DH and I have a small house. I'm currently pregnant and DS is 4 1/2 (turns 5 a month after the baby is born.) Our rooms are not very big so for a bed plus a crib would lose a LOT of storage and play space. (DS is really big for his age, of the charts height & weight...on his 4th birthday he was on the 50th percentile line for a 6 year old.)
We were thinking of getting DS a loft and putting the crib underneith. The crib/toddler bed (convertable) is definitely getting too small for him so he needs to upgrade to a regular twin anyway. I'm not worried about the height part. I'm going to be very careful about rail height on the loft, he's never been a fall out of bed kid (even without a toddler bed rail), and he's been climbing like a monkey at the playground since he was 2 (so the ladder isn't really an issue.) I'm confident DS will be fine (and love) a lofted bed. He's enjoyed friend & family lofts that he's been around.
We were playing with room arrangements to get us better space with either the crib fully under the loft or at a 90deg angle so part of it is under, part not.
Has anyone tried this? What kind of issues/successes did you have? Any recommendations on brands? I have to measure our current bed to see if it is low profile enough to reuse under the loft. Any brands recommended? (We have standard 8' ceilings so we're limited on some styles). (DH and I are relatively handy so making/building/modifying safely is something we can do.)
Edit: Thanks for all the great suggestions. I have some new ideas to think about. (I'm more than happy to take more!) Just some blanket statements. My 4 y/o (will be 5 by the time we need this set up), is big and strangely agile, so I'm not worried about any increased risk of him falling out of the top bunk because of his age. I don't see any greater risk than a kid a few years older. He doesn't sleep with a lot (though anything could fall) and he isn't allowed to play on his bed now, so horsing around on the loft will not be allowed. (He is actually a really good kid, we're lucky, and follows instructions quite well.) Honestly, my concern isn't falling, it's if he tries to see if he can "fly". (Yes, I have one of those, but he is good at understanding appropriate behavior in appropriate situations).
Lastly, the loft will NOT come down unless the house comes down around it. Both my husband and I are engineers (I have a structural background) so I understand a lot about what we can and can't do and how to make it safer than even out if the box. (I also have a hazard analysis background.) I'm very good with a hammer/drill/screwdriver/saw etc, so any modifications would increase the safety of anything we buy.
Edit x2: thanks again for all the ideas. We found a "loft" (not full height) bed from IKEA I think we're going to use. We'll put storage for toys and books under and curtains and my DS can have a little play area all his own. It's not as big as a captains bed (which is good) and we could put more storage units under it if need be. We have to do some measuring to figure out if our current bed/crib will still fit in the room, otherwise we'll look into mini cribs. Thanks so much for the advise everyone.