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Desk-Bed Combo

 
pollinator
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I'm building a 20' shipping container house and thought a murphy desk-twin bed combo would help save space, but they are $$$. So what about building a twin bed high enough so that my legs can fit under it when sitting and the "desk" can be lowered from up high? What are some simple, inexpensive mechanisms for raising and lowering the desk which will be the length and width of the twin bed?
Is there some "lifter" that can be purchased  and I will attach the desk - a twin bed sized piece of wood - to it?
 
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Would a raised bed with the desk under it work for your setup?
 
denise ra
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Brian Holmes, Western Oklahoma is very hot for about 3 1/2 months of the year and I think near the ceiling of the container will be appreciably hotter, otherwise I would do that.
 
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My understanding from those with Murphy beds is that they are a pain in the butt.  

Do you have room to scoot the chair back a couple of feet from the side of the bed?  If so you could have a rolling desk that lives under your higher-than-average bed that you pull out.  However, in your shoes I would probably build a loft, with the mattress on top and the office beneath.  As done in most dorm rooms across the world.  :)  You can even integrate storage into the stairs like this one.
 
Brian Holmes
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Makes sense that a raised bed would be hotter. Is there room in your plans to make a secondary roof to reflect the sun (shade the container) so this will be lessened?

Not to say you COULDN'T make a bed that goes up and down, but a stationary bed (imo) would be easier, more stable, and I'd imagine more robust.
 
denise ra
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Brian,
I was not thinking the bed would go up and down, only the desk part. A second roof is not currently in my budget but as you mentioned is a good idea.
 
denise ra
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Rob, it will be too warm up at the ceiling level for the bed. I will have about a 6X 6 ft area for the whole desk bed chair.
 
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Two thoughts, from the world of boats:

1) something like https://www.hoister.com/productcategory.aspx?taxid=648.  Some of these are overkill, but they are well designed systems for lifting a load straight up ... so you could have a bed frame/box that just lifts UP and reveals a desk under, and then it comes back down to sit on the desk (so it doesn't swing everywhere).  Bonus if you install lighting under the bed box!

2) Hinges.  You can just pivot the bed up 90 dgrees.  A twin mattress is something like 39"w, which is deeper than most desks.  If 8-10" is lost when pivoted up, that's still a 29"w desk which is probably acceptable.  And then you can put cork board under the bed frame and tack things there! or add lights.
 
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I think the original idea of lowering the desktop onto a high bed surface is a great one. Like the Hoister, you could just build a pulley system to pull the desk surface up (there are some good pulley systems for . Then again, if you're going to pull it up to the ceiling, it will be a clean flat surface, and you could conceivably fit that flat surface against the wall (less funky, but also fewer pulleys). Instructables has a page for a pulley and paracord desk that looks pretty cool.

Edited to add- i think it depends on what you are going to be using the desk for. If you're writing letters and balancing your checkbook, you could get away with a much smaller space than if you're piecing quilts or drafting (Murphy beds tend to have a very small desk space that sticks out that's perfect for a writing desk). If you have to use multiple screens and a computer that might be worth adapting an eating space, if you have a table area.
 
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I have seen something like that on a tiny house show, I just can't remember how it was done.

What about building a box with a lid that opened up and your mattress is inside so it would be a desk during the day and a bed at night?

Something like the first picture:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498421883738953665/

The second picture show flipping the box to make the desk though I feel a lid would be easier.
 
Brian Holmes
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Anne Miller wrote:I have seen something like that on a tiny house show, I just can't remember how it was done.

What about building a box with a lid that opened up and your mattress is inside so it would be a desk during the day and a bed at night?

Something like the first picture:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498421883738953665/

The second picture show flipping the box to make the desk though I feel a lid would be easier.



Interesting. I like the flipping bed idea, but I have a much more permanent (desktop computer) setup and that would be tough. Does the OP have a laptop? Going to write letters? If not much space is needed, could you put a board on a hinge and then support it when it's folded down from the wall? Would also double as a small table space. So many options!
 
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There's a couple local to me that built a shipping container house. They made a kitchen table with bench cubby that was the footprint of a double bed. The bed was hoisted up to the ceiling during the day, and lowered at night using some sort of handle turning system. The bed rested on the bench backs so it would not have been at all wobbly, but it was a little above average in height. (Normal table height is 30 inches, then you need something for the frame, then the width of the mattress.) I might be able to find the video if you're interested in pursuing that idea.

The advantage of a system like that is that the bed can be made in the morning and is right ready for the evening with just the turn of a handle. My concern about having the desk on top of the bed is that the thickness of the bed would interfere with your knees.

My experience with pull-out beds or Murphy beds is that you have to allow for its "bed footprint" which means either an open space with less use during the day, or a lot of stuff has to shift for night time. If your desk is part of this, *everything* on your desk has to have another place to live at bedtime and it *all* has to move, so having desk stuff in boxes or trays with a shelf to move them to is a must.  That said, if you've got the skills, my friend just built a gorgeous Murphy bed using hardware purchased from Lee Valley Tools. I don't know if that route would make it sufficiently affordable.

How tall is your shipping container?
 
denise ra
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I ought to have uploaded this picture first.
Screenshot_20201006-160819.png
you never have to unload the desk it just swings down below the bed and stays level
you never have to unload the desk it just swings down below the bed and stays level
 
denise ra
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The Hoister and pulley table Instructable look to be in my budget. Alex Chegne(sp?) did a video like Jay is talking about and it has a removable stick that you attach to a long screw which is clamped to the ceiling. As you twist the stick the bed rises.
I will not be unloading the desk at night because I like to keep my mess spread out and my laptop sitting there. The shipping container is 8 ft and the insulation will be on the outside so I won't lose any height because of that. I only have a laptop so the desk will go up to within about a foot of the ceiling leaving me six and a half or seven feet to not bump my head on it.
The kitchen walkway will be behind me so when I need to be in the kitchen I will just push my chair in under the bed.
It's possible the height of the bed might might be difficult for some but I prefer a dedk taller than the normal height. I like my chair taller too. I will need an adjustable office chair to make this work I think.
Great ideas everybody! Thanks for saving me more than $1,000.
 
Eliot Mason
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Might be time to do the standing-desk thing?  I've tried it ... unsuccessfully.  Others swear by them.
 
Tereza Okava
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I think as long as you`re religious about making your bed you`ll be fine- if not, when it gets hot make sure your laptop does not stay on the desk up near the ceiling, boiling away!

Standing desk is good, but it can be really hard to do without any breaks- much better back and forth, so something easily adjustable. I`ve found that a bar-height stool is a bit better (at my office, I have an adjustable chair and a laptop stand that goes all over the place and O bounce between sitting,  standing, and treadmill. At my husband`s office we have a bar stool set up at a standing desk that we alternate between.)
 
Jay Angler
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denise ra wrote:

Alex Chegne(sp?) did a video like Jay is talking about and it has a removable stick that you attach to a long screw which is clamped to the ceiling. As you twist the stick the bed rises.

Good finding Denise - that name sounds like the guy! The point is that his system seemed very controlled, so raising a table with a laptop on it would seem lower risk.

I am concerned about your knees fitting under the bed even with a higher than average desk. Have you considered having the desk wider than the bed by 12 to 15 inches so you can have a higher chair without bumping your knees? You could do it like a reverse of a drop leaf table where the edge can easily fold up vertically and be latched in that position if you want/need a wider kitchen walkway at times? Or you could possibly get fancier and have the desk top slide forward on strong drawer hardware similar to the way keyboard trays slide out for use.

denise ra also wrote:

Great ideas everybody! Thanks for saving me more than $1,000.

Glad we could all be of service! It's great the way this community shares and brain-storms. When you come up with a final design and build, please share pictures.
 
denise ra
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Jay, I will keep your sliding idea in mind once I have the pieces all together in one place. I will be happy to post pictures because that means I will be living in the container at that point!
 
pollinator
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Here is a video showing a diy version of a hoist. It would work for a bed or desk or table for that matter.

 
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BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
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