building a kid's bed.. inside the wall (dutch bed)

shatrociousFebruary 22, 2007

Thanks in advance for reading/replying..

We own a ~140 year old home, and we are looking to remodel one of the bedrooms upstairs, for our 4 year old daughter.

We want to make her bed "inside" the wall.. if you want to see exactly what we have in mind, go to disneyhome dot com, click on tinkerbell under the tweens section. The bed in there is what we are basing our idea on.

So, we have a space that should be the right size, and eliminate some building.. its like :____: so we would really only need to build the front (top in this diagram?) wall.. so, any suggestions would be GREAT.. we really need cost efficient... and i havent been able to find any plans online, if anyone knows... thanks a bunch!

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My husband did this for our toddler son. Only ours isn't open the whole length of the mattress just about 4 feet of an opening so he wouldn't roll out of it since it's about 3 feet off the ground. He couldn't find any plans either. We used the space from a deep closet and just built a base out of 2x4's and plywood screwed in so it was nice and sturdy then put drywall up on the walls and painted it like an accent wall slate blue (the walls in the room are green) It turned out really cute, and everyone loves it. What I really love is that the room is really small (9x9) and now he has pleanty of room for a desk and toys. Having a 'real' bed in there would have taken up all of the space.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 12:50PM
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Build it sturdy like you would any walls or floors, glue and screw the plywood so it doesn't squeak. Something that's not in that pic but seems like a good idea is making use of the unused space above for built-in cupboards and below for drawers. Great place to store toys, extra sheets and blankets, etc. so they're close at hand but out of the way.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 3:29PM
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First time I saw them was in the book 'Gnomes': very cute idea.

Space at the head or foot of the bed could be turned into closet or desk...

Allow plenty of head room so that she'll still be able to sit up when she's 12.

I considered the concept for one of my guest rooms till I asked myself how I'd change the sheets: doable of course, just a little more complex.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 5:22PM
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Here's one I built for my daughter.

I started with the matress dimensions, added a few inches to each side for tucking in the blankets/comforter, etc.

The rectangle on the front comes off to allow better acess for changing out the matress should that ever ned to happen.

On the inside, bookshelves at the head and foor of the bed. Two wall sconces on the back wall. Dimmable halogen reading lights at the head. I built a shelf insode the front wall, above the opening, partially to act as a strongback to add strength to the front wall, but it was plenty strong without it. She uses that for beanie babies, etc.

Don't recall the budget, but about 7 sheets of 3/4" birch ply for the platform and bookshelf carcasses, a few sheets of 3/4" mdf for the raised panels, 1/2" mdf for the backs of the bookcases, and poplar for the stiles and rails, as well as the drawers.

The drawers are 30" deep on 30" K&V 150# full extension slides.

I remember spending about $380 on the wood and another $275 or so on hardware (drawer slides, hinges, knobs, bookshelf pins, lighting) and paint.

I spent quite bit of time trying to figure out how to safely incorporate a step up into the bed...only to discover my kids climbing up and jumping off the plaform while I was doing my head scratching. So there is no step, they simply climb right in with no problems. This was when my kids were 6 and 4 years old.

Fun project, hope yours turns out well.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 1:51AM
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Fabulous Mongo!

I bet your daughter LOVES the space.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 10:30AM
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Very cute...but, if I were doing it, I would make sure it could be easily removed without leaving major evidence that it was there. When your daughter gets a little older, she may not be as in love with it as now, and if you move before that happens, potential buyers may not find this an attractive feature.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 4:12PM
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Thanks sweeby.

kudzu, my daughter is 16 now, and the bed is still holds her attention. As well as that of her friends, and her friends' parents...

We had a sleepover last night, and the girls draw straws to see who gets to sleep in the bed. Doesn;t matter how many times they;ve been over. Her 16 and 17 year-old friends aren't jaded by it's "cuteness".

As to future buyers, in my case it's not a concern. I built this house for my family to live in, not to sell to others. And should the day come that I do sell? I don't care.

A couple of points. I was concerned that she might want a larger opening as she aged, but that wasn't the case. I did plan for that and built a spare framed insert that's stored down in the basement. The small rectangle on the front of the bed's facade that contains the round opening is removable, and an insert with a larger opening can be installed in its place.

I also put the A/C return for her room inside the bed, up in the top of one of the bookcases. That way air is circulated through the room and through her bed, which keeps it from getting stuffy in there.

It's well-built, and as such I consider it to be an asset and not a liability.

I do, however, understand that it may not appeal to everyone. After all, not everyone has good taste!(g)


    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 5:58PM
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Hey Mongo, had to take another look.Your daughter and friends are getting great use of it, but whatever happens to the house way down the road, i think it will be a great selling point as the space would be a great reading area even for adults with all the built-ins.Again, great work!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 10:24AM
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mongo, amazing! Who wouldn't love it--a nice-sized "fort", as we used to call them when I was a kid...I would actually think that if you ever sell, any buyers will just flip for it (as they will the rest of your house, I'm sure...)

May I ask: Did you just teach yourself all this stuff or did someone help you learn in some more formal way? Because it wasn't your first career, right?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 6:09PM
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Kids love these types of beds. I had one as a child in a third floor bedroom under the sloping roof of a gable. It had shelves and lighting and I could draw a curtain across the opening. It was a very cozy setup and allowed me to escape my obnoxious twin brother, who had a similar setup of his own.

The one drawback to them is they're kind of hard to make up neatly with ordinary sheets and blankets, especially if they're larger than a twin bed. Lots of stretching and tucking from awkward angles (sort of like trying to make up a bed while you're in it). My mother solved the problem by using a fitted sheet on the mattress and a duvet with a washable cover as the only blanket. No top sheet, and no ordinary blankets. Changing the bedding then required just changing the fitted sheet, and a fresh cover on the duvet.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 7:38PM
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Flyleft, my first "construction project" was building my own house. Did everything solo except I subbed out out the foundation, chimneys, and drywall. No previous experience with the exception of 8th grade shop class. I read a lot, though.

Nope, not my first "career."

1) Engineering
2) Aviation
3) Construction
4) Software business.

I'm not doing engineering anymore, but I'm still juggling the other three. Getting ready to formally exit the construction biz over the next couple of years to concentrate on the software/consulting. I'm sure I'll keep my toe in the water, though as I still enjoy the creative aspect of construction. The goal is to get the software/consulting big enough to get bought out.

It's been a somewhat long and somewhat winding road. But I'm not yet ready to turn the next corner...I first need to sweep up the litter that I've left behind me.(g)


    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 10:38PM
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Ah. A true renaissance man--dare I say unschooled? :). My DH unschooled himself in his second career as well, and is happier in it than the one he went to school for...And as for you, anyone who can teach himself enough to build his own house will definitely be able to build a software/consulting co. big enough for buyout too :)

Speaking of aviation, did you read about that man in Switzerland who built himself a personal jet device? A bit OT, maybe, but not really--it's all part of challenging ourselves to new heights, whether on land or in the air :)

Here is a link that might be useful: isn't this what everyone dreams of?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:56AM
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I love built-in beds. That is amazingly cool. Your daughter is a lucky girl.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 12:00AM
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We did built-ins for several children, although not as totally cool mongoct, they love them. Or, the idea of them as we don't live there yet.

All these beds are for boys so they didn't want anything to "girly".
The one bed is just a captains bed built in w/ a bookshelf.

The other group of beds are for 3 little boys. One L shaped, w/ a bunk on top. This is very sturdy, big drawers on bottom beds & we have the ability to remove (with a little work) it should we want to.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 1:15PM
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whoa, i just wanted to compliment you all on your carpentry! i don't know what kid or teen wouldn't want this. but i have to agree, the sheet-changing seems a little problematic. way to go!!!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Initially we thought changing the sheets would be a pain, but it's honestly no worse than changing sheets on any other bed. I can do it while standing on the floor and reaching onto the bed.

My daughter changes them by climbing into the bed and doing the two back corners, then hopping to the floor and doing the two front corners.

The mattress has a couple inches clearance on each side, which allows room for the bedding.

As to possibly ever having to change the mattress, or for flipping it a couple of times a year, I made the front panel on the bed removable.

Another reason was just in case she wanted a larger opening on the front of the bed. In that case I'd remove the panel (as shown in the photo below) and then simply add trim to the rectangular opening.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 6:42PM
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daaang, nice!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:06PM
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I totally love that too.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 2:55AM
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Nice work folks. BTW, it was Thomas Jefferson who invented the Alcove Bed for Monticello, wherein exiting one side of the bed entered the bed chamber, and exiting the other side was his study. I have designed an alcove bed into my never-to-be-built dream house, and included a skylight above it, so I could look at the stars at night.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 9:37AM
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The alcove bed was used during the Ming Dynasty in China, in Pompeii, in northern Europe during the Middle Ages and later. Jefferson eventually added an enclosure screen on one side to reduce drafts and gain more privacy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jefferson's bed

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 9:17PM
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Darned furriners, they thought of everything!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 12:42PM
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It took an American to put two twin beds together for a King.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 9:26PM
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I know there is a place that sells off-beat/unusual style beds made for your kids at reasonable prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kid Beds

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:58AM
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