playground.
This tutorial by WickedMakers (available as a classic tutorial and as a video) is not an indoor ramp, but it is very detailed and neatly done – and the basic design is the same. You can change the measurements according to your needs, but as long as everything is in the same proportions, the principle is the same.
The Xtremeskater website also offers plans for mini-ramps and other skateboarding props. The plans are not of a tutorial quality but still are very usable:
Note #1: Besides being kid-sized, Elisio Tiúba’s ramp design also includes additional storage space underneath the ramp’s standing platforms – it should be easy to incorporate into any of the ramp designs above.
Note #2: the biggest flaw of having a mini-ramp in an apartment is the noise, so it’s something worth considering before building. It may bother you, but even worse – it may disturb the neighbors, especially if you have strict regulations on noise. Solutions could be adding some sound isolation – Elisio added some natural fiber cushions on the bottom side of the loft bed for this purpose (go to the 17th minute of the video to hear about it). Also, talk to your neighbors and set the time when your kids can ride without bothering them.
Alternatively, building this type of ramp in the basement, the garage, or outdoors is also an option.
2. The Loft Bed
The exquisite platform bed that Elisio made for his kids is an elaborate L-shaped Loft Bed – with additional features such as an artificial climbing rock, horizontal climbing ladders, a climbing rope, and a moveable, rotating bed rail. Although there is no plan for a loft bed with all the custom details, you can work these or other features into another loft bed project if you are experienced enough.
2.1. Single Classic Wooden Loft Bed With Stairs
This elegant classic loft bed with stairs from Ana White is a great fundamental plan for a nice wooden loft bed.
Another awesome thing about this particular bed is that it can be made with only $50-$100 worth of material!
If you are looking to add a bit more adventure into this project, the stairs can easily be swapped for a little climbing rock surface – but do remember that kids sometimes get up to pee at night, and it is usually a rush.
Tip: In the film, Elisio points out the significance of hammocks in his life. The space beneath the loft bed – the single or the L-Shaped double one – can be perfectly suitable for installing one. The hammock can be removed from the hooks and put away when not in use, so you can also utilize the hammock space for other purposes hammock space
2.2. L-Shaped Wooden Loft Bed
If you have two or more kids, here is the L-Shaped Loft bed – like Elisio’s. It is made from the classic cheap bunk beds by Tim and Meg of timandmeg.net, by following Ana White’s loft bed project above. The fact that they used an old bed makes it an upcycling project, but the instructions are detailed enough so you can start from scratch as well.
I have to say that their bed makeover is much, much better and more beautiful than the original bed.
Climbing Rock Loft Bed
Lastly, this Climbing Rock Loft Bed is not similar in terms of look with the one from the Tiúba family, but it shares the spirit. It features a large free surface for climbing, a storage area on the opposite side, and the loft bed on the top.
3. Wardrobe With a Bench
One nice element of the mini-Tiúbas’ awesome room is a sleek, minimalistic, locker-shaped wardrobe, with an extra feature. It has a bench incorporated into it, which the boys use when dressing up or waiting their turn for the mini-ramp.
In a similar project (and out of a desperate need for kid-friendly organized clothing space), Instructables user Patrick1425 created this awesome Mud Room Coat Rack and Bench. The title doesn’t say it all because the design also includes shoe shelves, so it has a triple function – a coat hanger, shoe storage, and a bench – which is especially useful for kids who have to sit down to put their shoes on. It is so neatly built and painted that it looks like a bought piece of furniture. If you aim for a more skateboarding and street culture-inspired look, you can go wild with the painting instead of doing it in one solid color.
4. Shelves and Storage Areas
When you have three kids, having a lot of kids’ stuff as well is inevitable. That is why smart storage areas are a focus of many children’s room designs – and it is no different in the case of Tiúba kids’ room. Elisio has utilized all unused areas of the room to create storage in shelves and cabinets.
4.1. Stair Step Bookshelf by Ana White
The staircase-shaped shelves support the left side of Elisio’s sons’ loft bed. The younger son can efficiently use the shelf as a staircase leading to one of the beds because of its shape.
Similar to that, this fairytale-like bunk bed plan from the amazing Ana White also features the bed-staircase-bookshelf combo. The “storage staircase” was built as an add-on to the already existing Pea Garden Bunk Bed. With a bit of skill, you can adapt it for your own loft bed project.
4.2. Adjustable Cubby Shelf by Ana White
If you are looking for a more classic versatile shelf, the Adjustable Cubby Shelf, also by Ana White. This type of shelf is perfect for a kids’ room because it can store large toys, baskets, and other bulky items common in kids’ rooms. Additionally, the shelves are adjustable, so you can easily customize the entire thing according to your particular needs at the moment.
Most importantly, as always, Ana offers very detailed and neat plans, as well as a video tutorial.
4.3. Reading Bench Shelf
If you are looking for a bookcase/multi-purpose shelf plus a reading and resting bench, then this cheery project by Magic Manu of Instructables is worth checking out. The original shape is similar to Ana’s chubby shelf, except that it has been modified to accommodate a bench with a sloped side on the top. As it is evident by the title of the project, the bench is ideal for reading time.
4.4. Climbing Rock Secret Laundry Storage
I could not find any tutorial that features this fantastic idea that Elisio turned into reality, but I just had to highlight it.
If you have kids preschool or younger school age – and especially if you have more than one child – you probably know that there are always little socks, underwear, and other small clothing pieces lying scattered around. Trying to round up all the laundry is probably one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of home organizing with kids.
It’s not helping that kids seem to be especially put off by the idea that they have to pair up the socks and open drawers or laundry baskets to put them in place. Their little lives are just too busy for that kind of effort – so they tend just to stick them somewhere.
But papa Elisio made that habit work in his favor.
Beginning at 17:32, you can see how Elisio created additional round storage areas right next to the climbing rock elements on the bed’s right supporting side. The holes are covered with net-shaped elastic strings so the socks and laundry can go right in but can’t fall out. I can imagine that kids find it easy and effortless to simply slip in their socks right in.
This is definitely not the neatest solution, but for a parent, it is much easier to go through several small storage areas such as these openings than to chase the socks and underwear all around the room – at least until the kids are old enough to take more care.
Besides being a brilliant surfer and a visual artist, Elisio Tiúba has shown that he is a very skilled maker – and a very loving dad.
The two titles go great together. DIY projects for your children’s room are not just a way to make their lives better and more fun while saving some bucks. They are also priceless life lessons in creativity, problem-solving, perseverance, and work ethics. By showing them that you can build household items with your own hands, you empower them for life. Talk to them, see what they would like to have in their rooms, and then build it – together.
What part of Elisio’s apartment do you like best? Did you make anything for your kid’s room? If so, feel free to show it off in the comments!