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Building a Murphy Bed/ Bookcase

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 08:45 pm
So I'm a new homeowner-to-be, and having lots of crazy ideas... (33 years' worth of "when I own a house, I'll...", I guess.)

It's a great house, I love it, but one problem is the guest room. There is not an obvious place for it, but we do want to make visitors welcome, so I plan to use the family room/ sun room as a playroom, office/ studio for me, and guest room as well. :-/ It's a big room with a full bathroom right off of it, and I think it's achievable. The main sticking points in terms of what we have now vs. what we need are a guest bed and toy/ art supply storage.

I checked out sofa beds at Ikea and the sofa part was fine but the bed part sucked. Foam mattresses through which you could feel the bed support. I want to have something comfortable enough for E.G.'s 80-something grandma (who is so great... but I digress.)

So, once I started thinking about a comfortable mattress, that led me pretty quickly to the idea of having a Murphy bed. Then I decided what would be REALLY cool is if the bed could have a surround of deep bookshelves (2 feet) and then have shelves on the underside of the bed (~1 foot, allowing 1 foot for the mattress). Something like this:

http://www.able2know.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/bed%20and%20shelves.JPG

This is approximately where it would be in the room:

http://www.able2know.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/normal_floor%20plan.JPG

So, I've never done anything remotely like this before, and while I really like the idea -- it would solve several problems -- I have no idea of expense, difficulty (how would I get the bed to swivel up and down, stay in place, etc.?) or general feasibility. So any advice would be appreciated. (Nothing at all definite about whether we'd do this, and would probably be a while yet if we did, but just curious.)

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 13,376 • Replies: 37
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 08:49 pm
Forgot to put in lots of sozlet table/ chairs/ easel type stuff that would be in the area of the murphy bed. Also forgot to label the thick line in the upper right corner as a side door.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 08:51 pm
Beautiful concept. It sounds like a major project, though. Ask fishin' or farmerman. I think one or the other do this kind of thing for fun. Actually, I think they both do.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 08:55 pm
You'll have to pull all the books off the shelves every time you lower the bed but I guess that won't take long. I'd look for a murphy bed kit, if there is such a thing. My parents had one built exactly like your plan so I know it's reasonable.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 08:58 pm
Oh really?! Cool.

Yeah, I called it a bookshelf but it would really be mostly for toy storage. Cardboard bricks, stuffed animals, whatnot. The deeper shelves would probably have more display type stuff at the top, then storage boxes at the bottom (one side for toys, one side for art supplies, for example.) Point is that could be all removed without too much trouble. Maybe half hour prep for the whole visit (would need to move couch and kid furniture, too.)
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 09:15 pm
Here's a couple of leads

http://www.store.yahoo.com/grennans/

http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/fullpres.exe?PARTNUM=876-509&go=273
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 09:23 pm
Oh, look at that!

Pricey, but wow.

Thanks!!

Actually that second link has some pretty reasonably prices. Nifty.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 09:27 pm
The second link has the queen bed mechanism for $250...not too bad
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 10:35 pm
I'll have to think about all this. I have a Murphy bed in my guest room. The apparatus is positioned on the back of a 6'-2" wide door, and pivots at the middle to swing around from its closet. In the closet, which is about 4 feet deep, I've built a batch of floor to ceiling shelves. It's true they're not visible unless you pivot the door/bed. When the door is closed, it looks pretty neat as it is a good old solid redwood fairly elaborate door.

People love this bed. I put a cheapo mattress on it, the only one at McMahon's dreadful furniture store to fit the bed (most mattresses are thicker now...). I think I paid $69.00 for it. My guests always rave about what a great sleep they had... not just rave, but say the best in a long time..

Anyway, I am posting before looking at the links to mention the little matter of sheets and blankets. If one wants to make the bed up, and yet fold it up, it can be a bit of a scrunch (I am trying to picture this with the description on the earlier post.).

Back in a bit.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2004 10:47 pm
Hmm, that second link looked interesting.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 06:27 pm
If you are interested in making a Murphy Bed/wall unit I can send you some plans for one (the plans are a bit dated but you could be update them with your own finishing details.).

Rockler.com carries the needed hardware for the pivot points and such.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 06:50 pm
Nice site, that Rockler.

I guess I will have to photo my Murphy bed for a2k posterity.. not that you want to reproduce it, as it takes up more room that the other ones on the links.

I am crazy for the brass apparatus, though, and now that I haven't found it online anywhere, think I at least need to take a snapshot.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 07:20 pm
Would you be building it yourselves?
If not, the cost of the already completed Murphy bed is not unreasonable. If you're paying a good carpenter, well, $2000 would be an easy number to get to.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 08:48 pm
I'd love to see it, Osso!

Fishin', wow, thanks for the offer! My question relates to ehBeth's -- any estimates on how much it would cost to make it myself? I know it depends on a zillion factors -- type of wood, etc., etc., -- but any ballpark figures?

This is all very, very theoretical right now, I just like thinking about this stuff and I like the idea. IF it happens, it would probably be a ways off.

I found a somewhat comfortable sofabed today, 50% off (all of the ones I've looked at thus far are fine in terms of sofa-ness but not bed-ness) and that is probably much, much more practical not to mention cheaper. (I mean, I'd have to get a mattress on top of building the thing.) Still like the idea tho, so I'll keep thinking about it and continue to welcome comments/ suggestions.

The carpenter thing has gotten me thinking... the house had an addition built about a decade ago that is quite nice, lots of woodwork involved, and we learned about the guy who did it, excellent references all around... maybe when we're less broke we could contact him and have him do it... hmmm...
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 07:49 am
There would be a lot of variables in the cost but just for some quick rough numbers:

If it were made out of MDF (particle board - this would have to be a painted finish) it'd be in the $500 range.

If you were to make it using furniture grade birch plywood it'd be in the $650 range.

Pine would probably knock it up into the $750 range and you'd go up from there if you wanted better quality wood (i.e. maple, oak, cherry, etc..)

All of those are without the mattress and with no labor costs involved.

MDF or plywood would be the easiest to do if you don't have things like a router, joiner, etc.. If you start buying tools to build it then things can go up in a hurry. Wink
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 10:37 am
That's really helpful, thanks.

Yeah, the tools to build it... er... Shocked (I know someone here whose tools I could borrow but not there, yet.)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 10:39 am
hmmmmm, about $250 - 350 for the mechanism
$750+ for good wood (oak, maple ++)
$ ? for tools
no labour costs/time factored in

what does a premium quality davenport or sofa bed go for these days?
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 10:42 am
a few cautions soz; the two foot depth of book case is far far to deep; books are generally more like 10 inches deep, with a few coffee table sorts reaching a foot.
make sure you don't store too many books on the back/bottom of the fold down "Murphy" bed as the noise when you lower the bed could be deafening (Murphy's Law!), and the pick up books game could flag in excitement over time.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 10:43 am
About $2,000.

And yeah, that's looking more and more attractive.

Although then I'd also have to get the storage shelves, which adds another $500 - 1,000 or so, depending.

I have my eye on one sleeper sofa at an outlet that reduces prices by 10% every week -- originally $2,000, it's 20% off now, and I'll hope that it stays for several weeks. (Have seen things 80% off there.)

But I LIKE to think about this stuff! And it's an education.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 10:45 am
Bo, I really shoulda called it "Murphy Bed/ Storage Shelves" -- I have some 2 x 2 X 2 foot storage boxes that we currently use for the sozlet that I envisioned going in the bottom part, with then just loose stuffed toys and other light things on the upper shelves. Wouldn't be many books involved, almost all toys. (Maybe one or two shelves of sozlet books.)
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