I’ve done three projects over the past six months or so: I made a patio cover and built a sectional for it, I did an easy-to-revert conversion of our garage into a home theater, and I built a loft for Ben.

The loft project started when Ben said he wanted to rearrange his space a little. We looked at it, and talked about his options, but I kept coming back to the notion that he was just sort of maxed out: A full bed, a desk for his computer, a giant beanbag for his gaming area … there just wasn’t much space, and rearranging it felt like it wouldn’t net much.

I proposed a loft, and after a little debate we decided to add it to my backlog.

Thinking back to my own lofts in college, and remembering when Ben had a rickety IKEA one when he was much younger, one thing I knew I wanted to get rid of was the need for a ladder or a climb up the end from floor-level. After some poking around, I found this design on ana-white.com:

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It had a few benefits:

  • stairs instead of ladders, with a deck at a decent level to make it easy to get in and out of the bed
  • simple design using 2x4 and 2x6, with no tricky cuts or techniques.
  • easily modified design: I could see how to increase its depth to accommodate a full bed, increase its width to go wall-to-wall in Ben’s room, and increase the height of the down-below area to make it easier for 6’2” Ben to get in and out.

Ben signed off and we took about three days to complete the basic loft, from clearing out his room to give me space to build all the way to screwing the stairs down to complete it.

Besides modifying the basic dimensions, I reused Ben’s IKEA slats system, rather than putting the mattress down on 2x4s for a little better feel.

Because I ended up going wall-to-wall, I was able to add more stability to offset the increased height and width by bolting ledgers to two of the walls and anchoring to them. I experimented with knee braces before settling on that, and they helped a lot, but just anchoring on ledgers makes it rock solid.

He was able to use it on the first night:

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On the second, I had the deck in place, but couldn’t quite get to the stairs.

On the third night, I had the stairs in place, and we decided to partially enclose the bottom area with a piece of plywood:

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The plywood didn’t sit that well with me visually, even less so when I built a sliding barn door for the bottom, so I got some cedar fencing and cut it to size to provide a facade that matches the door:

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The wall and door make it feel pretty cozy down below. He put an extra rug down, and it works with the mattress ceiling to dampen the sound in there, creating this sense that you’re in a very different space from the outer room.