Off-the-sheld bed + storage

We built the bed and the under bed storage drawers today thanks to the magic of IKEA. Could I build my own bed frame and storage drawers from scratch? You betcha, but it would cost me more in materials alone plus two days of labor, which is where IKEA starts to look really appealing. It’s definitely not a total win, the finished product isn’t as strong or as well made, but a lot of what they sell is reasonably well constructed and there’s a threshold where my time is worth more then the benefits that I would get building this from scratch.

A ground-floor bed isn’t something you see in a lot of tiny houses but for me personally the functional compromises of a tiny loft outweigh the benefits of the additional space it provides. The bed in this space is low enough (18 inches to the top of the mattress) that it becomes a multipurpose couch/sleeping/hang out space, right in front of the woodstove and proximal to the sink, the kitchen, and the bathroom, which are all things that I like to have easy access to without having to navigate a treacherous ladder or staircase.

We’re going to love being able to throw the french doors wide-open in the summer and wake up basically in the middle of our garden, or to light a fire in the woodstove in the winter and then snuggle back into bed and watch it crackle to life.

I’ve always been inspired by how traditional Japanese houses could transform a single space into many different configurations depending on what was needed at the time. Gypsy wagons are another big design influence with their time-tested, superbly utilitarian, minimalist interiors.

Is single-story living right for everyone? Probably not, but I do wish that people had more opportunities to actually try single story and loft-style before making a building decision.


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  1. Dion Bonnell
    November 15, 2019

    Hi Brian, what is the model of the bed? I just bought a 8×12 shell for my son to live in and my first project was going to be build a bed frame and drawers, exactly what you have here. Hope to see your home soon. Dion

    1. Liz
      November 18, 2019

      Hi Dion! The bed is IKEA’s Tarva, and the drawers are from the Malm bed. We looked at some of the beds that came with drawers, but those were not as well made. The Malm drawers are available separately, and fit under a lot of the different IKEA beds. We’d love to have you stop by some time, shoot Brian a text! – Liz


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