My 12 year old niece asked me to create a nightstand for her.
We jumped straight into Step 1: Gather Specs
I'm leading the client a bit here, but I know this client pretty well and had some ideas germinating already.
She has a vintage-y streak and likes to collect things, so I thought it would be cool to create a nightstand around tole trays from the 1950s and 60s.
But she's 12, and something she finds kitschy and cool now may look really lame to her in a few years. So the tole trays are mounted on wood platforms with (very) powerful neodymium magnets; strong enough that she can confidently put heavy things on the table surface, but removable by pulling up on one side of the tray so she can swap in other trays she finds for a new look.
I also incorporated a vintage post office box with a combination lock. Perfect place for a young lady to stash her diary in high school and stash her stash in college.
The finished version includes a jewelry hanger to hold necklaces and bracelets at the end of the day, and a cloisonné dish for other sundries. Might be the best place to put her phone to charge too, since the tole tray is slightly magnetized.