Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bed Sizes For Your Little House and Low Furnishings for the Loft.

The size of your mattress can make a big difference in how you design a space.  This would be obvious to anyone.  The part that would not be quite so obvious is the height of a mattress.  We have all of these incredibly high mattresses now.  All of those old fitted and sometimes regular sheets no longer fit.   The mattresses are too thick.  The cost of sheets and other bedding has gone up considerably.   Our issue is that in many cases, we want a sleeping loft to put guests or ourselves in.  Often, unless you have constructed a Mansard or a Gambrel roof, you have fairly low headroom, and the angle of the roofline might make it difficult to get into bed except by crawling up from the foot.  Look for old style mattresses when you are trying to save room, and build your own bed frame to further lower the profile of the bed.
Just make a frame of four 2x8s in soft wood, or 1x8s for hardwood, about half to one inch longer and wider than the mattress size.  Inside, construct a second frame to fit inside made of 2x4s.  Put a thin sheet of plywood onto the bottom of the inner frame before dropping it into the outer frame to keep the whole thing square with time and wear.  Screw the 2x4 frame to the taller frame from the inside.  Make sure you predrill, especially with the hardwood.  You can also upholster the outer frame with a bit of fiberfill sheet and a nice fabric to make all the joints in the frame disappear.
Then you just drop your box spring into the outer frame and resting on the inner 2x4.  Alternatively, you could put 2x4 cross members in, every couple of feet, and a sheet of plywood inside the frame to support just a mattress without the box spring.  The last alternative is to use just the mattress on the floor, but I think that really looks "Dorm Room".  You can screw a headboard, in the form of an upholstered bit of plywood, onto the inside of the frame.   Just make sure you allow for the thickness of the headboard when constructing the frame.
For fun, you could just use an old piece of picket fence, antique cast iron fence, or some other architectural detail for the headboard...Just plan ahead!

You might consider adding a four foot wall as a second storey to your house.  This will give you more headroom, and an opportunity to put low(eyebrow) windows in for light.  Just make sure you do a scale drawing of the exterior of the house with the added height so that you do not get a house that looks more like Rapunzel's tower than a house. 
You could also raise the angle of the roofline, but up go the expenses and ease of roofing.  Higher angles are precarious to work on.  However the snow would slide off faster.

Find an old Coffee Table with four legs.  Cut it in half (A very fine radial blade will splinter less on a good finish, or tape over the cutting line, to reduce splintering.  Work very slowly.). across the narrow dimension of the top.
Cut a 2x4 to fit between the aprons of the cut table end.  Screw the 2x4 to the wall at each side of the bed, and screw the cut edge of the table top to the 2x4 cleat.  You will get two bedside tables from the low table, to go with your low bed.

You can also make a 2x10 rolling table to go right over you and the bed.

Measure the height of you and the bed at your thighs, when you are sitting up in your low bed.
Cut two lengths of 2x10(or 12 if available) to that length exactly.  Cut a length of 2x10, four inches longer than the outside width of the bed frame. 
Screw the ends of the long piece to the top of the two shorter pieces, into the end grain.  It might be wise to add angle irons and/or  wood glue or construction adhesive, to prevent loosening of the joints.  Put two(forward and backward) direction casters on the bottom of the short "legs" of the table.  This will now roll, up and down the length of the bed and over the occupant(s) with good clearance.  If you want it to be more stable, add a "T" along the floor contact area of the table, nailed or screwed to the outside of the legs, and put the casters on those.  
Twin Mattress....................39x75
Twin XL Mattress..............39x80
Full Mattress......................54x75
Full XL Mattress................54x80
Queen Mattress..................60x80
California King Mattress...72x84
King Mattress....................76x80

Saturday, April 6, 2013

French Inspiration

Well....What can I say.  It is sitting in a field, and if someone buys it, it will likely be surrounded by a dozen houses in ten years, but is is not sublime.
Of course it will take tons of money to restore, but the walls are sound.  All it really needs is plaster and a new roof.  I can see using this little gem as a summer house, surrounded by gardens, and inside, just candles or oil lamps with old comfortable furniture from flea markets. 
In some houses of this period, all they do is put regular bricks or the big square bricks that look like tiles on the ground inside for a floor. You just wax the bricks to seal them after brushing sand into the gaps  to make them stable. You just turn them over when they get dirty.
Hedges along the property lines, except for a gap where the view is best.  Dogwoods. cherries and apples punctuate the hedges, a wisteria covered pergola with a slate floored patio in the back where the outdoor kitchen stands.
Of course one needs a cellar for the local wine and cider.
Believe it or not, this is in central Brittany, France, and is only twenty-two thousand Euros.