After a new headboard magically appeared over a long weekend, my girlfriend immediately found our absence of a suitable bed frame to be the top priority in out lives. Given my lack of free time that summer, and no dedicated workspace to speak of, I proceeded to procrastinate for as long as she would allow. I must have been harassed at least weekly about it. Generally as soon as I got home from a long day of work and settled into my recliner to ingest a few hours of high quality entertainment on YouTube, Netflix, or some other streaming service. As soon as the winter weather broke in my corner of Northern New York the reminders increased in frequency dramatically. It was time to get this project wrapped up… I guess….
The real problem with our current bed was the lack of space underneath to store the copious amount of things she accumulates throughout the year for the kids’ Christmas presents. Also, since I was an intruder into her previously well stocked home, I was lacking any space to store clothes and personal items besides the one closet I commandeered which was previously used for the aforementioned Christmas present storage. Said closet will be the topic of a future post. It really all came down to us being 2 fully functioning adults, each with all of the things that a household needs, trying to jam it all into one space without giving up anything. Ahhh, the joys of adult relationships. So we sat down and decided what our storage needs were and worked out a rough design for the project.
The new bed had to have some sort of drawers or bins accessible from the sides for clothes storage since it was kind of hard to hang socks in my closet. The boss also required hidden storage to keep all those presents. I also wanted to incorporate some kind of secret storage space just to make it interesting. After a few iterations of the design and a mock up in Sketchup, we had a plan and material list ready to go. The following weekend we trekked to the local-ish home store and picked up our supplies.
We had settled on simple plywood construction with pine face frames because it was all going to be painted when complete. My design consisted of 2 open boxes for the sides with a platform that spanned the gap between to support the mattress and allow us to widen the base if we ever decided to upgrade to a king mattress. There would also be a footboard that matched the headboard, shown above, that I had built the previous summer. Unlike the headboard project, I didn’t set aside a holiday weekend to get the project complete, I opted to spread it over evenings and couple weekends.
First order of business was the main box components. I chose to make two mirrored 3-section boxes. Each had two long sections starting at the foot and one short segment toward the head. The long sections were sized to hold two baskets for clothes storage with an extra support for the top because I’m a husky boy. The woven baskets shown turned out to be a poor choice and were later replaced with hard plastic baskets that have held up better to our cats, they seem to like to pull apart anything woven and use the pieces as toys.
From there I built the center section to support the mattress. It was built as an open bottomed box with 45 degree angles on the long sides to allow it to seat into French cleats on the backs of the boxes. I also added a few supports across the span to help with that husky boy problem I mentioned before. Before adding the face frames I painted the boxes a dark blue, chosen by the boss, to save my having to tape and edge later. To save paint, a.k.a. showcase my laziness, I only painted the areas the would be seen after assembly.
My next move was to assemble the face frames and close in the small section of the boxes with a sliding panel to create the secret storage compartments. These were also painted before permanently attaching to the boxes to save me from having to do any real prep work beyond a light sanding.
The footboard had to be fitted exactly for the size of the assembled bed and I still needed to figure out how we would access the open space underneath. for storage. I tossed around the idea of doors but wanted it to be more discrete so I settled on another sliding panel. The center panel for the footboard, as well as the sliding panels on the box faces, was made using leftover tongue and groove wainscot glued to 1/4 inch plywood, while the outer panels were 1/2 inch ply with left over laminate flooring from the headboard build. The center panel was slotted into a groove so it could slide upward. The footboard attaches to the foot of the main bed with 4 easily accessible screws from inside the boxes.
All that was left was more painting, permanently attaching the face frames, and touching up the pin nail holes. Nice, clean, ultra white to match the room trim.
My lovely lady and I hauled the pieces into the house and assembled it the following evening. Final assembly was extremely easy because of the pre-planning. The center section dropped in and pulled the boxes up tight due to the French cleats and the footboard was as easy as a couple screws with washers through some pre-drilled oversized holes to allow some adjustment. Overall, the project took about 50 hours and about a $240 investment. A lot of the time was due to my unorganized workspace and having to pick up and haul out tools daily. Painting also slowed me down, I generally try to hand that off to a helper but wasn’t that lucky with this project. The cost was mostly from my choice of plywood, I used 3/4 inch premium poplar. The only real change I would consider if doing this project again would be to drop the height of the bed by 4 inches or so. I don’t have a problem with it, but my girlfriend has to have a stool by the bed to get in. Short people problems! But it really does look sharp with the headboard.