Continuing the discussion from What Made You Happy Today?:

I had made something very similar to this model (not nearly as big) for my dorm room when at university. A bookcase on either side of the desk and wide enough to put the single bed on top. It really freed up a lot of space in that tiny room.

I’m looking for ideas of how to utilize the extra space in the back. That could be a whole closet, and space to hide your bike. You could make wine or beer back there. It’s 4’ wide and 8’ across, so it could make a good distraction-free study space, or even a whole child’s bedroom or play area. Sex dungeon? Why not. A huge dog crate wouldn’t be out of the question if the doors were modified to let some light in. It’s a lot of space. There are a ton of ideas.

Hit me.

This is a long way from being realized. I need probably $10k to get started for shop space, special equipment, R&D models, materials, home show fees, stripper pole, you know: the bare minimum essentials. Then I have to figure out shipping. The one shown takes 10 sheets of ½" plywood plus the steel stairs. That’s a lot. Do I offer setup as a service with personal delivery? Am I too old to do that? Is the client going to trust a fat old dude in a kilt to add a room to their condo?

Still, I think that available/usable space is the biggest problem people find with their condos, so spending a tiny fraction of the purchase cost to add that much storage would certainly be worth it.

At around $2k each, I’d need to sell at least 6 just to break even on startup costs. Then another 4 units/month to keep my income where it is. One unit a week is certainly doable by one guy. I’m sure I could actually make more than that, full-tilt. Demand is the critical factor. It’d be a hard year doing that at night while I work during the day just to make sure it all works.

In Canada only. Sorry South African condo dudes.

I have ideas for add-ons, of course. Those would come later.

  • clamp-on electrical extension box for the top level or the sides
  • electrical extension box for the inside (any plugs against the wall would be impossible to get to
  • custom HVAC ducting for any vent against the wall, to the top level or the sides
  • LED lighting for the front shelves (power, wiring, switches)
  • LED lighting for the storage area (power, wiring, switches)
  • shelving for the storage area (hangs from the inner rafters)
  • kegerator in the storage area and a beer tap that bolts onto a shelf
  • the headboard (shown on the Facebook page pic) for the bed would not be standard
  • the doors would not be standard because someone might not want them
  • toolkits
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I hate to be negative about this, but IKEA have something very similar, and I’ve seen similar things on various furniture store websites.

So - here’s your “added” challenge: how can you make it better than what other people are offering?

No, please. Be negative. I haven’t put anything but design time and a tiny bit of money for the domain into this project yet. I want to hear all the reasons it won’t work.

I’ve spoken with some condo owners and they all say that there is just not enough room in them. They started out thinking they could minimize everything, but eventually they need more storage space. They can rent that space from the condo corporation in the basement somewhere, but at a huge cost. That’s the basis for this idea. That doesn’t sell why THIS idea is better than someone else’s. I’m planning to use solid Baltic birch (also known as Russian) plywood. Not sexy at all, but the finishes will be amazing. I have some great ideas about that.

The amount of vertical shelving is a huge bonus. The addition of hidden storage that can be used in a number of easily configured ways is a plus. It’ll be quite heavy and immobile, so that could be a negative, but also a positive. It’ll take a bit more to put together than your standard IKEA setup, so that could be a negative.

It’s substantial. It will feel like a part of the condo, not a piece of furniture.

I plan to use a new type of panel connector that is strong and much easier to use, which makes the entire thing collapsible and semi-portable if you need to move. However, strong and sturdy when put together.

It’s custom. People love custom. Especially people who just spent $400,000 on a 700 ft² apartment in a trendy neighbourhood, wear plaid all the time and don’t know which end of an axe to hold.

Well, let’s look at this from a different angle.

I’ve lived in a studio apartment (1 room + bathroom - kitchen / lounge / bedroom is one open space) that was about 3.5m by 7m. The biggest “waste” of space was the bed - If I could have elevated it, I would have gained an additional Xm^2 of floor space.

So, this is what I would like to see in an offering like yours:

  • modular (so I can swap non-structural pieces out as my needs change).
  • sturdy, and well constructed so that it doesn’t wobble around
  • quality fastenings that don’t need tightening every 6 months
  • easy to assemble / disassemble
  • it would not have to be tall under the bed section - say 1.7 or 1.8m

Some possible modules:

  • clothes wardrobe - either open front, or doors of some sort
  • book shelves of varying widths / heights
  • TV bench / wall mount (obviously the size of the TV will be limited by the size of the unit, so probably no 60" monsters…)
  • desk with enough depth (minimum 600mm)
  • blank panels for hanging pictures / posters
  • lights (wall mounted and “ceiling” mounted under the bed)

Does this help?

I like where @Viking is going. I could totally see hanging space being desired. Do these micro-condos* have clothes closets?
The TV mount and desk ideas got me thinking… What about a big, fold-down desktop with room inside for a midsize TV or big monitor to be mounted? At least 27" screen, maybe as large as 40" or 46"? 50" might be pushing it.

Edit: I just looked at the FB page and saw that you’ve already started exploring the TV mount idea.

*I’ve seen condos here the size of my house, seriously. There are also studio apartments here, too, but I don’t think of them as condos.

Here are a couple of illustrative images from my Sketchup design of the refined basic model.

With the metal mechanical Clamex biscuit connector for panels, Those edge to edge connections will be plenty sturdy. Each shelving unit is designed to be independent and non-racking. They will probably need to be connected together with Chicago bolts or something, if not more of the Clamex connectors. The bottom shelf and probably one in the middle would be permanently placed, with the others floating. As you can see, they are quite deep (14"), so could be used as some kind of minimal, forward-facing hangar space. In fact, that could be easily done inside the overhang on the very top shelf. Doors could be optional. Shoes and boots would easily fit. As the shelves are almost 4’ across, I’ve added a steel strap on the bottom for strength.

The television shown is a 42" model which easily fits inside the 48" width.

If you look at the second pic, you’ll see that each of the steel rafter beams has 5 holes drilled in them. These could be used to hang shelving or lighting or just about anything. I’m not sure what yet, but this gives the possibility for future improvements. The rafters and bottom strap at the door opening would also add strength and torsional rigidity.

I’m also noodling with the idea of making rollout “secret” shelving from the toe-kick area.

The current design is 72"/6’/1.83m high with the doorway at 64"/5’4"/1.63m.

There doesn’t need to be a bed on top, but I’ve shown a queen-size mattress for scale. No need for a boxspring, the entire unit acts as a posture box. The top could be used for even more storage, but I’ve sized it for the bed.

I’m going for the fire-escape ladder look for topside access. Flat bar sides with possibly rebar or textured steel treads.

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One negative is that this size unit would require a minimum ceiling height of around 9’ if the upper bed is used. I have some experience with this from the model I made at university. If I hadn’t had to put the entire bed frame on top of the shelves, it would have been fine. As built, I barely had room to roll over without rubbing my shoulder on the popcorn ceiling. Ouch.

Alternately, if you’re just looking for clothing storage, the entire back could be used as closet space. Duh.

Looking at your drawings, I think that having the TV / shelf area converted into a desk with lots of shelves and leave the other half as a walk-in wardrobe (again, with shelves on the “front”) would be perfect. For me, anyway.

Are you able to relocate the wardrobe doors to the front? Just thinking that some applications may not have enough space to put doors on the end.

And, to keep the safety-Nazis happy, you will need some sort of railing to stop people falling out of it. (How did I ever survive as a kid, sleeping in the top bunk, and no safety rail!)

Using the ‘kick boards’ as the front of roll-out drawers is a great idea. Put those spring-loaded “press to open” catches on it and you’d be laughing.

The doors shown on the walk-in are going to be optional. It wouldn’t be difficult to make panel doors for the front in different height options.

Screw down safety rails are going to be optional.

A full 8’ panel from the floor up on one side (headboard, an additional 2’ high) is going to be optional.

It’s all about the options. The same as buying a car. You look at the base model and like the price. Then, you decide to add a few things on …


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The bastards… They stole your idea.

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Well, technically I was borrowing heavily from their idea because I thought they had gone under and saw an opportunity.

Now, I have someone emailing me who wants to purchase the domain.

It could be a scam, but maybe not. I’m looking into the possibility of retrieving a cancelled domain to see what the process is before I go ahead.

Now I have to figure out how much to charge for such valuable virtual real estate.