Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 14 Jan 2012 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you …. that’s you lot… the readers! First problem this year comes from Katie.

I was hoping to get your help with this odd feature of my new studio apartment – a raised, enclosed platform with sliding french doors that houses (literally) just a full-size bed and a small night table. I’m attaching pictures of the studio’s layout and what this “box” (as we call it) looks like. How can I make this thing less of a giant eyesore? I was thinking about refinishing the hardware on the doors, hanging curtains somehow – either around the doors or as a canopy (thoughts?) – and installing some sort of better lighting. It’s bigger than a sleeping nook, but smaller than a bedroom. Help! [previous owner’s photos – the box is now a lighter dove gray/purple; doors are still white]

Salmon says:

I agree with those who say you need to lower the bed. There should just be a matress in there, it's already elevated on the platform. Replace the doors with light, breezy curtains to soften the look. You can even string some soft white lights or hang a lovely lantern in there, make it romantic. I actually think it could be an amazing space! I would love to sleep tucked away in a breezy romantic nook!

Salmon says:

Also, turn the bed the other way. The head of the bed should be against the wall abutting the kitchen. It will give you more space.

Lisa says:

I would definitely lower the bed. It would make much more sense visually and spatially. I suggest you get a foam mattress, which is easier for maneuvering and for making the bed in a cramped space, as it bends, and either have it on the floor or a on a very low platform. The thick mattress and box-spring are too overpowering. (Not sure if they are yours or the previous tenant's.) Hang a round paper lamp over the bed. Then decide if you want to cover the panes with something translucent or not. It might not need it. Maybe you could get some tatami mats or grass mats/rugs for the floor. I think it could be really nice.

Lin says:

Many people have suggested you demolish the box, but aside from the fact that this is likely a rental and that demolition was never mentioned as an option in your post, taking it down may be a lot easier said than done. My guess is that it was NOT constructed by a former tenant (most people living in a modest apartment don't go to the expense of having built-in drawers and shelving installed, let alone framing in doors ), but by the building's owners. It doesn't look like the walls are structural but there may be plumbing lines, wiring, or heating ducts running under the floorboards, and the box might have been built in order to accommodate any or all of the above. If the floor was laid after the box was built you would have to replace a large area of floor, and possibly build a subfloor as well. If the box was built after the floor was done, there may have been sections of flooring that were removed to accommodate the walls and those would have to filled in. You would also need to patch and paint the walls and ceiling where the headers are attached plus you would have the expense of hauling away the debris.

Also, for all those who suggested turning the bed so that the headboard is on the kitchen wall, please take a closer look at the floor plan. The wall is not flat: it's recessed because of the stove.

Brigida says:

Take a look at this apartment, with a bedroom in a box: I think the first thing you shoul do is to use a lower bed. I also think you shoul replace the sliding doors by, in one side (maybe the living room side) a clean gass wall (something like this: ), and in the other side by a sliding glass door, as in this picture
you can then use some roller blinds or curtains to hide the bedroom.

SueE says:

What an interesting feature! A decorating challenge for sure but so much better than those boring rectangle apartments that are so ubiquitous these days.

If it were me, I would move the bed out and into the main part of the apartment as others have suggested. I would then turn that little room into a yoga studio! If that's not your thing it would make a kick ass walk in closet!! Yeah, who am I kidding, I would make it a walk in closet… A console table with a large mirror above it in the inset against the kitchen wall and the rest open shelving and hanging racks. Mmmmm….

It would also make a great home office, TV room, art studio, you name it. I also love, love, love Selina's idea of a custom mattress that would fill the entire space. The key to studio apartments is to have something that is seriously luxurious. It contrasts with the humbleness of such a small space and, in my opinion, it is contrasts like that that make living spaces interesting.

AndreaT says:

What's below the raised platform? Can this space be used to house a "sliding" bed you can take out for the night, leaving the surface completely free?
In this case the best choice would be eliminate the doors and use the platform for a reading/relax area, or home-office, or whatever you want! Taking doors away will make the room looks larger, too…

Chrystina says:

In addition to the comments of lowering the bed, I think that it would be interesting to close off the North entrance to the bedroom and then turning that into a built in shelving unit to add some color/texture to that wall.

LeslieM says:

Check out this lovely sleeping alcove for inspiration: Best of luck.

emy says:

Its a shame you can't flip the long end of the bed along the wall freeing up that space to give you a place to have an area to have a dining space storage for hanging clothes and what not. There are murphy bed cabinets that flip in that direction, and they don't have to look like an old entertainment center in the rec room either.

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