I’m a bit ashamed to admit that for years, I did not have a bed. My mattress was right on the floor. I tried to pretend it was ‘minimalist’ or very ‘Japanese’, but of course, my bedroom looked more like a student dive. However, I moved house earlier this year and my ten-year old mattress really had to go. It was no longer comfortable, and as I now live in a basement flat, with carpet on the floor, the underside of a mattress is a good place to grow mould if you so wish.
As I didn’t have a huge budget, I decided to spend as much of it as I could on a new mattress, and as little as I could on a bed. As I didn’t want to buy a cheap flatpack bed, I made the decision to build my own. In Brighton, where I live, we have the amazing Wood Recycling Project, which is where I went to buy all the timber I needed for the bed. I try to be mindful of resources, so this charity that collects unwanted, but perfectly reusable wood from building sites etc, felt like the right place to source the timber from, rather than buying new. I turned up with a little sketch-cum-building plan and they were very helpful. Not only did I get some advise on my building plan, they also showed me around the timber yard and explained which types of timber would be good to use. To keep the costs down even more, I decided to buy everything unsanded:
Here it is, waiting in the kitchen as I was taking it through to the patio. You can see the sander lying on the floor. A piece of equipment I got very familiar with over my DIY weekend! But my first job was to remove nails. I had bought two joists and they are notoriously full of them:
Removing the nails didn’t take me that long, but the sanding did. I spent around 7 hours in total sanding down all the pieces of timber – there’s always a price to pay.
Nearly done! On the left are the two pieces of wood that I used to make the ‘feet’ of the bed. They are placed at the head end and the foot end, to support the two joists, which you can see on the right. I then made a platform from planks (which you can see in the middle in the picture above):
Voila! A platform bed. Perhaps more Fred Flintstone than Louis XIV in style, and definitely no Shamanic Bed for Creatives - it’s purely functional; nonetheless I’m immensely proud of it. Although I make a lot of my own things, they are usually from a very different, and perhaps more delicate, realm. Making my own bed felt very liberating, and has left me feeling enabled. Although I will not pretend my bed is even close on a parr with Rachael’s Shamanic Bed, making my own bed has made me understand better how she just Makes. She doesn’t feel one craft is better, or has more value than another, and indeed she indiscriminately joins, hand-knits, crochets, machine-knits, carves and darns until she has made what she wants to make. What I wanted to make was a comfortable bed, and I think my parting picture shows I was successful in doing just that:
Sweet dreams Anthony!