Friday, 5 October 2012

Guest Post: The Difficulty of Loft Bed Building Debunked

Hello friends,
I am welcoming today Kenneth's post which is bound to be useful to all moms!

Creating extra space is easy when you repurpose old furniture and household items

Sometimes there's just not enough room in a home. I dealt with that problem all the way through college and my first two post-graduate apartments. But to tell you the truth, one of my favorite living spaces emerged from that time. It was a 400-square-foot loft in the heart of downtown. The kitchen also served as the dining room and living room, and the bathroom had a shower stall that encouraged me to stay fit (otherwise, I wouldn't be able to fit in it). The small space, however, encouraged me to be creative. Long before stand-up desks became the new fitness fad, I had one front and center in my bedroom/office.
Even though most people typically have a little more space than I did to work with, living in such small quarters taught me the value of stacking and creating hidden storage spaces. While I was comfortable with the kitchen/living/dining room and compact bathroom, it was another challenge altogether to create a bedroom that could also function as an office space and "man cave."

Loft Beds: Quick and Easy

The first thing I did was track down a used furniture store near the college. I needed an old bunk bed, and if any place was going to have one, it was going to be close to the dorms. Fortunately I was able to find the perfect piece; solid wood with a full mattress frame. I had to disassemble it to get it in my room, but I would have had to take it apart anyway to remove the bottom bunk.
After removing the bottom bunk I inserted additional wooden support beams across the back and both short sides of the bed. To do this, simply measure the length from the outside edges of both back legs and attach a 1 x 12 x your measured length (it's usually about 78 inches but it can vary) at two inches above the ground and two inches below the bottom of the bunk. Secure the beams in place with one-inch wood screws -- four on each end in a square shape.
For the shorter ends, follow the same process: measure the length between the outside ends of the front and back legs and cut two 1 x 12 x that measurement (typically 59" for a full mattress, but always measure). Place them about three inches from the ground and three inches from the bottom of the top bunk, and secure them the same way with a square of four, one-inch wood screws on the end of each beam.
Note: To save yourself time and frustration, make sure you use a power drill to pre-drill the holes for the wood screws.
That's it! Since I had other plans for the desk, I stacked several milk cartons of top of each other against the footboard-side of the new space under the loft bed, secured them with zip ties and put a Tupperware container in each. This was my "chest of drawers" for clothes and shoes. On the opposite side I put a cozy recliner and, in a fit of inspiration, added a third support beam to the short side closest to the recliner at table height and screwed a 1 x 8 x the measurement from the inside of both beams, to create an instant shelf. To give it a little extra support, I added two shelf supports to the bottom.
Now I had a comfortable bed, a place to keep my clothes and a place to hang out. All I needed was a workspace.

Standing Desk in No Time

I didn't really like to sit for hours at a time, so it seemed like a good idea to create a desk that I could stand at. If I needed to sit, I could always take a break and hang out in the recliner. With that in mind, I contemplated the small bit of wall space I had left and came up with a very simple solution: just put in another shelf.
Using some of the shelf supports I had left over from building the shelf /table under the loft, I found a sturdy piece of solid wood and polished the ends, staining it the same color as the loft. Then I found the stud on the wall, found the height that worked best for me, and secured two of the wooden mattress support slats from the former bottom bunk (cut to the size of the desk) to it with one inch wood screws. I then attached the shelf supports to the bottom side of the desk top and attached the desk top to the top support slat using elbow, or mounting, brackets. I then attached the self-supports to the bottom support slat and I was finished. Later on, I added a rescued-from-the-trash filing cabinet on wheels and tacked a throw pillow to the top so it doubled as a storage space/standing desk chair.

What creative ways have you found to create extra space in your house?
 What would you put under a loft bed besides a desk space?
How would you create a standing desk from items lying around your house?

Kenneth McCall loves to hike and ski. When he's not busy with outdoor activities he is a managing partner at Ken designs systems and tools for homeowners and businesses that need storage in places in the midwest like storage units in Chicago and St. Louis.

love, Irene
Thank you, Kenneth!

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