Custom Murphy Bed for our Bus Conversion: Part 2 – S04E11

Don designed the basic frame of our bed (as seen in Part 1) in a 3D program and created a parts cut list. That worked great for that section of the Murphy Bed as it has no need to attach or fit to the form of the bus itself. For the structure attached to the wall (we are calling this our bedside towers and upper bed cabinets), that we will secure the bed to when it is in its “up” position, we decided to take a “figure it out as you go” approach.  The reason being that the walls and curved ceiling of the bus are never straight lines or symmetrical.  Everything needs to be custom cut to fit.

For the bedside towers, we created small cabinets that can only be opened when the bed is in its “down” position (from the inside) and 2 open shelves where we can store water, cell phones, ipads and things you want to be able to access at any time. These are secured into the bus metal beams and the wood studs we created. We carefully planned out where we would need studs based on our layout  and knowing where we would need to secure furniture.

There is not a lot of storage here, just a few things we would like to keep near the bed however the purpose of the towers is to bolt the bed up in place. We used a gate bolt on each side, making sure the bedside towers sit flush with the base of the bed frame when our T&N Mattress is all the way against the wall. We have slept on a T&N King Size Mattress for 3 years now and we love it. We could only fit a Queen size in the bus as a Murphy Bed but the other great thing about this mattress is that it is not very high, which means more floor space for our Mini-Pilates Studio when the bed is up. In these towers we also included outlets for charging iphone/ipads and a light switch for our bedside mood lighting under the upper bed cabinets.

For the upper bed cabinets, we used a flexible curve template woodworking tool to create the correct measurements for this cabinet to fit into the curve where the ceiling and wall meet. This saves a lot of time from trying to make cardboard templates. It will come in handy again when we build our upper kitchen cabinets too. We secured these cabinets into the towers and into the metal beams of the bus.

Oh and how could I forget, we built our first wall in the bus!  It’s really just a divider.  Building walls to separate rooms is not about creating a support wall. All we did was use ¾ plywood and pocket screw it into the floor, bus wall and ceiling.  Lots of pocket screws and on both sides of the wall.  The more furniture you attach to the wall, in this case the towers and upper cabinets, the more secure your wall becomes. 

We still have a lot of finishing work to do on our bedroom built-ins but the basic structure is there and working well.


Up Next
We just can’t take it anymore, we are moving in!

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Tuft & Needle Original Mattress
We have been sleeping on our T&N King size mattress for 3 years now and we absolutely love it. We needed a queen size for our bus, it was a no-brainer for us to stick with the T&N Original Mattress with adaptive foam. With Don’s herniated disc in his lower back and my (Mela’s) reverse curve in my neck we have found this to be the most comfortable mattress we have ever had and can sleep soundly through the night.  I also move around a lot at night, but with the adaptive foam it Don doesn’t feel it or wake up everytime I roll over anymore!


Rotate Bolt Latch
High quality metal alloy, ensuring quality and longevity. Thick material for a firm installation. Strong enough to hold up our bed frame and mattress securely.


Flexible Curve Template Woodworking Tool
Each segment can be adjusted and locked independently as required.

Maximum bend-ability allows for a wide array of replicable shapes and it works well to create templates for furniture/cabinets that are built into the curve of a bus/skoolie/van. It is 37" long.


By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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