Can you help me build this bed?
July 23, 2007 11:26 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me build this bed?

My wife wants to get this bed from Pottery Barn:

I am not willing to go out and buy something so expensive when I am certain I could make it myself.

I am fairly handy with tools, and own everything I would need to make this. The problem is that I am unsure about the best way to construct it. Everything complicated I have built so far has been taken from pre made plans.

From the photo's, it appears to me that the bed is actually three smaller pieces that come together to form the base. Each one is similar to a small cabinet with 2 drawers

Does anyone have suggestions for how I should come up with the design for this? I am not too concerned about the trim pieces, what I really need help with is the framing structure. Is there some sort of standard design for something like this?
posted by markblasco to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Find some simple cabinet at ikea (or maybe based on prefab kitchen cabinets? Doors should be easier than drawers..), and then shore it up with added boards between (and on top of?) the cabinets.

I'm sure there are plans, but I don't know where.. Search for captain's bed plans (I guess they are normally twin sized?). Maybe the book Beds can help?
posted by Chuckles at 1:32 AM on July 24, 2007

Most platform beds with underbed storage put more drawers down the sides, and the foot end drawers are smaller. The Pottery Barn bed you linked appears to be constructed of 3 identical base units, but this would, I imagine, only hold true for a full/queen size bed, as the extra width of a king or a California king would require some significant stretching of the foot end unit, and side drawers that were 1/2 the depth of a California king would be, to say the least, extremely unwieldy. So, on a king or larger, the three drawer units would likely form a kind of "U" with a hole in the middle, which would need a platform to fill it, for use with ordinary or foam platform bed mattresses.

But once you've nailed down your choice of dimensions, you could probably make this a pretty easy project by making the base units 5 sided plywood (or melanine covered board) boxes of appropriate dimensions, and then order drawer boxes and face frames as components. Frankly, most cabinet shops could knock this stuff out pretty cheaply, if shipping costs are any concern, from the linked source. You put your own drawer fronts on, hang your slides, and put it all together. If you go king, you'll probably need to incorporate a full platform, to prevent mattress sag into the hole in the middle, but this could become a structural element tying the three drawer boxes together.
posted by paulsc at 1:50 AM on July 24, 2007

As a finish carpenter with a few cabinet making skills I would say paulsc has the right idea. The only thing I would suggest
is a plywood mockup to work out the drawer and carcase dimensions.
posted by archaic at 4:31 AM on July 24, 2007

Most of these beds are made for crap, really. At least on the parts you CAN'T see.

We're talking a frame made of MDF/OSB/particle board, constructed in 2 sections with a spacer. I don't have time to really give you a drawing, but I'll try to explain.

Looking top down at the bed, you've got left side, right side, and middle. Shelves on left and right, or in this case bottom. The ones I've seen before are literally 2 framing sections built as mentioned above, skeleton frame of 3D rectangle, with cross-supports to keep it from moving, and of course vertical pieces between where the drawers will be.

I would use prebuilt drawers and build around them.

So...two identical sections only as big as the drawers, then they often literally use sections of OSB turned end-up to fill the space between left and right sections, to create the center. I think the last one we had had about 5 of these pieces. They just slide in, not even attached.

Headboard screws in across the whole thing, keeping it nice and square, and then mdf/cardboard/osb in 2 sheets across the top to make a flat surface that won't eat your boxsprings.

Our always have a footboard across the bottom to hold them square too---but if you want drawers there and NOT on the sides, just modify the previous plan either into 3 sections and flip it 90 degrees, or just build the shelves into the ends of the 2 sections instead of the sides.
posted by TomMelee at 4:43 AM on July 24, 2007

Just chiming in for support here. That bed is awesome and I think it's even cooler that you're going to build it! Your wife will love you for it, you'll have a handmade bed that you get to enjoy/sleep in/have sex in, and you'll save lots of money! Also, this is a GREAT use of AskMeFi! I really hope you get lots of expert answers.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:56 AM on July 24, 2007

It's funny, I did something relatively similar to this project about six months ago. (Very different bed design, but similar in that I had a picture in my head and no plans to speak of.)

I ended up doing was cruising around the Woodsmith site and to find plans that were at least similar to where I was going. Once I found a decent couple of plans that had the elements of what I wanted, combining them wasn't terribly difficult. The added bonus is that you have some stability built in by using someone's tried and true plans for the elements as opposed to winging it completely. (I only say that as a slight at me, whose first attempt collapsed on itself. I'm in no way deriding anyone else's "winging it" abilities.
posted by ASoze at 7:01 AM on July 24, 2007

This brings back memories of high school wood shop where we were taught how to make our own plans based on the limited drawings in an Ethan Allen catalog. Basically, you take the given measurements and compare them to measurements from a picture to get the major dimensions of drawers etc. If you have ever made a cabinet then you will know how to frame out the drawers etc. If you have not then I would suggest you head to the bookstore to get a book on cabinet making. This is a pretty simple project. Just make sure you have lots of support in there for your bodies.
posted by caddis at 7:20 AM on July 24, 2007

I made a bed with drawers underneath for my daughter, starting with pictures from an article on Scandinavian built-in beds in Fine Homebuilding. I used pocket hole screws, since my joinery skills are pretty pathetic. What worked well for me was to think about it as a bed with underhung drawers -- in other words, I wanted to make a frame for the bed that would be sturdy and not creak and flex, and not depend on the drawer carcases for bed support. Having an independent frame takes up some of the potential drawer space, though.
Don't skimp on the wood -- you'll be saving lots of money by not buying this, and you should spend some of it on good hardwood rails and good hardware (and some on that new tool you've been thinking about). You can order the bed rail fasteners from someplace like Lee Valley or Rockler. I built my own drawers, but it took a lot of time, and I think paulsc's suggestion to buy the drawers is a good one.
posted by Killick at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2007

This has been a lot of help so far. I am getting excited about starting this project.

This will be for a queen sized tempurpedic mattress, and my wife has been looking for beds that don't need a box spring and has storage underneath. Looking for books on cabinet making sounds like the way to go to get this started.

Does anyone else have suggestions about good books on the subject?
posted by markblasco at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2007

One more thing, since you mention the mattress.. If you don't own a tempurpedic yet, you might consider building your own with varying thickness of memory foam. I returned my tempurpedic because I didn't like the firmness of it. Once I built my own, I was able to vary the layers until it was perfect for me, something I couldn't get from Tempur. (That and it cost about a grand less...)

A pretty good comparison site for the DIY memory foam is My Foam Mattress. Worth a look, if nothing else.
posted by ASoze at 10:49 AM on July 24, 2007

We already have the mattress, and firmness is not an issue - we have used it for over a year, and it has softened up quite nicely.
posted by markblasco at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2007

Not to discourage you from a fun project, but there are a ton of sites that make beds with drawers underneath for less than Pottery Barn prices.

Also, if you use a futon for a mattress, make sure the platform has some ventilation or you'll probably get mold.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:14 PM on July 24, 2007

The goal is not just to get a bed with drawers underneath, the goal is to recreate this exact bed. My wife has fallen in love with it, and will not be interested in anything else.
posted by markblasco at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2007

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