2006-11-07 17:49 - General
So, I moved into this apartment just about a month ago. I laid things out as per a plan I set up before I even signed the lease. It set things up like the dorm room I had in college: desk across the room, seating in front of that, and TV beyond that. This leaves the TV visible no matter where you are, and everything (TV, computer screens, etc) pointing away from the window, avoiding glare.. After a short while, something gave me the itch for a bigger TV, and I found a nice used unit. It didn't fit nearly as well in the place I had assigned for it. I wanted to move it to the opposite corner, but that's where the bed was. There wasn't anywhere else for the bed to go.
Enter the loft bed! With room underneath, I could put the bed above where the desk and dresser were, leaving that prime corner open for the TV. I shopped around for a while, and found a wide range of available beds, but for one reason or another, they all left me wanting something. So I set out to design my own.
A friend pointed me towards the wonderful SketchUp program. A basic yet powerful CAD system, it let me measure out the smallest detail, virtually. That left me with a design I was happy with: image / SketchUp file.
My key design points: I'm not a little kid, I don't need railings around my bed. Even more so, I want the comforter to be able to hang over the edges like a regular bed. I did want a "headboard" on one end to sit up against, though. I also wanted the ladder built into the end, rather than sticking off the side.
My problem, though, was a somewhat arbitrary design decision that I made early on. I based the design on 2x6 boards. For some reason, these things cost about $5 a piece, as opposed to $2 for a 2x4. The eleven 2x6s and other miscellaneous boards that I would need immediately pushed the cost up to nearly $80, just for lumber. Then I'd need hardware on top of that, not to mention labor. I started looking at buying again.
I ended up with a cheap used Ikea Tromso bed. Being metal instead of wood, it was a fair deal smaller. I managed to schlep it on the subway, instead of paying for a rental truck or some such; the other cost detriment to building myself.
It's non ideal, missing my desired features I mentioned above. It's also taller than my design: it barely leaves enough room. If I'm careful, I can climb up onto it, and crawl around on it. If I'm not, I bump my head on the ceiling as I sit up, or my hands as I shift blankets around. So, maybe it's temporary? Time will tell.
I did, however, build some extensions onto it. I built a shelf on one end, mostly to hold an alarm clock within reach. I also built a carpeted ramp on the other end, to let my cats climb up top. They seem to really enjoy that! Here's some pictures of all that.