Wednesday, January 17, 2007

a little he built it himself

ok, my first attempt at "a little he built it himself" needs some work. i requested drawings of the platform sofa with cantelevered side table for james and ron. i failed to include the "that other people can understand" clause in that request. i am optimistic that by saturday i will have more explicit instructions, so i do hope you will stay tuned james and ron (and everyone else)! in the mean time, you may be able to decipher some of this with a magnifying glass. the original plan in my head did not have the solid platform to the floor. i wanted it on recessed legs so it would look like the whole thing was floating. then the thought of my 2 children and 3 dogs and the dirt and hair involved with keeping them made me reconsider and enclose the bottom. we built this sofa deep (twin bed deep) which would trap untold volumes of dust bunnies and hair tumbleweeds. the interior frames for the sofa are made of 2x4s and the whole thing is faced in walnut boards that make a frame for the sheets of walnut plywood that make up the seating surface and table surface. there is no frame under the cantilevered side table but because our sofa weighed 5,000lbs it did not tip over. i am sorry i could not deliver the plans today! please come back this weekend! in the meantime you can work on a source for the walnut (or whatever wood). also, if you wanted it to be less expensive you could use poplar instead of walnut and mdf (wear your mask!) instead of plywood and paint or lacquer the whole thing. this mdf version would weigh about 10,000lbs.


ALL THE BEST said...

I am so IMPRESSED!! Bravo! What a fantastic room, and I love the dogs in the photo! Looks as if it were a photo shoot!

Ron said...

Thanks for the info. What did you use for the seat cushion?

Amy said...

the cushions are made from foam, the fluffy polyfill that comes on a roll, and down comforters, and cotton muslin. the foam, muslin and polyfill are from jo-ann fabrics and if you sign up for their mailing list they will send you a 40% off one item coupon every month. they count one fabric cutting as one item and they sell the foam by the foot so i got 40% off the whole lot even though the pieces are precut the length of a twin bed. worth signing up for the mailing list and waiting for your coupon. i used my neighbor's coupon to buy two bolts of cotton muslin, which because they are the same fabric counted as one cut, again 40% off the whole thing. i wanted my cushions wider than the foam so i purchased enough to cut one longways (serrated kniife works, electric knife-like you would carve a turkey with-works better) and glue together with spray glue from hte craft section (super88 i think). then comforter folded to width on top and bottom, wrap generously an fill out flat spots on front with polyfill sheets, then wrap that in muslin, pull tight and sew your way around with upholstry thead. OH before i put the muslin on i used an enormous needle to put a few stitches all the way through, top to bottom, to help keep the comforter and fill in place. once i had the muslin covered cushions i just measured and made covers. i am not a seamstress so i just went by the seat of my pants. it's mostly straight lines and i read in a book how to do a zipper.

Amy said...

my dogs are in all the photos because the follow me everywhere! if i switch chairs in the same room they have to re-arrange - nice to be loved!

Anonymous said...

Terry again...
Hey Amy:
I'm so pleased you're going to post plans for the bed-sofa you guys made. I've got two stepsons coming to stay in my living room (I live in NYC -- enough said) this summer and am eager to build something like this.

I've been thinking of setting down some kitchen cabinets on the floor (storage and support), topping them with two doors, and putting mattresses on top of it all.

I'm eager to look at your plans and also would like a great deal more information about whether you found the foam to be comfortable enough to sleep on (the kids will do so every night for three months).

I'm also incredibly impressed by the way you got the proportions for the back pillows just right and would appreciate your input.

What a beautiful execution of a fantastic project.


PS: I hope the Hybrid guys are open to speaking with you.

Amy said...

hi terry, i have not heard from the hybrid guys but i will post it if i do. the foam with the down and polyfill is comfortable enough. it's firm, but particularly for kids i think it is perfectly fine. the cabinet/door thing sounds interesting. would you just screw the doors to the cabinets to keep it from tipping?

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy:

My thought about the cabinets and doors is as follows: the cabinets can be recessed from the front of the piece so that it seems more "floaty," just as your masterpiece does.

The doors would indeed be screwed to the top of the cabinets and perhaps I'll have to use some "L" brackets or such. I'll stain or paint the doors and cabinets exactly the same color.

The cabinet doors will not have pulls; they'll open in some other fashion. (I hope to find them in the street here.) The cabinets will provide storage for linens and stuff for my teenage stepsons.

On top, I had thought of regular (rather firm) mattresses, but I'm now seriously considering your method, although I shall have to ask you for the exact sort of materials to use.

To cover the mattresses, I thought of washable futon covers (single-bed size), as I don't sew. Else, I was thinking of checking out Sunbrella fabric (apparently it's very, very resistant to stains, though I don't know how it feels to the touch) and having the covers sewn professionally.

I see that you don't sew either and yet you did a terrific upholstery job -- I wonder whether I can possibly do as well.

I thought of doing the backrest pillows as you did -- big, downfilled cushions.

My apartment is typically NYC-sized small, so the piece will serve as the kids' bed. When they're not here with us, it will, as your piece does, be a living room sofa.

If I can get a hold of a square or rectangular Palladium table from Hydra (

If I do, the sofa-bed piece would probably serve well for dining as well.

I'm wondering whether I can construct a Palladium table more-or-less myself. I need a barber's chair base, some sort of metal column, and the glass, plus I need to figure out a way to attach the glass to the column. I know it's done all the time, I just don't know how to do it.

I'm still working on the idea as I need to move our many books into my bedroom so as to free up the living room for the kids. I'm also trying to figure out how to lay the furniture out a priori and to plan the lighting, much of which does have to be done a priori.

Finally, I need to get a contractor to install doors at the entrace to the living room so that the kids have their privacy. I'd like folding French doors with multiple panes, but I don't know how good these will be at blocking sound.

I will continue to keep you updated and, if I may, ask you for the precise type of materials you used for the cushions.

Any news from Hybrid yet? These guys are greenie architects -- one would think they'd be generous with their ideas and knowledge. I sure hope that's the case.

Well, this is the end of "War and Peace."

Best, Terry

Amy said...

it might be easier and possibly cheaper to get 2 twin mattresses. especially if you can find a deal on the tempur-pedic style mattress (memory foam). west elm has pre made covers for twin mattresses.

Anonymous said...

West Elm does? Fabulous! Thanks!


PS: Any news on the wood?

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy: Found the mattress covers. They're perfect! Thank you so much.

As to the Tempurpedics: I actually went to try them out for sitting on and I think even the firmest models are not very comfortable. Great for sleeping, though.

I'm going to go to the mattress showrooms again and see what I can find.