My friend Walter is new to New York City. He understood that real estate was at a premium before moving, but once he tried to fit his life into a small one-bedroom apartment it was a clear that he would have to make some adjustments. No space. Space funk.

In the classic battle of New York City vs. man the city usually wins. You have to work with what you’re given. In this case, space, or lack thereof. Walter said eff the funk and made lemonade out of lumber. Here is his story:

Back in November 2011 I found out that I had been transferred to New York City for my job as an airline pilot. I had a few months to think about what was going on before I moved, but let’s face it: finding an apartment in New York is pretty difficult to do from outside of New York. After burning my vacation haphazardly looking, I broke down, hired a broker, and after a few frustrating days of hiking all over town, found a little one-bedroom first-floor apartment in Murray Hill. I told my broker: “This is it, I want this one.”

And boy, have I ever wished I had been carrying a tape measure.

The specs: Roughly 250 square feet, with a bedroom that only measures 9 feet wide by 7 feet long, my whole space is smaller than my cousin’s walk-in-closet. When I took a tape-measure to it I quickly realized that almost nothing I owned at the time– and this after selling nearly everything I owned – was going to fit. On to plan, at this point, Q: deal with it.

I moved in mid-June, the movers delivered my stuff early July, and very quickly space disappeared for walking. Or sitting. Besides a general lack of space, there was a lack of shelving for food storage. So I constructed, in my kitchen, a small poplar spice shelf, complete with bent-steel rails; much to the amusement of my urbanite friends. Woodworking in a small place wasn’t so hard… just messy.

However, even with all the room that saved me (cough, cough), it still wasn’t enough space. Something had to be done, and soon. I was bored, and getting a little tired of museums, happy hours, eating nice meals out and having an apartment that lacked voluminous mounds of sawdust.

Enter: The Lofted Bed.

There are many types of lofts in the world: hay lofts, storage lofts, the loft of a down jacket, but what I was really interested in was the restful kind of loft (besides the hay loft, which is more the romantic type anyway): a bed loft. For my purposes, a loft had to fulfill three main objectives:

-It had to accommodate a queen-sized mattress.
-I had to be able to walk around underneath the loft without hitting my head.
-The bed needed to be easy-ish to take apart once it was time to move.

Not collapsing while I slept obviously factored into the secondary design requirements.

At first I considered buying a loft, like those sold by local Brooklyn outfit, Sticks for Stones. For $800 they deliver and install, but what fun is that? Instead, I started researching bed designs from all over the internet and found a few great designs on, of all places, Pinterest. Go figure. Some were pink, others… had flowers. *gasp* Research led to drawings, led to drafting, and then a computer model on formerly-Google’s now-Trimble’s Sketchup. This software allows an user to build, in three-dimensional space, projects ranging from a landscaping drawing, to a small piece of furniture to a huge architectural project; all for free.

I spent something close to 30 or 40 hours over two weeks drafting multiple designs for the loft, using the dimensions of the room to ensure it would all nestle together. I decided on a configuration (2×6” uprights, 2×6” beams with 2×4” braces and a plywood deck) and headed down the street to Lumber Boys for some long boards and pre-cut plywood.

And so it began. One frantic weekend, a few last-minute design tweaks, multiple trips to Home Depot, one borrowed chop saw, and voila: a 56 square foot workshop was born.

The results were messy, and crowded. But ultimately, a bed came together. My next place will have bigger cabinets… and a proper bedroom.

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