Birdhouse Nursery Nightlights: Dad’s One Pre-Baby Contribution
Pregnancy is not my jam.
I’ve never been pregnant, but I once spent ten months with a pregnant woman.
Pregnancy was most definitely not Leslie’s jam, but by some biological/psychological miracle, her enthusiasm swelled along with her ankles. She read aloud each Baby Center update:
“It’s the size of a poppy seed!” “A kumquat!”
And by the time Hannah was the size of Christmas ham, Les was teeming with excitement. But I lagged. I wasn’t not excited, I just wasn’t as excited as I thought I’d be. Life wasn’t much different than it was before we were pregnant, except there was no longer room for me to sleep in my own bed (for reals).
The date grew near, and I had to step it up. So I told Les not to worry about the nursery decor. I know, nesting and all that—that’s Mom’s bag, but I had an idea. Les was happy to oblige as she rested her swollen everything during the home stretch.
In an oh-God-she’s-gonna-be-here-any-minute flurry, I built eight birdhouses of various sizes, shapes, and colors. And you know what? I poured my heart into those silly birdhouses. Alone with my thoughts in the basement, I thought about my daughter. A lot. I thought about the little bird families she might imagine inhabiting her birdhouses. I thought she might someday appreciate that dad built them. I was excited.
The birdhouses were made of reclaimed wood and rough cedar scraps with twig accents from fallen oak branches in our backyard. I rarely consulted a measuring tape throughout the process, instead eyeballing cuts and angles for an imperfect, childlike quality.
I had a leftover LED light strip from our kitchen renovation, which I cut up into 3-diode lengths and placed inside the birdhouses, turning the houses into cozily-lit nightlights.
I cut 1″x4″s into tapered and angled tree trunks and branches, which we painted white with brown accents like birch trees and mounted on the walls for a little added dimension. I ran 18-gauge speaker wire in channels cut on the back of the trees to power each birdhouse. The lights are controlled by a remote dimmer switch. (That’s right, remote-controlled birdhouses.)
We painted the walls gray, against which the trees contrast nicely.
The colors from the birdhouses were continued throughout the room. For instance, we had several small, ornate picture frames collecting dust in the basement which we painted and clustered above the crib. Confession: I just cruised Google Images for woodsy stuff to put in the frames, which I printed on a color laser printer at work. (Sincerest of apologies to the image owners. Please don’t take them away. Hannah loves them!) Since these hang directly over the crib, I replaced the glass with plexiglass for safety.
We painted a shelf and nightstand birdhouse colors as well.
The curtains are from Target, but they didn’t come with the valance pictured, so we bought an extra panel, which Leslie cut down and hemmed to make a valance and tie-backs. The glider and crib are also from Target. And the rug was surprisingly affordable from Wayfair.
That’s that. As far as I can tell, Hannah appreciates our handiwork as much as a one-year-old is capable of appreciating one’s handiwork.
Oh, and for the record, I’ve now had a year with Hannah. I couldn’t be more excited each morning when I pluck that kid from her crib. Pregnancy is not my jam, but daddyhood most certainly is.
Coming Soon: Build a Birdhouse. Buy a Birdhouse. Or, Win a Birdhouse!
We have a couple related posts in the works. Next up, we’ll be posting tutorials and templates, so you can build your own birdhouse, similar to those shown above.
“That sounds great,” you say, “but it’d be grand if I didn’t have to do, like, anything.” Good news: I’m in the midst of building a bunch of birdhouses that we’ll use to launch our Etsy shop. We hope to have the first batch ready before (or very shortly after) year’s end.
“Yeah. That’s nice. Got anything freer?” In fact, we do. We’re going to give away a few to kick things off, because we’re pleased as punch you’re even reading this, and we think our readers deserve free stuff from time to time. Details on how to enter coming soon. Stay tuned. (UPDATE: the giveaway has launched!)
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