Last May I posted the life-size prototype I made out of FoamCore to help me design a complex combination of berth-style (sideways) wall bed, storage and bookshelves for my space in Harlem. I had been struggling with the design problem for some time: how to make the massive volume of the wall-bed blend into the structure, so you aren’t aware of it when you glance at the wall or walk into the room (a problem with traditional, clunky, wall-bed designs).

After a year of unexpected challenges, the wall-bed-storage-bookshelf unit is finished and books unpacked (though I’m still tweaking just what goes on the shelves). Here’s a tour:

The original FoamCore prototype I made with a friend is a nice before-and-after point-of-reference:

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

The solution to not having the bed’s flat panel dominate the room was to put closed storage to the right of it to mute the huge volume. (Had the right-hand shelves been left open, the bed’s panel would be clearly defined.)

The angled shelves on the left were created to preserve sight-lines from the kitchen of Holton Rower’s Pour painting; they provide surfaces to display objects and smaller artworks. It also provides and out-of-the-way niche for stacking stools.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

The full-size bed pulls open side-ways to prevent the bed from sticking so far out into the room that you’d have to move the adjacent sofa to open it (as a traditional vertical Murphy bed would). The orientation of the bed makes you NOT feel like you’re sleeping in the living room; you look out the windows to see sky, birds, stars. A roll up screen can be unfurled to afford some privacy.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Installing a slanted board between the back wall of the bed and the mattress allows my guest (or me) to position the pillows so they can lean against the wall and lounge.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

It makes the bed act like a very deep sofa. When you’re lounging on it, you can talk to whomever is in the kitchen or sitting on the sofa, or just gaze out the window.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Here’s a view of the wall unit from the kitchen of the open workspace/living room/dining room/library:

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

In order to keep the books from dominating the room, I set them back into the shelves, and left a 3.5-inch ledge running horizontally along the top of the bed and right-side shelves. It’s perfect for propping art and open books.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

…The entire unit was painted high-gloss enamel which gives the panel a pleasing subtle reflection.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Coming soon: the very involved PROCESS of creating the unit.

8 replies on “Transforming Wall Bed-Bookshelf-Storage Unit

  1. Hey Sally,

    Not sure how to contact you and I wanted to invite you to stop by on Sunday @ 2pm there’s a bit of an impromptu gallery visit planned by a few people. Of course you are welcome anytime convenient.

    And I do like your bed (and the overall design story… well done!) I am thinking about a wall bed in my place to facilitate the gallery aspect of things – as you will see – and to gain some storage. So looking forward to sharing tips on wall beds.

  2. Well, I quite like it, and what an eye you have! The three little stacked tables, fat rolls of dollar bills, and the rumpled white linen bedcoverings with the books above all provide texture, color and design. I know nothing about design but I see this! I also like how the person on the bed can re orient themselves to what’s going on in the apartment. Clean, colorful,artful, peaceful and organized-that’s what I see. Congratulations! Susan

  3. Sleek, useful, full yet not busy. Looks like a great way to maximize space and function. Can’t wait to see the process details. Nice work!

  4. Lovely! It’s so nice to have followed the bed-bookshelf unit from conception to execution. Interesting also how the angled headboard post made it into the final design. Interested in knowing who built the unit.

  5. This bed-bookshelf is great! You are fantastic at decorating. Greetings Storage Dollis Hill Ltd.

  6. Hi,
    I love your wall bed bookcase . You mentioned in your article that you would put the plans for it online. Could you send a link. You truly inspire 🙂

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