Toy Chests are a godsend for
eliminating reducing clutter in a home with one or more children. They’re also typically really boring for both the parents and the kids. When was the last time you saw a toy box that had any uniqueness and character to it? Exactly. . . never. That’s all about to change when you check out one of the newest vendors on Etsy: Thomas Engineering, run by the talented carpenter (and my personal friend) Joe Thomas. With the word “Engineering” in their name, you might suspect this toy chest offers more than just a piano hinge. And you’d be right, it definitely does!
Aside from an inventive design featuring intricate joinery, this toy chest offers something very special that any child loves: secret hidden drawers! Even when viewed up close, you would never guess that two small drawers are hidden into the bottom of the Toy Chest. A simple press on two “concealed in plain sight” buttons extends the drawers from their covert location at the bottom front of the chest. As you can see in the image to the right, the “buttons” actually look like part of the joinery. How do they work? By cleverly engineering an all-wood opening mechanism in the bottom of the chest. The clever design and mechanism is accessible through a false bottom inside the toy chest, allowing you to marvel in all its sneaky splendor. All hardware is marine grade (handy if you’re keeping it at your oceanfront villa, or just to protect it from inevitable drool) and the gas shock that supports the lid is rated to 30 lbs, which, by the way, is higher performance than my car’s suspension.
The toy chest also features an opening mechanism on either side of the lid that only a child with a long enough arm span can open. Genius! This keeps pesky and annoying younger brothers and sisters out of the alpha-child’s treasured possessions, potentially avoiding violent episodes caused by toy theft. This feature alone will make your oldest child love you even more, but probably won’t enhance their sharing skills. What if you only have one child? No problem, just let them know if a small toddler were to break into your house, they would never be able to steal their toys. Nothing like instilling a little irrational paranoia at a young age. Or you could probably just ask Joe to make you one without the special lid latches.
Another unique thing about Thomas Engineering’s custom work relates to the materials they use. Joe describes, “While this one was built out of pine, I prefer to build with rediscovered wood from old sailboats, barns and homes. Not only is this good for the environment, but I love giving the wood, rich with history and stories, a new life. A life that connects the old with the new by creating new stories in a child’s magical world. Inside the chest’s lid, I can include a photo and story of the sailboat/barn/home used to create the chest.” Not only is that eco friendly, but it also results in pieces that have great character. If the pine version doesn’t work for you, definitely contact Joe about commissioning a custom piece using reclaimed materials.
You can find the Thomas Engineering Custom Toy Chest in pine on Etsy for $500, a bargain when you consider the time, effort, thought and creativity that went into this unique piece.