February 3, 2005

God Bless You And Your Sweet $300 Maple Crib

community_crib.jpgWhile I've been happy to talk up the no-nonsense Jenny Lind crib we got, it was still something we settled for. We really wanted a crib like you'd see in the dictionary: an old-school, industrial or institutional model that was all form-follows-function and no frills. We never could find one.

Then this morning, DT readers Arielle and Rob emailed me about this crib collection from Community Playthings, a religious community collective which makes furniture for schools, hospitals, and day care centers. [It's called Bruderhof, a happy, friendly, if strict and conservative, Anabaptist-like Christian denomination, not, you know, Heaven's Gate or anything.]

Anyway, these maple hardwood cribs are as simple as can be. They're designed for heavy use, optimized for professional caregivers, and they look AWESOME. They come with in all-wood spindle or plexiglass end versions; with movable or fixed sides; and with adjustable or fixed (i.e., "evacuation models," which can hold up to 130 lbs worth of babies) mattress heights. I'd want to know the dimensions, because that'll affect mattress and sheet buying. Bless their hearts, but I'm not interested in a cotton/poly blend sheet.

The most amazing part: they're about 300 bucks, with free shipping. To which I say, Hallelujah.

Community Playthings Maple and/or Plexiglass Cribs


This stuff is so beyond cool as to be icy.

The $300 includes the mattress!

Am I the only one who finds these hideous?
I mean, a piece of plexiglass at the end. Plastic coated rails! Icky.

However, I did love the Oeuf.

Uma, simplicity. Indestructibility. MAPLE FOR GOD'S SAKE.

Hi, I'm the Arielle who found this, thanks to my friend Rachel, whose cool NYC daycare centers use this company's products. She swears by them.

Anyway, I wanted to say that the dimensions are 26 x 40; in other words, a 24 x 38 mattress. While this is not a standard home crib size, it IS a standard porta-crib size, so you can get porta-crib sheets. I found a site that sells nice, plain, 100% cotton sheets in just this size. I also found a website (soaringheart.com) that will custom make a natural latex and cotton mattress to fit this guy for no extra cost above their normal crib mattress. The mattress it comes with is just going to be a plain foam thing, I think. Still, what a deal!

Also, FYI, you don't need to get the clear sides. You can get the railings all around. It's even cheaper, actually.

What about Bratt Decor's Heritage Crib in Navy?
Is it too garish?

I must confess, that the small minimalist (read: scandinavian) in me does find this crib functionally appealing.

Does no independent furniture manufacturer make children's furniture anymore? This weekend I got a lecture from a local fellow who informed me that liability insurance to custom make, say, a crib....would make the whole endeavour unworthy!

In the 1960s, Community Playthings also made (by hand, in a barn, for little money) a lot of the amazing solid maple toys made famous by Creative Playthings. Creative Playthings was a distributor for Community-made and Finnish toys, as well as the well-hyped "hobby horse" or "eames-era rocker" reputed to have been designed by the late Philip Johnson.

In doing a search for Creative Playthings, I came across the note from Andy Beach, posted 7 Feb 05. I spent every penny I could on buying Creative Playthings for my kids...and used them for my grandkids, and they are still good for my great-grandkids. Oh, and lots of babysitting and visitors...those toys were wonderful. Does anyone know what happened to the company? Are the toys still made by some other company? Does anyone know where I can find some?

Does the porta-crib size become an issue, i.e. will we potentially have a toddler who is too big for this crib but too little for a big bed?

[short answer: it depends. The kid's 2 and still sleeps in a porta-crib-size bed semi-regularly, but she's getting close to outgrowing it. Unless your kid reaches 3' really quickly, you could probably go from small crib to toddler bed just fine. -ed.]

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