In a small van, space saving is key and we needed a bed that could be easily put away in the daytime so we could maximize space.
Our current bed was good, but it was a big effort to put down so we just ended up leaving it up, which isn’t best when you haven’t got anywhere else to sit to shelter from the wind, thus covering your bed in sand. Not pleasant when you go to get in bed at night and it feeling like you are lying directly on a sandy beach!
Joe is obviously very capable with his hands so we knew we wouldn’t have to get anyone to help us build it. He came up with a day bed idea, sofa in the day then pulls out to a bed for us both when needed. We have compromised and haven’t got a full size double like we used to have, but we know that it will be plenty big enough for us to sleep comfortably.
We started with a simple soft wood frame which is the base of the sliding sofa bed and drawers. Joe didn’t work from a particular plan, just built from the ideas in his head.
The frame is screwed down to the floor, to the T&G on the wall and also the boxing of the wheel arch so it is super sturdy. Our next move was to join the whole frame up with horizontal cross bracings and then concentrate on the slats for the sliding mechanism.
It was so satisfying to finally see it coming together, this is the fixed side slats. We didn’t want to finish for the day until the sliding side was finished either so we ended up working in the cold and dark but it was worth it.
The slats themselves are made up of softwood. The fixed side slats are 18x44mm and the sliding side slats (try saying that after a few) are 18x42mm, this makes it easier to slide freely with no sticking.
We added some table type legs (from B&Q) to the end and the middle, the far end is supported by part of the bed frame structure which also supports the extension (not pictured here) We had to cut the legs down but they now fit perfect and look really good.
It’s great when it’s pulled all the way out that we have still got room down the side to put shoes etc. once we have got in bed, it makes it feel a lot more roomy than when the bed went the full width. I think it was the right choice to sacrifice the luxury of a full width double, we can both fit comfortably on it side by side and Joe has also made an extension for the bottom of the bed so it’s still full length.
The extension folds neatly behind the seats, it can then be pulled up into a horizontal position to create the full length bed (how this is being held up is still a working progress) Another way it could be used it to be set in an almost vertical position to create a full length sofa, allowing us to look out the back doors. The bed is about 6ft 4 long with the extension flap up which is great as we aren’t short people! Without the extension the bed is about 5ft 5 long.
The bed is nowhere near being finished yet, we need to sort drawers, upholstery and panelling so please stay tuned for new updates!
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Becky & Joe