June 9, 2004 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Hey, look at this awesome bed. I want one, but sadly they cost a million euros each. Approximately. So: the pdf brochure on the site basically has enough information to build the bed yourself - it's just a simple wood frame and a couple cushions. How much would it cost to have someone built that for me, and who would I ask? I live in LA, if it matters.
posted by lbergstr to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
My landlord studied furniture making at some school in Rochester, NY. Perhaps if you can contact them they can give you a referral out in LA. You're in a huge metropolis that can offer you anything under the sun. Pick up the phone book.

Bear in mind, though, that custom craftsmen will charge you a lot of money to make a piece of furniture like this. Expect to pay 3X what you would pay for a comparable stylish bed in a furniture store.

For economy, your best bet is to find a carpenter who is willing to do fine-cut work, and hire him/her. Go down to a lumber yard and ask around. They may have a bulletin board of business cards up on the wall. Or ask around for an enterprising nephew/neighbor who has a table saw and can probably do the work.

Honestly, though, if you can see straight and cut an onion without hurting yourself, you could do the work, and what you save on labor you could spend on a table saw you'd get to keep. Think end tables. Think coffee table. Think bookshelves...
posted by scarabic at 11:27 AM on June 9, 2004

Sub question: why are the people in the brochure so sad? Is it because they paid all that money for the bed, and are so close, but both too embarrassed to broach the subject of sex?
posted by Capn at 11:29 AM on June 9, 2004

You might not even have to see straight or cut anything! At Home Depot they'll cut your boards for you for almost nothing. If you measure reeeeally carefully and plan ahead, you can walk out of a home store with almost all the work done. Especially for something as simple/modern/clean-lined as that bed.
posted by bcwinters at 11:30 AM on June 9, 2004

Looking these plans over, it appears that the bed could made made from two to three sheets of MDF, which is probably about $40 per sheet. The bed that I see there would take me (a hobbyist) 3 full days to make, but a much more experienced wood worker could make it in 1 to 2 days. Expect it to cost $300-500 including materials.

I hate to rain on your parade, but the design as I see it is functional, but it looks like the center will bow/crack/break over time especially with humidity. The sharp corners and edges will be painful to bump into and it will be knuckle-busting to put sheets on the mattress...
posted by plinth at 11:48 AM on June 9, 2004

For the price they're asking--what, Eu1130 for the king-size?--you won't find a custom builder that cheap. If it's well-made, that's a reasonable price.
posted by adamrice at 11:51 AM on June 9, 2004

Good points, thanks.

If it's well-made, that's a reasonable price.

Yeah, but I'm still in a bit of a student mindset. Anything more than a $150 futon just seems wrong.

it looks like the center will bow/crack/break over time especially with humidity

Really? Why? The bed is raised slightly, and I'm assuming what's holding it up is solid wood (or something...) Would it be possible to have that support material be strong enough not to bow/crack/break?

I'm hoping bcwinters is right. I have a couple friends who are architecture students who could help me with the plans.
posted by lbergstr at 12:05 PM on June 9, 2004

If the support is made like a "torsion box" (,2046,DIY_14350_26946,00.html) then support will not be a problem. Such things are common and easy to make. I think 3 or 4 sheets of MDF would probably be sufficient, at $40 a sheet that's $160 or so (minus mattress and all that). The only tool you'd need is a table saw. Having Home Depot cut it for you is not going to cut it. They generally have a tolerance of about 1/4", you are going to want something more in line with 1/16-132" (the general standard for cabinet making)

MDF is ugly stuff and you're going to want to do something about that. It takes paint well but you MUST use oil based primer and it helps if you fill the edges with wood putty (the edges of MDF are super porous and soak up finish, and are not smooth). After the oil based primer you can use oil paint if you like (I would) or latex paint (I probably would not).

Another option is to use laminate, like formica. It's not cheap, perhaps $40 again per sheet, you'd probably need 2 sheets, maybe 3. It's easy to apply if you're careful, using contact cement. It's what kitchen counters are often faced with. It comes in all colors and patterns you can imagine.

A beginner could probably make this if they took their time. An intermediate carpenter could do it in a day or two. Like most things of this type the design is the important (and already done) part, the construction should be cake.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:21 PM on June 9, 2004

At Home Depot they'll cut your boards for you for almost nothing.

...and you'll get what you pay for. Last time I tried their service, I had to stop the guy halfway through and show him how to properly measure the cuts, because he didn't know that you have to account for the width of the saw blade! Each piece he cut was 1/8" shorter than the previous one. It was a mess. I don't recommend letting Home Depot help you unless you just need to shorten a 2x4 or something simple like that.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:07 PM on June 9, 2004

You'll need only a few cheap tools: a circular or table saw, a drill, a doweling jig. You can readily purchase pre-laminated MDF. You'll then also need to purchase iron-on laminate edging for the cut edges.

It looks like an excellent beginner's DIY project.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:21 PM on June 9, 2004

Sub question: why are the people in the brochure so sad?


The passage they've just read together from their book succinctly crystallizes the distance from one another: His melancholy, lackadaisical approach to life alludes to an inability to commit; she's looking for an equal life partner, and father for her children. She questions his ability to grow beyond his seemingly adolescence mindset. For his side, he now realizes that the underlying currents of her matronly instincts are deep and swift; it's as if she's already named their future children, and upon his fertilizing of her egg, she will bite his head off and discard his effete body as casually as she did the morning paper. The space between them is now infinite.

At least that's my take on it.
posted by jazzkat11 at 1:28 PM on June 9, 2004

Meh, just go to Ikea.
posted by falconred at 1:36 PM on June 9, 2004

If by prelaminated MDF you mean melamine, I'd recommend against it. The melamine layer is only a few thousandths of an inch thick and not durable at all. It's an OK material for say, closet shelves but I wouldn't use it for anything that would take some wear.

I agree with the basic tool set you laid out though. Another option would be to use knock down fasteners:,41306,41319&abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID=
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2004

Man, I suck at remembering that this forum does links different
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2004

Looks like my best option is finding someone skilled to cut the wood, then putting it together myself. Thanks, everyone.

Rusty, how strong are those knockdown fasteners?
posted by lbergstr at 2:23 PM on June 9, 2004

you might want to put crossbracing or something underneath where the mattress goes, or parallel rows of 2x4s or something, for support, especially if you're not using good, sturdy wood.
posted by amberglow at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2004

The two words "Meh" and "Ikea" do indeed belong in the same sentence, but I have my doubts about your construction, otherwise, falconred :)

Just kidding. Half my shit is from there. But there are a few things I don't think Ikea does very well: futons, beds, and sofas among them. For anything tably/desky/shelvy: rock on wït ûr bäd self.
posted by scarabic at 7:35 PM on June 9, 2004

I say a few sheets of 3/4" plywood, a few 2x4's, about 5 or 6 cans of spraypaint, and one old used matress and you should be all set. ...though admittedly the whole thing does have an ikea flare to it.

Be careful about those backrests though, from my limited experience with wood placing any kind of large torque on it will result in splitting the wood and pulling out any screws or nails.

As for the splitting bow/crack/creak stuff, the issue is not one of support but of the wood breathing. As the wood dries out it shrinks (and likewise as it gets humid it expands). Therefore with time (and without the wood being sealed...(anybody, am i wrong about this)) exposed wood will breath (expand and contract) loosening and causing creaking.

man, i can't wait until i can weld so i don't have to work with freakin wood anymore
posted by NGnerd at 10:40 PM on June 9, 2004

The problem isn't the materials -- MDF, melamine, plywood, whatever -- or even making the cuts. It's the joinery. What makes the bed look elegant and cool is that the fasteners are hidden, and that's hard to reproduce. Not impossible, but it would take a lot of planning and you'd have to budget for fasteners.

You cannot build this bed for $150. No way.

Unless you have a woodworking shop (or at least a few good tools) and some materials left over from other projects, you will wind up spending more like $250 on the whole thing and it will almost certainly suck in some critical way. Trust me; I've been through this same shit you're going through -- I could build that! I could beat the system! No. Spare yourself the pain. Products like these are put together by people who have gone through thousands of hours of building failures to get to the point of apparent simplicity.

Just buy it, or make you a pallet on the floor, or, yep, go to Ikea. But don't fool yourself.
posted by argybarg at 10:52 PM on June 9, 2004

Is that a 'latoflex' under the mattress? I never saw such a substitute for springs before moving to Europe. Individual slats may break if someone heavy ends up on their knees in bed.
posted by Goofyy at 12:50 AM on June 10, 2004


My girlfriend and I made a pair of chairs this weekend based on this design from Crate and Barrel. At half the cost and twice the fun. We used pine, which was cheaper and less sturdy than the hardwood, but it holds up better than I imagined. It's amazing how far you can go with a circular saw, a tape measure, and a drill.

Previous exploits include a pair of planters and a bench that spans across them.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 6:20 AM on June 10, 2004

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