I decided to experiment with a front bed, since there’s lots of room up front. This is also what I intend to do with the Safari, if I like it. As some of you may know already, I don’t like pull-out beds. I figure I can make a back for a couch that can be quickly taken apart into two pieces and stored under the bed, which will allow me to have a high quality mattress with no joints in it.
As with all the other work in the front end, I tried to do as much with aluminum as I could. The frame is very light, and once it’s screwed to the floor and the plywood platform, it’s very stable (wiggles a lot until then). The platform is cut to fit the curve of the front wall.
The 11-3/4″ frame height (leaving 11″ clear for storage items) provides a hieght to top of seat cushion of 20-1/4″ (8″ foam). The 11″ storage height isn’t great–most standard plastic bins are about 6″ high, so you can’t stack two and you get a lot of wasted space, but I wanted to optimize the sitting height for comfort. Using 6″ firm foam would have resolved this problem.
When the bed is in couch mode, there will be 20″ of space from the back to the front wall. This area will store the bedding and pillows and will be covered with two panels that will store in the armrests, when in bed mode. I used the old cushions to get a feel for how the final couch will work.
I still have a lot of work to do on the armrests. Right now the plan is for the armrests to be 7″ above the uncompressed seat cushion (which makes the total armrest panel 27″ wide). Once I get the real foam installed, I’ll check that out for comfort–it may be a little high. But I want to maintain the panel height at least 24″ in order to provide storage space for dinning table tops, as well as the back storage covers.
Here’s the finish of the couch conversion–first photo is the bed when it’s in the couch mode. The lower compartments pull out on wheels. The leftmost compartment is just an open storage area that can accept all the couch parts when it’s converted back to a bed.
The following three photos show how the back of the couch works. The vertical part of the back is in two pieces that slip apart. Each of them has a hinged support that extends towards the front window–you can just see the two supports in the middle photo where the middle cover piece has been removed (you can see the interleave pattern that allows all three covers to rest on the two support arms). The area behind the couch backrest can store pillows and blankets, all nicely concealed. Plus, you get a sofa table-like area behind the couch. Yes, the piece in the foreground fits in the open space–it’s the wide angle lens that makes it look too big.
This photo shows all the wood pieces disassembled and folded, ready to slide into the storage area at the left side of the bed.