Pros: Appearance, durability, flexibility, easy to modify.
Cons: Full size mattress and box spring height too high with Simmons frame rails.
We bought this set (crib, dresser, dresser top) from Babies 'R' Us four years ago and it's done a great job growing with our family (4 yr old daughter and 2 yr old son) and looking good in the process. We've only found one area of concern (discussed later) but otherwise this is an outstanding 3-in-1 design that grows without making your budget grow.
BABY STEPS...EASY TO SET-UP AND USE
The various pieces (headboard, siderails, front sliding rail, and footboard) that fit together are held securely by hex head bolts. Simmons includes all the bolts and hex/allen wrenches you need to put this together in about 10 minutes. Also included is a spring frame that supports a mattress. You'll want to lower this frame when your toddler starts to stand or they'll start diving/climbing/falling out!
We really appreciated how easy and smoothly the sliding front rail operated. Many others we looked at required a lot of force or some yoga-like maneuvers.
MOBILITY REQUIRES FLEXIBILITY
Once our daughter and son starting walking proficiently, we converted the crib into the daybed. Again, this was an easy, 10 minute job that required taking the front sliding rail off and adding two horizontal boards that provide a raised edge so baby can't roll off.
ITS A BIG BOY BED NOW
We moved our daughter into another existing bedroom set when she was two and our son was born. So he's been in this set in all it's variations from birth. We wanted to start laying in bed with him like we do with our daughter, so we decided to make the final conversion into a full sized "big boy" bed.
NOTE: If you want to ultimately use this as a full size bed, you might want to buy the frame Simmons makes at the same time. However, as you'll learn below, that might not be the best move.
UH...IS IT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT BIG?
We settled on a Sealy mattress and box spring and then assembled the frame rails onto the head and foot boards. I follow instructions to the letter, so this took me about 20 minutes mostly because you need to use Vice-Grips in one hand and the allen wrenches in the other on this stage. We then placed the box and mattress on the rails...and surprise...the bed is WAY TOO HIGH OFF THE GROUND! Talk about a "big boy" bed! My wife and I are 6 ft.+ tall and WE need a stool to get into this monster truck bed! There's no way Simmons ever placed a full size box spring and mattress on this at the factory.
THE PROBLEMS AND THE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
So after closing the bedroom door and swearing a bit, my wife and I came up with the following courses of action. 1. I saw the legs of the head and foot board down. (decided against this as I don't know what would happen with varnish finish on cut edges) 2. Drill new mounting holes. (decided against this again due to finish but also because wood thickness would cause me to worry about cracks) 3. Use plywood board instead of box spring for 3" height reduction. (might have done this...but mattress would fail earlier) 4. Only use one mounting bolt instead of two at the end of each rail and thus drop the frame 3". (still thinking about this, but want letter from Simmons saying this is safe.)
We then called the store we bought this mattress and box from (we've bought our other Sealy's from this store as well...helps in negotiations) and they told us about a low profile box and a dropped frame. We're looking into the box and frame issues and we're contacting Simmons to see what they will do.
Other than this minor inconvenience, we've been very pleased with the appearance, durability, and flexibility this crib to bed system offers. I'm sure it will be the last bed we have to buy for my son.
Simmons said they would pay for someone to come out and drill additional holes in the head/footboards so we could lower the rails. When I mentioned that the old/previous mounting holes would still be visible, the furniture repair service told me they would patch and stain the old holes. I didn't like the sound of that so we selected a low profile box spring and that solved most of the height problem. I still fully believe that Simmons never assembled the bed with a normal sized mattress and box and that they should pay the difference of the low profile box.