Saturday, June 14, 2014


When Jeannette moved from Wolfville to Ottawa a few years ago one of the first things she purchased was a relatively inexpensive, easy-to-assembly bed from a major Scandinavian retailer specializing in such things.  Not surprisingly, by the time I arrived in Ottawa a few months later and we needed to disassemble the bed for the first time we began to notice a few signs of deterioration, though at the time they were all relatively superficial.

Despite these weaknesses we continued to use the bed, and even moved it from Ottawa to Regina.  During this move more substantial damage to the bed was sustained, so much damage that the moving company compensated us for the cost of the bed.  Of course, despite the damage (and likely because our belongings were delivered on the evening of December 23rd) we continued to use the bed.

While no new damage to the bed occurred during our move from our apartment to new house, it quickly became clear that our bed was on borrowed time.  The absence of a head board which meant that almost every time one propped pillows against the wall behind the bed the bed would be pushed further from the wall was incredibly trying and maybe the single most compelling justification for us to get a new bed.

Because of our relatively unsatisfactory experience with our previous bed we began compiling a list of features, or characteristics, we hoped our new bed would have.  We soon agreed that the bed should:

  • be made of solid wood rather than some kind of fibreboard
  • have a sturdy headboard
  • not have a footboard (so I can hang my feet over the edge of the bed)
  • match the other furniture in the room
  • allow for storage underneath the mattress
After several months of relatively unsatisfactory, though lackadaisical, shopping Jeannette eventually realized that an option might be that instead of buying a bed we could try making one ourselves.  This way we could ensure it would meet our various specifications.

At first I was quite hesitant to undertake such a project as I feared we might end up sinking quite a lot of money into the project and ending up with either an ugly or unfinished bed.  Jeannette, thankfully, was quite insistent that we would be capable of successfully building an attractive bed.

Eventually, particularly once Jeannette found an appropriate non-plywood building material, I was won over and we started to make plans to build our bed.

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In the end we used composite spruce boards we had cut at the store and some of the still functional hardware from the old bed.  Somewhat later in our design process we also decided to cover all of the corners with corner moulding - a process that took hours because of the labourious process involved in making compound cuts with a hand-powered mitre saw.

The head board, a feature of which we are both particularly proud, came together once we'd more-or-less finished the rest of the bed and knew which materials we had left and once we'd made a trip to the fabric store and purchased some upholstery materials.

Now that we've been sleeping on the bed for about two weeks I think it's safe to say that the bed works and that we're quite pleased with the results of the project - it is neither ugly nor incomplete (my two fears).  The only downside of the bed is that it is so large that it won't be possible to get it out of the bedroom without entirely disassembling it (the corresponding upside is that a huge amount of crap can be forever hidden under the mattress).  (Fortunately we had the floors refinished just before we began work on this project.)

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