When we told reader John Klei recently about this project, he exclaimed, “You guys must have been reading my mind!” No, John, just your letter—the one in which you asked for plans for the storage bed we featured in the January/February 2012 issue. Sorry it took a while to get back to you, but there were no plans. So we asked This Old House contributor and furniture maker Christopher Beidel, owner of Pernt, in Brooklyn, New York, to re-create the bed from the photo using DIY-friendly construction techniques. Follow along on the next pages to see how to build a bed every bit as practical as it is handsome.
“I cut out the picture of the bed and put it in my workshop. It’s been on my to-do list ever since.” —John Klei, Gordonsville, Virginia
SATURDAY Build the platform and make the bed frame.
SUNDAY Install the trim and beadboard, and paint.
Storage Bed Cut List
Large Storage Carcasses
¾-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF) tops and bottoms: 4 @ 21 x 82 inches
¾-inch MDF backs: 2 @ 10½ x 82 inches
¾-inch MDF dividers: 8 @ 10½ x 20¼ inches
Small Storage Carcass
¾-inch MDF top and bottom: 2 @ 21 x 27½ inches
¾-inch MDF sides: 2 @ 10½ x 26¾ inches
¾-inch MDF back: 1 @ 10½ x 21 inches
¾-inch MDF headboard: 1 @ 48 x 63 inches (cut to fit)
¾-inch MDF side panels: 2 @ 8½ x 82 inches
¾-inch MDF footboard: 1 @ 8½ x 61½ inches
All Trim and Beadboard Panels: Measure and cut to fit.
2×4 Support Frame: Measure void and cut to fit.
The finished dimensions for a queen-size mattress: 64½”W 83½”L
Download and print the Storage bed cut list
The mattress platform is made up of three storage carcasses: one along each side with three bays, and another one-bay box that fits between those two, at the foot of the bed. Take the sheets of MDF, clamp a straightedge in place, and use a circular saw to cut the pieces per the cut list.
The back piece and dividers get sandwiched between the top and bottom. Lay a bottom piece flat and run a bead of wood glue atop its back edge. Stand the back piece on edge on the glue line, and use four bar clamps to hold it upright. Once the back is clamped down, get a partner to help tip up the L-shaped assembly, and drill pilot holes through the bottom and into the edge. Screw the pieces together with 1½-inch MDF screws. Evenly space the four dividers along the length of the assembly. Glue, clamp, and screw them in place, then do the same for the top piece. Build the other two carcasses the same way.
Arrange the three carcasses as they will be assembled, and clamp them together at the foot. Measure the length and width of the void between the carcasses, as shown. Unclamp them and prime all surfaces.
Grab a partner and move the carcasses into the bedroom. Place them on 1×2 furring strips so that the bottom rails will be flush with the storage openings, and clamp them back together. Using 1¼-inch MDF screws, go through the wall of the small carcass and into the adjacent ones, as shown.
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