Happy July 4th everyone! This extra day off came in handy as we started working on the retreat. Today, we will get into the detailed plans,  reanalyze our decisions, as well as discuss problems we have to solve to get the look we want.

The big picture

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I’ve shown you this image before. This is the inspiration photo that sets the tone for the entire renovation. The layout works for the room, and the contrast between the floor-to-ceiling closets and the low-height desk is adorable. The color of the walls, floor, and windows already match what we have in this space, which makes it a breeze to imagine the outcome of the renovation.


Due to the size of our room we will not have the chairs in the middle of the room like in the inspiration photo, only the closets and the desk. Above is a photo of the room I took today. As you can see, we have already cleared out the room and marked where the furniture would be.


The desk will end just outside of the floor register, leaving 4′ of space at the southeast corner. I’d like to create a built-in seat there, similar to the image below:

The design of the window seat without the chaise. use grey curtain to make the curtains and bolster pillows

Our built-in seat will end at the wall without a chaise. We need to leave the south wall empty for the sake of the future bathroom renovation. At the mean time, I would like to try a yoga wall as shown below.

The room is mostly empty when the Murphy bed is not in use. The desk only comes off the wall for 2′, which is nothing compared to the 10.5′ depth of the room. But having a mostly empty room is precisely what I want, both for guests to relax and for e to focus.

The closet wall

After deciding on the layout, it is time to look closely to each major elements in the room. The first being the closet wall. I prefer the look of built-in and have applied this concept to the library wall in Slav’s office. It is always the first thing people comment on when we have visitors.


Below is my inspiration photo. Compared to the look of two closets, The key is difference is that the built-in look utilizes the same material to cover the entire wall, as opposed to just installing closet doors within a boundary of dry wall. It does not only unite the Murphy bed closet with the clothes closet, but also make the space less like a bedroom.

Color of the closet. Lower drawers in the middle shelf unit. One of them can be a faux drawer with table top to serve as a nightstand extension, which can be lined up with the nightstand cove inside.

Above is the main inspiration photo for the closet wall. Below are photos I am drawn to:

Floating closet

Keep Murphy bed and adjacent closet floating? Can finish the floor and appear lighter.

I initially considered floating closet design. It is more common in eastern cultures and creates a calm feeling effortlessly. However, the Murphy bed construction prevents us from raising the bed that high from the floor. After more research, I discovered another look I like:

Color of the build in, and the idea of building a display shelf in the middle with light color wood. It can become the side of the bed and also can open to the side at one level to serve as a nightstand.

Instead of having void at the bottom, the “shelves in between closet” design incorporates shelving units vertically in the closet wall. It offer a different way to break up the closet wall and make it visually lighter and more interesting.

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I adore these shelves. They adds depth, shadows, and a place for accent colors. Having small voids really makes the closet wall more interesting.

As of inside the closet, I would like to try the look of lower drawers. I found this image online without the finished product. I like the look of the drawers with variable heights, and appreciate the utility of them as storage.

The light wood color inside. can be build all with wood

Due to the limited width of the closet I plan to leave the middle divider out, only keep the two sets of drawers at the bottom of the closet.

The Murphy bed closet will be kept very minimal. Similar to this:

DIY light

The desk and window seating

The design of the desk will largely follow the main inspiration photo, in which the desk is in a L-shape and sitting at the corner of the room between two windows.

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We plan to use motorized legs on the desk, so it will have no drawers or storage units underneath. However, I do want to add side to the desk to conceal the motorized legs, similar to this:

Desk has a side or the seating has a side?

Similar to the image above, a low bench seat will be installed next the desk, in our case, to the right. Contrasting the desk, the bench seat will have drawer storage underneath, similar to this design:

Having sofa-like inserts on either end of the bed, making it more like a deep seating than a bed

A small “C” table similar to the one below is desirable for the seating area, which can also be used as a nightstand when the Murphy bed is down.

Window seating with light grey cushions

From the three pictures above you can see the color combination I have in mind. The desk and window seat will be kept in light color wood color, and the seat cushion will be in grey. Both wood and grey colors will be used on the closet wall, similar to the photo below. It provides enough variation for such a large piece of furniture without being too busy. I want the color in the room to create a calming feeling without being too light, and feeling minimalist without being too sterile.

Color of the closet. Lower drawers in the middle shelf unit. One of them can be a faux drawer with table top to serve as a nightstand extension, which can be lined up with the nightstand cove inside.

The Demo

I am sure we will be modifying our plans as we go, but you get the idea. In preparation for the Murphy bed installation we need to do a little bit demo, mostly on the closet wall.


I started by emptying the closets:


Took off the curtains:


Then removed the trims and shelves:


To get the built-in look the drywall around the closet opening also needed to go:


The Murphy bed kits calls for a wider and taller opening than the current framing, so I took the drywall facing the closet as well:


Then marked with tape where the framing needs to be for the Murphy Bed:


At this point, the man came in with his sawzall and took down the framing within the blue tape mark. He was not interested in all the drywall demo but you can always count him to show up when cuts need to be made. 🙂


I also removed the bedroom door and some of the door trims during this process. It makes demo easier and we will be refinish this doorway nicely as part of this renovation.


Unlike other demo mainly done by Slav I took my time taking everything down. It is fun to pause to assess, think, and redesign between each step.


Revealing the framing behind the wall really helped in planning the details in this bed construction. As you can see, we have a bit floor patching to do before the bed installation.



And we got to peek into the exterior framing! The right side of the Murphy bed closet is our exterior wall and taking the drywall down there confirmed our guess that our brick house was not insulated. We will be filling this portion of the wall with insulation before closing it back up.


With the demo done we are almost ready for the Murphy bed construction. Here is a rough list of what’s in store for the retreat. I know that every line is a lot of – a week or two of – work now we are both working full time. But I am looking forward to the finishing product. Wish us luck guys!

1. Patch missing floor boards;
2. Repair and finish drywall edges against the closet wall;
3. Murphy bed construction and installation;
4. Wire the electrical outlet to face the bed;
5. Construct guest closet, and shelving unit in between;
6. Construct and install closet doors;
7. Trim out the closet wall;
8. Caulk and paint the closet wall wherever necessary;
9. Construct a standing desk with motorized legs and a wood top;
10. Construct a window seating next to the desk;
11. Adding necessary storage behind Murphy Bed area for bedding and pillows;
12. Repair and finish the original bedroom doorway;
13. Get seat cushion, pillows, blackout curtains for the room, decor and finish.om doorway.