Putting the bed together.
After we hauled the headboard up to the roof and through the window, we got to work on a base for the mattress… Our mattress is one of those tempurpedic memory foam things, and they are supposed to sit on a solid platform, not a traditional box spring.
You can buy a platform to match the mattress, but it’s essentially plywood covered with fabric, so we just made our own. (Aside from being less expensive, our old house’s stairwell was even tighter than this one; assembling the platform in the bedroom was the only way to get it upstairs.) So we already had the components to build/retrofit a frame that would accommodate the bed.
On a side note, if you have an old house/narrow stairwell, the memory foam mattresses are far easier to get upstairs. They are flexible and sort of smushy… Which is going to come in handy here shortly.
Our old bed had a similar wood-skirt that enclosed our homemade mattress base. But the wood-skirt was higher and had slats across the bottom to support the platform we built.
For this bed, the original slats are long gone… which didn’t matter anyway because there was no way I was resting anything on the actual side rails. Theoretically it would be fine, but I’m a lot happier with the weight of our giant-millennium-selves on the floor, rather than piling it on 130-year-old wood.
Normally when you buy a bed, the height is already determined for you. But because we were DIY-ing it, we tested out different heights with temporary bases – paint cans, spackle buckets, etc.
Sidebar – you might like my DIY, repurposed, antique headboard Pinterest board. I started it back when I was thinking we might DIY the whole thing, but it has become a collection of interesting headboard ideas/ beds I covet.
After we decided on a height, Paul cut “legs,” for the platform. You do not notice them unless you are really looking, but it is possible that I will think of a better solution… It would be nice if it were seamless, (even if I am the only one who notices).
In the interim, we just used wood we had in the garage. Nothing says elegance and sophistication like a GFT (giant fancy thing) and some raw lumber.
The mattress is almost the same width as the bed. (Diagram/measurements.) The only place it was a problem was up at the headboard between the fancy-scroll-y pieces. We were about an inch short. Because the mattress is just foam, it pushed in there with no problem.
You can see about 2 inches of platform between the skirt of the bed and the mattress. This part was hidden on our old bed, and I guess theoretically I should cover it with some kind of fabric… But I just don’t care. If/when I begin giving guided tours to the public, possibly I will address it then.
When the bed is made, the scroll-y pieces/blanket hide the platform.
Now. As previously discussed, the mattress itself is longer than the bed.
You remember that, right?
I thought you would.
Because, I for sure remember that. And I am confused how anyone could forget it. Especially, if, let’s say, I was married to that person.
As Paul was doing measurements and cutting stuff, I saw him do a double-take and go back to re-measure the length of the bed. I counseled myself – do not jump to conclusions. Do not get agitated. Do not assume. There is no way he is going to say what you think is going to say.
Then he said exactly what I thought he was going to say – the mattress is longer than the bed!
I tried not to let laser beams shoot out of my eyes.
The laser beams are not because I think everyone should remember everything all the time… I myself have forgotten some fairly basic fundamentals. Like long division.
I just realized the other day that if my life depended on me performing long division with an actual pencil, I would be forced to choose death. And then my tombstone would read – here lies VEB, she could not do math.
What the laser beams are about — is my suspicion that more often than I realize, when words are coming out of my mouth, they are going somewhere other than a place in Paul’s mind where he stores important information.
And that possibly, there is a folder in Paul’s head where he files everything I say to him… and then, nightly, he runs that file through the shredder.
April 16, 2014 @ 10:45 am
Utterly fabulous! And I love, in my Pinterest feed, when I see something that I LOVELOVELOVE, I know without even looking that you pinned it. So there’s really no point in me sending it to you (which is always my second thought) because, um, well . . . you clearly already know about it. 😉
May 2, 2016 @ 3:11 pm
So, did you just put the mattress on even though it is longer than the frame? It looks fine, I wouldn’t have noticed.
April 16, 2014 @ 10:47 am
THE BED!!! Finally we see the bed. I have to agree with you though, I would always see that two by four leg under the bed. Quick, get out your glue gun and some fancy-schmancy material and make an underskirt for that thing!
Love how it looks in that light and airy room! As for the mattress being too long… were people really that short when the bed was made?? Or was this a child’s bed? Put an antique cedar chest at the end and no one will notice the extra length!
Keep all your fabulous posts coming!
February 6, 2023 @ 11:30 pm
I like how you solved your issue with the bed/mattress.
I’m having a somewhat similar issue with my antique full size bed vs my modern mattress. Mine however, is more a width problem. The mattress and box spring are both wider than the bed. I’ve found some hardware that will widen the bed, but that will require widening the slats the original brackets fit into and attaching a block of wood on each corner to the actual antique bed (not keen on doing that, but it’s going to have to happen). Thanks for sharing your fix.
April 16, 2014 @ 10:51 am
I would, without fail, bang my elbow on the fancy scrolls thingies. I’m sure I would remind myself about them and think about how I will not bang my elbow, but I would bang it anyway. And then I would swear quietly, get up to go to the bathroom, come back, fall asleep, wake up in the morning, and bang my elbow again.
It does look lovely though!
April 16, 2014 @ 10:52 am
Now I know what happens to all the important (and unimportant) information I tell my husband, night folder shredding!!! ps, the bed is fantastic, but you already knew that!
April 16, 2014 @ 10:54 am
“What the laser beams are about — is my suspicion that more often than I realize, when words are coming out of my mouth, they are going somewhere other than a place in Paul’s mind where he stores important information.
And that possibly, there is a folder in Paul’s head where he files everything I say to him… and then, nightly, he runs that file through the shredder.”
You’ve nailed it. I read these comments to my husband and he confirmed that is indeed the case. He did say that sometimes he doesn’t get all of what I’ve told him into the shredder, so I guess that’s a blessing. 😀
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
April 16, 2014 @ 11:10 am
“He did say that sometimes he doesn’t get all of what I’ve told him into the shredder, so I guess that’s a blessing.”
*** crying with laughter***
April 16, 2014 @ 10:56 am
Oh, it is divine. Well done! And, yes, all men have a brain shredder that is activated nightly. Sometimes they are completely voice activated at any time that we (me, you, all women) begin a “Hey, I was thinking we should…” kind of sentence.
April 16, 2014 @ 10:59 am
Hey Elizabeth – looks fab and all you need is some black paint to make the platform disappear. Sharing you with all my interesting friends…hehe
April 16, 2014 @ 10:59 am
I would just stain the lumber underneath and it will blend in, especially the legs.
April 16, 2014 @ 11:01 am
ALL husbands have that file, AND that same shredder!!! Hahaha- magnificent!!
April 16, 2014 @ 11:05 am
It looks fabulous Victoria! An easy way ’round the visible legs may be to just buy a ready made valance/dust ruffle (not sure what the US terminology is) and fit it over the base (under the mattress) if there is enough room to pull it through between the new base and the surround. No stapling, no glue involved, just a tiny bit of light lifting (with Paul’s help) 🙂
April 16, 2014 @ 11:06 am
Could you use a power saw to trim the length of the mattress? Or perhaps you guys are tall and that’s not an option? I see memory foam flying everywhere haha. Either way, the bed frame is just beautiful.
April 16, 2014 @ 11:06 am
Love, Love, Love reading your blog! Stain the 2×4 the same color as the bed and no one will give it a second look.
April 16, 2014 @ 11:06 am
Don’t worry Vicky, I’ve got it all figured out. Now all you need now is a vintage ottoman to match your antique bed frame! Let the Craiglist hunt begins!
April 16, 2014 @ 11:14 am
Yes gorgeous and omg the shredder lol but are you comfortable in it, does it give you a good night’s sleep or are you constantly elbowing each other in the ribs.
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
April 16, 2014 @ 11:31 am
Well, it is the same mattress we’ve been sleeping on so I guess we are not elbowing each other anymore than normal… (Although, as previously stated, I was hoping to upgrade to a king-size)
Maybe it looks like we are confined by the scroll-pieces, but they are flush with the mattress.
April 16, 2014 @ 11:25 am
The beautiful BED and what a bed- Why did we give up this loveliness and descend to the stuff we furnished our homes with in my Era? plastic kidney shaped coffee table- ugly brown modern? couch with matching chair and a vinyl chair that looked like a bent circle on spindly metal legs. I thought it was ugly then and I still think so and the Architecture of that time! Everything was a box with windows and a door-the lack of embellishment of any kind thought to be a positive-goodbye to curves -the straight line ruled the day. I am so thrilled that people with better judgment and taste are resurrecting the homes and furniture of that Era of elegance.
Garden, Home and Party
April 16, 2014 @ 11:30 am
Wow, it looks great. I hope you have lots of blankets under that pretty linen and lace coverlet. You guys just keep getting hit with winter weather.
The bed is so beautiful in that room. Show us the rest of the room sometime. You have a dresser or chest of drawers, right? I want to see more! 🙂
April 16, 2014 @ 11:41 am
‘The nightly file shredding’…is just about the funniest thing I have read for a long time. My husband insists he is listening to me, while he is reading the paper… hummphh. I hadn’t thought of the possibility of that internal file… so totally makes sense…thanks for the giggle this morning and love the bed!!!
April 16, 2014 @ 11:42 am
Daring to be contentious, darling, I’m not drinking the kool-aid on this one. In order for the bed to actually serve you, you might want to remove the troublesome scrolly things that get in the way when you try to stretch the fitted sheet over the mattress, and use them to form pieces to lengthen the bed at the sides near the foot part so you have consistent wood and finish. Must we always make museum pieces out of things we’d like to use?
April 16, 2014 @ 11:45 am
Anybody in the Chicagoland area looking for a similar GFT…check out the 3rd photo on this estate sale going on this weekend! Your bed looks great BTW 🙂
April 16, 2014 @ 11:51 am
Brilliant “retrofit” for that gorgeous Victorian-for-Victoria Barnes bed frame! I think of you often here, as we have recently inherited SEVEN enormous pieces of antique furniture. But no such bed frame. However, a friend has one. I wonder if we could talk him out of it?
BTW, in the time when your frame was newly built, people thought it was better for your health to sleep sitting up, or propped up on LOTS of pillows, so beds were shorter when first created.
I know this from having lived in 1849, when I worked as a Living History interpreter for the National Park Service, @ Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, in southern Indiana….