By Hollie Bone
A creative gran has used her time in lockdown to transform her shoe-room into a Disney princess-themed paradise for her only grandchild – with a handmade Cinderella pumpkin carriage for a bed.
The incredible transformation by Dawn King, 51, from Rochford, Essex, took three months but cost her just £550 – spending £200 on all the arts and crafts needed to transform the child’s bed gifted from her brother, and shelling out just £250 on flooring, paint and wallpaper from B&Q and Dunelm.
The mum of two decided to turn the neglected storage space into a proper bedroom for her only grandchild, Ellie-Mae, four, and set about creating the magical oasis fit for royalty in April.
Dawn roped in her stepdad, Trevor, and Ellie-Mae’s dad, Rhys, 28, to cut the shape of the carriage out of MDF before spending up to 10 hours a day painting it, creating fake ‘windows’ looking out onto the fairytale kingdom and a handmade pintuck interior.
Now after nine weeks apart due to social distancing, the gran-of-one was reunited with her son Rhys and Ellie-Mae for the first time on Tuesday and revealed her new room to the elated youngster.
Dawn said: “She was absolutely over the moon with it, everywhere she went and everything she picked up she just said ‘wow’
“It was emotional and so lovely seeing her after all this time.
“Her reaction made all the hard work worth it.
“She loves all Disney princesses but I’ve been reading her a bedtime story once a week through lockdown and every week she asks for Cinderella.
“She has been nagging me for Cinderella shoes for months and I have bought her them but she had no idea what I had done to the room until this week.”
As well as creating the carriage by hand from scratch, talented Dawn used a bed canopy and tutu to recreate Cinderella’s blue ball gown over Ellie-Mae’s bed, and decorated the rest of the room with photo frames of different Disney princesses and trinkets featuring characters from her favourite movies.
But the mum who lives with partner Chris, 51, is no stranger to DIY and has previously turned her kitchen into a homage to Banksy and transformed her bathroom into a tropical oasis with plants and fake waterfalls.
Dawn said: “I wanted to make it look like she was getting into the pumpkin carriage when she goes to bed.
“I wasn’t going to pay for one so I thought I’ll make one.
“I drew it up and asked my stepdad if he would be able to cut that shape out of MDF.
“I used the bed canopy and a tape measure with an old tutu to make it look like the dress the fairy godmother transforms for her to go to the ball in.
“And I had a load of old photo frames that I repainted and then sprayed the silhouette of various Disney princesses onto them before making up their dresses with buttons.
“The only odd one out is Lara Croft because I think it’s important for her to have a strong female role model in there too!”
Now Dawn just needs to find a new place to keep all her old shoes, which are staying in the loft while the family look forward to the next time Ellie-Mae will be able to sleepover at her nan’s again.
Dawn said: “We are very close, I usually have her every Thursday night.
“I can’t wait for her to be able to come over and sleep over in her new room for the first time.”