Modern bunk beds – concept – virtual design – fabrication
I’ll often spend weeks in this step depending on how focused I am on the design. I start by gathering all the requirements, the things the furniture needs to do to meet it’s basic purpose. For this bunk bed, it needed to house two twin mattresses, fit under an 8 foot ceiling (with a ceiling fan — important if you don’t want to make your kids sleep with helmets to keep from getting thwacked by a fan blade at night), have a safe ladder, prevent sleepy kids from falling overboard (again very important if as a parent you like sleep, which surprise surprise, I do), and be structurally sound so it doesn’t fall apart (or creak in my book).
With the basic requirements in place, it already sets a lot of the design parameters, the basic interior dimensions are fixed due to mattress size, the height is limited to a maximum, and you already know you want a reasonably shallow ladder angle and most of the crappy bed rail hardware is out.
Now I sit back and day dream what I want it to look like. This is really the fun part where you get to start to think through the shape, curves, or unique features you want to add. If I have a lot of driving or traveling, I work through a lot of the details quickly. I have a very spatial mind, so I can turn the design around in my head and look for problems or if I like the form long before I put pen to paper or finger to mouse. It’s often helpful to look for inspiration, for me it’s often thumbing through Houzz, LumberJocks, or any other magazines to see what you like about various designs before selecting your own.
Once I’ve got it pretty well formed in my mind, I start sketching. Like all engineers, there’s something soothing about graph paper, it’s kinda like a comfort blanket. I don’t focus on making good sketches, just enough to get some ideas on paper and throw on some dimensions. Once I have most of the basic form and critical dimensions outline, I’ll move onto the virtual design.