Woodwork for a Breakfast in Bed

2016-07-25 17-56-05 -0700Sleep. I need. You need.  A bed is not necessarily necessary for sleep, as I can tell you, not having one for the last year.  Make no mistake in the thinking and knowing, a bed is very nice item to have; especially with the hustle and bustle of life and the overstimulating media mind.  My bright idea?  Build. My. Own. Bed. for Breakfast in Bed.

My alley is a magical place.  My neighbors always just so happen to leave items there as if they have read my mind. Cowhide rugs, large mirrors.  A few years ago, I think I want to have a platform made of pallets to get my, then, mattress off the floor. Never happened. Mattress stays on the floor.  Then. Bed bugs, we think. There were many bites on my skin. Insane itching.  Don’t know where they (whatever was biting me) came from and doesn’t matter.  Renters insurance could not help me.  July 4th, 2015 mattress and foundation out the door. I drug them out myself.  My neighbors, as I mention above, leave amazing items in the alley and I feel as if the leaving of a bug infested mattress and boxsprings is a complete unfair exchange. Garbage is collected there too, so ok.  My beautiful soft leather couch becomes my new bed.  I do miss having breakfast in bed though.  Not the same on the couch.  On on July 14th pallets from where, who knows, appear in front of my garage.  In the alley.  I love when the universe conspires to help me.  Breakfast in bed and good sleep are now in my future.

New bed. My beautiful couch. Purchased from a private seller. He has a showroom downtown in Los Angeles full of beautiful cool items..
New bed. My beautiful couch. Purchased from a private seller. He has a showroom downtown in Los Angeles full of beautiful cool items..

One by one I carry dirty pallets into my garage. Six to be exact.  These pallets, despite the condition being not quite pristine, and for sure heavy, are worth it.  For me anyway.  Summer heat doesn’t help with the carrying.  Like I said, some pallets are in better shape than the others. There are several, what looks like eight, other pallets at the end of my alley in the other direction.  To my left.  I don’t have it in me to carry those.  Six it is. Now.  I need to research. I am not exactly sure how to build a bed.  I think about MatterMaker.com.  They are a design firm known for ‘upcycling’ and creating beautiful pieces of furniture. Also and expert.  I watch a few videos on Instructables.com.  Pinterest. A few Google searches. A week goes by. Time to start.  I carry them, the pallets.  One by one up two flights of stairs. They need to be cleaned.  After brushing off, a scrub in my tub is in order. Drop cloth and towels on my floor in the bedroom for the drying.  This is a project. Luckily, I like to make things. And while I prefer the canaopy bed, the thought of using old weather wood pallets to upcycle and repurpose to make a platform bed seems fun and as far as I can already tell, challenging.  Having worked at a supermarket, I also know pallets are strong. Bonus.  An already structure helps anyway.  Some pallets are uneven and need to have additional wood to offer equal support and create an even wood platform surface.  Many nails need to be removed and pounded flush.  Construction workers are throwing out pieces of wood that used to be a container housing plants and trees.  Again, in my alley. They say I can take as many as I would like.  I take thirty-two.  Filthy, and not going near my bathtub, let alone inside my apartment, I think. Coin operated car wash.  Pressure washer. In the meantime in my garage they will stay. Closing my garage door, and then re-open. I bend my own rules.  A few need to be washed and dry to test condition and functionality.  A wash in my bath tub.  With me, upstairs these filthy wood panels come.  While they dry, I apply Thompson’s Water Seal to large pallets.  The underside.  All are drying.  Now I wait.  This gives me time to look for a mattress. Decide on a functional design and gather supplies.  And …Oh my!

After several weeks, my bed complete. Takes longer than I think to come together.  I didn’t work consecutive hours on this bed building as I had other things in my time.  Besides I have waited this long for a bed, what is a few more weeks.  At the last point, I am underneath the connected pallets.  An attempt to screw in one last ‘L’ bracket and test sturdiness.  I am nervous it won’t be good enough.  No need for it, the last ‘L’ bracket.  A realization of this as I am under the propped up four pallet structure.  Platform is sturdy. It all came together..

pallets in the alley
loaded into the garage
Redwood and my attempt to convince construction workers that it will be a good idea to create an even platform for mattress and add a bit of personal design.
more redwoods appear and extra 2x4s which I may or may not need


here we go, up the back stairs. One by one..
Up the stairs..
this one is pretty bad..
One down. This one is pretty bad..
then there are two..
then there are two..
And three
And three
Dirty Wood.. scrub brushes needed..
Dirty Wood.. scrub brushes needed..


testing camera and sturdiness of pallets
Maybe I will video..???
Do they fit?
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cleaning with Murphy’s oil soap
maybe I need bleach?
some supplies
reminder: Instructables.com
this one fits in the tub… good news
Line ’em up.. Me cleaning. photo shooting. Nikon on a tripod..
water break
bleach and water spray
bleach and water spray
wet wood.. cleaning in progress..
Redwoods. I bend my own rules and bring a few up. If they won’t work to even surface area, I need plywood cut to fit..pictured here, wet wood.. cleaning in progress..
meanwhile seal is drying and seeping..
meanwhile seal is drying and seeping..
Octagon soap is great for cleaning (I will try this next) and lubricating screw
soaps ordered from eBay.Ttextures are different. One works better than the other.. the other works when heated a bit..
deciding I want a platform top construction repurpose wood
deciding I want a platform top construction repurpose wood
first round washing and scrubbing.. trip to the car wash..
first round washing and scrubbing.. trip to the car wash is needed. .these are dirty..
connecting the spaces with additional wood from alley
connecting the spaces with additional wood from alley
they are a god idea..
they are a good idea..

supplies gathered..wait I need another ‘L’  bracket?

piles of supplies
Drill bits from my drill kit. These I already have along with two drills..

Some things in between building:

mattress size chart

The mattress.  Living Spaces, Cape Town Queen Mattress. The mattress. Awesome. 7″ high. Yes. This mattress will look great on my bed.  I found; Friday 8.12.16.Contact Living Spaces to find out about delivery and location.  Survey call.  3:44pm.  Texting and at the same time, in an attempt to multitask, taking a customer service survey for Living Spaces, I couldn’t remember the numbers of the survey (order of great to worst) so after pressing 4 then I call back to find if previous call was traceable so I could make sure she, the lady that talked out and problem solved with me gets at the perfect review.. They assured me 4 was still good and thank me for calling back.  I was talked out of putting the mattress on my car roof.  A Christmas tree works.  A mattress, not a good idea…

Thank goodness for customer service.

My mattress

Crate and Barrel Bunky Board conversation 8.11.16.  I have no idea what a bunky board is.. Some that know of this project in progress, insist I need it.  I don’t think so.  I inquire anyway.

If I need, I decide to get a sheet and cover the plywood from Home Depot.  The sheet is for protecting regular bedding..(this is the DIY bunky board. Brown sheet needed?).. then change my mind.  I only want to use found wood.

The mattress.  Saturday: 6:09 am August 16th. Queen mattress purchase from Living Spaces. com. plus delivery and a recycling fee of 11$ which at first my price is different as the internet can not decide if I need to pay or not. It is decided so.

While these pallets and boards are drying all the above happens.    I also photo shoot some food.  Go to a job.  Instagram and work on other blog posts.  I am not sure if I am building a life raft or a bed at this point.  I proceed.  The pallets are quite rickety and nails sticking out everywhere as I mention above.  I keep finding more.   Hammer one, another appears. Hum.  A splinter in my finger. Another, in my hand.  Hand sanding papering will not do. I need an electrical hand sander. A hand sander.  My best friend and her husband do some construction and other DIY projects on a regular basis.  I consult them.  My father. A carpenter.  I even consider MatterMaker.com again. Decided against that one. Only because of schedule and wanting to really figure out mostly on my own. Lowe’s Hardware is closer than Home Depot.  I go there.  Jim helps me out.  I ask about plywood and hand sanders.  I leave with a sander and a face mask.  We conclude that  my instincts are good and I don’t not need a “bunky board”  or any additional plywood to create a platform.  I need to clean more redwoods.  I don’t even know why I call these planter boards redwoods.  Maybe it is considered red wood?

first of many splinters
Here. back at the Lowe's Hardware
Here. Back at the Lowe’s Hardware
May be I need a hard hat?
Maybe I need a hard hat?
Need to stay more focused..this hard hat too big for sure..may be I will try another and a better selfie..
Need to stay more focused..this hard hat too big for sure..maybe I will try another and a better selfie..
This one is a little too big! Fun color though!
This one is a little too big too! Fun color though! My top knot helps..
Leave the Lowe’s with a Black & Decker sander and several masks
Me. Ready to sand. Nothing in my eyes or nostrils..
sanding top of pallets before moving on to the redwoods..
pile of supplies

Construction across the alley. Old boards that I mention above that once used to house trees are being discarded. Frank and his construction co-workers say I can have as many as I want. They laugh little at first. As I place the boards to demonstrate how to create and even platform, One gents says, “watch and learn”. Now I laugh. They are construction workers. I head to the car wash. Synchronized green lights all the way to Santa Monica. That’s where the coin operated car wash that I choose happens to be..

example for construction workers..
example for construction workers..

I set up a tripod and my Nikon. This sleepy carwash is perfect.  A few photos for focus and more wood washing currently in progress. It is 6:45a.m. Suddenly this sleepy morning time at the car wash has a line. Had the clicks echoed so loudly signally it time to wash cars?  A line of gentleman waiting in their cars for the next available lane. 2$ is 4 minutes. 6 minutes 45 seconds in and the two  cars in line behind me move to go to the open lane bays. I should have had the gentleman in line directly behind me take my picture washing these boards.  I don’t. Pressure washer at the car wash a great idea. Boards dry in my walk way behind my apartment near my back door entrance. It is a beautiful morning.  Should not take too long.


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my set up before the line at the car wash..




sunbathing wood
piecing together..
more piecing together..

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more polishing.. I am seeing double and camera is out of focus
polish under the clean wood..
seal under the clean wood..

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More sanding..



first sanded redwood
first sanded redwood
sticky fabric, cheese cloth, that aids in removing any unwanted dust and particles..
wipe with a tack cloth
wipe with a tack cloth to remove wood dust

The Build:

nails dont work
nails don’t work
testing screw lube again


My Drill.
My Drill.
drill bit stuck..
drill bit stuck..
Now I am ready..
Now I am ready..
the first screw
the first screw
building is on..
building is on..
another seal polish
another seal polish?

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this soap as lube?
this soap as lube or that soap?  same brand different texture..ordered on eBay


the brackets coming
an attempt to bend to shape ‘L’ bracket..
piece by piece bracket by bracket becoming more sturdy ..
underneath outter
Brackets holding together two pallets standing up..
Brackets holding together two pallets standing up..
Underneath he middle of first two assembled..
Underneath he middle of first two assembled..
more brackets..
more brackets..
another ‘L’ bracket


bed propped up on a chair from a dining set. I gave it (the chair) the
bed propped up on a chair from a dining set. I gave it (the chair) the “Shabby Chic” treatment
sturdy and in one piece
sturdy and in one piece
me under the bed frame, well my feet anyway
me under the bed frame, well my feet anyway
cleaning this up.. waiting for mattress..
Brushes from Home Depot..Wood from the alley..cleaning this up.. waiting for mattress..
me. now waiting on the mattress after cleaning up my mess..ding dong..
me now waiting on the mattress after cleaning up my mess..ding dong..
LIVING SPACES Mattress is here! Thank you Junior and Ruben for the delivery! You guys are AWESOME!
LIVING SPACES Mattress is here! My Queen mattress. Thank you Junior and Ruben for the delivery! You guys are AWESOME!
don't use these.. may reconsider for now, no
didn’t use these.. may reconsider to make the mattress higher but for now, no.
iphone photo


I redesigned this lamp a bit,.. no shade needed
I did it!
I did it! Platform extends out to hold lamps alarm clock and water vessels..


A side view.. may need to polish more.. Olive oil and lemon make an excellent wood furniture polish..
which direction for the sleeping..? who cares, I will say, she looks even better in real life
a lamp, that I redesigned.. no shade needed..
a lamp, that I redesigned.. no shade needed..which side of the bed?
Asymmetrical style
I like it here.
My rustic bed platform,..

What takes the longest is the cleaning.  A couple of weeks longer than I think.  The delivery of goods, the need for ‘L’ brackets and a sander also contribute to the timing.  I even consider tossing these pallets and buying new ones or bagging the project all together.  I want to finish.  I want a bed.  I want to blog about it.  I want to upcycle, yeah, yeah.  I want work with what I have. So, I do.  Mostly.

The bed, now complete. I stand in my door way, I cry. (I rarely cry) I have a bed platform that I built.  I LOVE it.  Linen duvet and sheet as well as other organic vintage cotton bedding on the way.  I’ll save the show and tell of those along with the recipes for the “Perfect Breakfast in Bed” post.  And while, I do not think a furniture designer or architect will ring me up and insist that I come work for them; know, that is and was not the goal.  I will add, I certainly have a new appreciation of how things are made.  And while to some, this wood structure may look more like a life raft, say from a movie set, something that belongs on a patio in an ocean front Malibu home on the PCH, or even garbage, I could not be more proud of myself.  Up until now, I have not ever been more grateful for a my very own, clean, bug free bed.  Here’s to a many good night sleeps.  And many breakfasts in bed.

Until Next Time..



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