bedroom suite – design

My next build will be one of the pieces of a bedroom suit for my eldest daughter.  I’ve build several pieces of furniture over the years but not a “matching” suit.  Unless you count the Entertainment Center and Bookcase in the living room.  I’m hoping to employ some more advanced woodworking skill in the build.  I suppose I could just throw something together – but what fun would that be.  Stay tuned for the build notes.

the client

My oldest daughter is finishing up her masters degree and living at home while she does – but eventually she will be moving out.  We bought her a bedroom set many, many years ago – a twin trundle bed, night stand, upright dresser and a desk.  It was painted and has held up pretty good I guess.  But my wife and I would like to give her something as kind of a going away gift for when she sets up her own home.  We’d also like it to be something that she keeps for a very, very long time – possibly passing it down to her children – so it is going to be something nice.

In this disposable world do people pass down furniture anymore.  Craftsmen used to build things to do just that – but not anymore I guess.

Since this section is about my “client” I’ll tell you a little about her.  She is a beautiful 20-something with an infectious smile.  She has always loved children and inspires to be a teacher with an emphases on special-needs children.  She and I went on a mission trip to Haiti a few years back and she fell in love with the little village (and people) of Neply – since then she has been back four or five times – two of which have been summer-long internships.   You can follow along on her Haiti trip blogs [HERE].

the software tools

I use AutoCAD (with several add on packages – totaling about $10,000 in software alone) at work but for my home projects I use SketchUp – the free version.  It has its limitations unless you buy the Pro version (I think it’s like $700 now – still cheaper than AutoCAD), but for what I use it for, the free version seems to fill the bill.

the design

So when you think of a bedroom suite what immediately comes to your mind?  Is it the headboard, or possibly the dresser, or maybe the nightstands, or – something else?  By far the dresser will be a more involved piece when it comes to design and construction.  The headboard is important, but often it is covered with pillows and throw pillows – so any detail in it is hidden by “fluff”.  When I think of, or look at BR (bedroom) suits for inspiration – I typically will look to the dressers for the “style” of the suite.  That may not be true for everyone, but for me at least, it is this piece that sets the tone for the design – because of the detail involved in design and construction.  That being said, the hierarchy of design for this build will be: dresser, night stands, and finally headboard – as that is how I see design being transferred from piece to piece.

The suite will include a queen bed – headboard and footboard, probably two night stands, a upright dresser, and maybe a writing desk of sorts (don’t know about that yet).  I’ll draw inspiration from many sources and I’ll try to give mention of them as I go, but most of what I build is stuff that I design myself – so you’ll likely see the SketchUp drawings as well.

the finish

I originally wanted to paint the furniture – maybe using some sort of milk paint with a glaze over it, but my wife convinced me that if we really  wanted it to be something she’d hang on to for a while we should use nicer  wood and stain it – I’m thinking American walnut (can you hear my wallet cry our in pain?)


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