Our apartment was built in the twenties, and we’re constantly reminded of this fact when we uncover quirky little details, big and small: a phone niche, a crazy looking (and terrifying) old fuse box, antique glass knobs and a hidden opening in our living room wall where a murphy bed once lived. I boarded up the space as soon as we moved in. I’ve always considered murphy beds to be outdated, but I’ve been coming around to them in recent years, and this studio renovation has clinched the deal: When done right, murphy beds are awesome!
The owners of this home wanted to use this tiny room for both a guest space and an office, and they hired Sarah Zames of General Assembly to tackle the problem. Sarah designed this ingenious multipurpose unit that houses everything you could possibly want in a workspace and a guest room, all neatly stowed inside this sleek, modern wall unit. I love everything about it — from the composition of drawers and shelves to the hardware and the smart color palette. It’s an amazing use of a small space, and thanks to this project, I’ll never scoff at the idea of hideaway beds again. Lesson learned. — Kate
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See more of this guest room renovation after the jump . . .
Basic Steps: Because the room is so narrow, it was important that the built-in unit became part of the space and not just a piece of furniture in it. We also needed to keep the costs down and make sure that the unit felt like something that could be lived in and used. In other words, we weren’t interested in using expensive wood veneers or drawer pulls that couldn’t withstand a little bit of paint spilled onto it on occasion. The finish of the piece ended up being a shop-sprayed lacquer primarily finished in white to match the surrounding walls and accented with pops of bright blues and reds to set off the three dimensional aspects of the design.
Take some time to think things through and really figure out what will work for your needs and space. In this case, we went through the client’s art closet and measured individual items to be stored, making sure that every paintbrush and oversized sketchpad had a place to go. Most designers are excited to have a challenge and will be happy to work out a design to make you feel like your finished product is something unique to your home.
Take advantage of your designer or fabricator’s skills by giving them some time to come up with ideas and suggestions. Also, if possible, invest in quality hardware. The last thing you want to do is invest time and money in a beautifully finished piece, only to see the door get jammed a month later! In this case, we insisted on using Hafele Hardware for the Murphy Bed System, which cost a little bit more up front but will result in a bed that functions properly and holds up over time. — Sarah
Sources: Everything for this project was custom designed by General Assembly and fabricated by a local millworker (Tribeca Woodworks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn). The only piece of furniture in the photographs is an Eames Eiffel Side Chair (purchased from DWR).