The Washington Post

Kid’s Room Contest: Readers’ choice winner

The castle bed Chris Giunta, of Hyattsville, built for his son. (Photo courtesy of Chris Giunta )

Hyattsville resident Chris Giunta always wanted to build a castle bed for one of his children. Although his two daughters loved princesses, other remodeling projects for his 19th-century fixer-upper postponed the project. It wasn’t until his youngest child , Dominic, was born that he finally made it a reality.

Giunta, 38, and his father, Joe, 62, drew up the plans, bought the plywood and built Dominic, now 7, a dungeon, hidden passage, trap door, winding staircase, slide and shelving over two weekends. That creation earned the most votes online to be the 2013 Kid’s Room Contest readers’ choice, with a $150 prize.

“There are examples of castle beds online, too, but most of those were kits,” Giunta said of his inspiration. “My father and I figured out what we wanted and then the cuts we needed to do and bought exactly enough plywood. ”

The painting, Giunta said, ended up taking the most time — about four weekends. He and his father used painter’s tape to plan out the brick pattern and made sure to cover tight corners and hidden places only the kids see.

“This room gets the most use,” Giunta said. “Even his older sisters play in it. They play up where there is space for a second mattress. Dominic thinks of it as his bedroom, but when his friends come over their jaws hit the floor.”

Giunta, who has lived in Hyattsville his whole life and works for the city, has been remodeling his home since he bought it in 2000. Built in 1896, the Victorian house now has an extension on the back to help accommodate the family of five.

His childhood home, Giunta said, had also required a makeover, and carpentry and restoration were part of his childhood. He was able to use those skills to update his own house — and to make Dominic’s castle come to life.

Although Giunta knows his son will eventually want a different style for his bedroom, the castle is staying put for now. He hopes to eventually pass at least part of it on to another family.

“I’m not going to say it was easy to build, but it was not all that difficult, either,” Giunta said. “It’s important to have the right tools. It’s not as hard as you think.”

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.
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