Murphy Bed: A Photo Story, Or Project Last Stand

Project Last Stand has begun. Phase I is the installation of a Murphy bed and the reclamation of 40 precious square feet in our bedroom nee sunroom. Phase II may be the purchase of a car. We’ll see how far the bed gets us.

We started shopping for the Murphy bed in catalogues and retail stores and realized right quick we were outpriced out of the gate. They range from $3,000 to $10,000, and our budget was $800 to $2000 at the very top end. My main requirements were: 1) Opens; 2) Closes; 3) Won’t fall. So $10k seemed a bit pricey.

(A friend of ours, the terrific architect Paul Baird, designed¬†this mama for a client. I won’t say the exact price, but it was roughly 20 times our budget. But it’s a Murphy bed that’s actually a ROOM. Like a WHOLE ROOM.)

Our friend Kristen, of SF Space Angels, gave us a few names for contractors. One of them, of Squidbuild, answered us, and gave us an extraordinarily reasonable quote. We were a little worried, quality-wise, but figured that the construction is actually pretty straightforward, and the main reason for hiring someone was so that David wouldn’t have to spend three days swearing and paining his back.

So Sunday morning, we cleared the mattress into the hallway.

Like a stage in our own home!

Then we cleared out all the stuff under our bed–no easy feat, since we built a bed specifically for the extra storage. And David took apart the bed. What do you do with two sheets of plywood in a small apartment, by the by?

She does love her toolset.

Then we remembered what the room looked like before we moved in.

Is that... space?


Then Aaron arrived, and we went to SFMoMA and enjoyed their excellent Sunday family programs. We watched Harold and the Purple Crayon on a big screen whilst laying on beanbag chairs, played peekabo in the sculpture garden, and only weathered a few serious toddler cloudbursts.

At 5 PM, we arrived home, exhausted. David helped Aaron load the mattress onto the bed–apparently without sixty pounds of mattress, the hydraulic hardware doesn’t really stay open–and I vacuumed. And vacuumed. And also dusted. Tip: if someone’s coming to your house to do installation work, and he says he’s doing all the cutting before arrival, make sure to cover everything within a breeze’s distance, anyway. Otherwise you’ll likely be picking sawdust out of your kid’s felt sandwich bread for several days.

Once we were cleaned up, locked and loaded, though, we had this:

The straps keep the bedclothes from sliding.

And with a bit of a heave and only a tiny bit of ho, we pushed the bed into its box, locked the legs back, and had this.

Like a big cabinet that sleeps two.

See all that stuff in front of it? That’s a rug. And also floor space. Loads of floor space smack in the middle of our most heavily-traversed room. Eliza roamed around like a pony newly loosed into a meadow. David and I couldn’t quite compute that after several years of discussing it, we finally did it: we got a Murphy bed.

Opening and closing it is no more difficult than making the bed. The only real difference, sleep-wise, is that my head is under the box part, so I don’t have direct access to my alarm clock. I’ve had to move a small end table over to my side of the bed for nighttime, a temporary solution that will soon be remedied. We also need to do something about the Elfa drawers and wall unit–likely a full-size curtain instead of a piece of fabric hanging limply. And I want to paint the bed the same color as the wall so it blends in.

But lookit that, wouldja? Our bedroom is a sunroom again. Except at night, when it’s not.

P.S. If you’re interested in DIY, here’s the kit he used for the Murphy bed mechanism. It’s called Create-a-Bed and sells for only $299. And by Aaron’s account, the instructions are excellent.

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3 Responses to Murphy Bed: A Photo Story, Or Project Last Stand

  1. Dottie says:

    That. Is. Genius. I was thinking about doing the same thing in the back room, so I can have a proper sewing room. I love it! What a space saver! I’m so glad you went ahead and did it!

  2. Pingback: The Luck of the Dragon | Rocket City Digs

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great job it looks great!!!

    So besides the $299 kit, how much did you spend on the additional components not including the mattress?

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