Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Great Room Makeover: the Bed/Desk Unit

...we rejoin our program, already in progress...

The first, and biggest, part of the renovation was planning and making the bed/divider/desk unit. I had a 9' wall to work with, with a sloped ceiling. (BTW, sloped ceilings always seemed cool to me until I had a house with slopes on both the east and west walls--different angles and base heights, naturally--and 7' ceilings. Now... not so cool.) I had never done a major construction project by myself before, but I knew exactly what I wanted: a very basic, almost platform-style bed taht would fit a peculiarly long (78") twin mattress, two under-bed drawers, a combination headboard/divider, and a "floating" desk and shelf. As I got into it, I realized the bedroom floor is nowhere close to even, so I had to do some on-the-fly recalculating as things went in, but overall, I think it went well.
I made the main bedframe pieces from 2x6" pine, with 2x4's inside each long piece to hold my 1x3 bed rails and provide extra support. I set the 2x4's low enough to accomodate the rails and box spring and come up about 2" on the sides of the mattress, so there would be a bit of a lip to keep it from sliding, and gave enouggh room around the edges to allow for easy changing of sheets and blankets. The legs are 2x4's screwed to the inner pieces, so the 2x6 boards rest on top. I also added a block on the inside edge of each leg to provide extra support and keep the legs from giving out. The whole thing is put together with drywall screws, which I like because they have threads right up to the heads. I'll probably get fined for excessive use of screws, but that puppy's not going anywhere any time soon. ;) Final dimensions: 41"Wx80"Lx16"H.
Underneath the bed, I wanted some storage, so I created two simple drawers from 7/16" OSB. I made rails on the sides and banged a couple of casters into each so the drawers could easily roll out from under the bed. Each drawer is about 10"Hx34"Wx38"D.

Once the bed was in place, I re-measured to make sure I was plotting everything right and got to work on the divider. The "meat" of the divider is made from 2x4's and 7/16" OSB. I created a frame of the 2x4's (48"Lx36"H), then covered one side with plywood. I covered the plywood with a piece of paneling (I didn't get a picture of that side, but anyone whose grandmother's house hasn't been redecorated since the 60's--which is, I think, just about everyone--knows what that looks like) and screwed the whole thing to the bed. My original plan was to make one shelf 6" below the top to line up with the desk (which I wanted to sit at 30", pretty standard desk height) and panel the rest, but I realized as I was working that I had a perfect spot for a couple more narrow shelves, so I built those in too. Slapped on a little paneling, trimmed it out with some of the molding I tore down from the walls, and the divider was good to go.

The desk was pretty straightforward. I had it all painted and ready to go by the time Makeover Week came along, so it was mostly a matter of making supports and getting the whole thing level. I reapeated the support/leveling process for the shelf, and voila! It was time to move on to the next grand project... the closet.

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