Pipe Dreams: Bed & Bedroom Progress

Whereas the bedroom at Memorial was warm, spacious and inviting (or I like to think it was), the bedroom in the rental is a little bit… less.


I gave it a coat of moonlight white, shoved my bed in there, and called it good enough to sleep in. It needs all kinds of things… a rug, new linens, a better nightstand, a dresser, an upgraded desk-turned-vanity, and mostly, a new bed. Made out of gas pipe, obviously.


I’ve been wanting to start on this project for months, but there have been two things holding me back. First, until the Hillside Cottage plans were finalized I didn’t want to build anything that might not fit. For example, the kneewalls in the previous plan were 4″ high, but in the new version they are 6″ high, allowing for a higher headboard.

The second thing that’s been nagging at me is whether or not to build the bed to accommodate the box spring, or just have the mattress.

Aesthetically I think I like it with the mattress only, but by building it that way I’m basically forcing myself to find room to store a queen sized box spring, for no good reason. So… as soon as one of you can convince me it will look just fine with a mattress and box spring, I’ll get started building the thing. (Or convince me that a bonfire is a good use of six year old box spring. Either one.)

I have been making some small changes to the room here and there though.

I finally bit the bullet and bought a rug. (This one from West Elm) and also traded in my old linens for some new white sheets and a dark gray alpaca wool blanket. Basically I just wanted to snuggle up to something that reminded me of a llama. That bedskirt will go, eventually, once the Pipe Dream bed is built.

I also replaced the old dining-room chair with a little machinist stool from Industry West, which I love. The only problem is that I love the way it looks when the top is higher, which means instead of just painting that little desk Martha Stewart Schoolhouse Slate (that’s the paint can sitting on top of it, by the way) not I’m probably going to have to build myself a new vanity.

What would really help in this room is curtains around those windows, but once I looked at the Hillside cottage plan I realized that there are only two “curtainable” windows in the whole place (one in the bedroom, one in the living room) and I happened to recently buy two sets of linen sheers from Pottery Barn that are currently on the windows in the rental living room. So, I decided against buying new curtains that may only get used for the next five months.

You may notice in the picture above that I solved a little draft issue with one of the windows by shoving a pair of my socks in the crack… so that’s kind of like window decoration, right?

20 Responses

  1. I recently sold a much older box spring (alone, without mattress) on Craigslist for $20. Just an idea!

  2. I’m excited to watch this one. I’m about done making a sofa table from gas pipe and some stained pine boards. It was a practice-run to see if I liked the style enough to make a partner desk on the same principles.

    I foresee a difficult spot for you, though. When I was threading together my gas pipe, I found I couldn’t thread together a full circuit.. hard to explain… imagine 4 12″ pipes and four 90deg elbows. When you go to put that last joint together, there will not be much room. And once you wiggle it into position, threading it results in unthreading the other side.. make sense? For me, this was not a big deal.. it only has to hold a few pounds (coffee cups, the remote, some magazines.) A well thought out plan of assembly might help? Please let us know how you end up doing it.. I don’t want my future desk collapsing on me. 🙂

    1. You should use a union to make those connections, they also make disassembly for moving things around easier.

      Here is a picture of one:
      Galvanized Union

      The bed she had pictured uses a few of them, one being on top, center of the headboard. After seeing this post I am very tempted to make this bed as well. I love the idea!

      1. Yes, Chris, this is just what I was looking for. I definitely need a someone painless way to disassemble. If you try it out, I definitely need to see pictures!

  3. If you get rid of the box spring, won’t you have to make many more cross ‘slats’ to support the mattress from sagging? Or were you planning on getting a bunky board, or something. I say just start the support pieces closer to the ground to accommodate the height of the box spring. It’s great that this design is so flexible.

  4. If you are going to do it, consider using KEe Klamps instead of regular pipe fittings. They are slip on fittings secured by a set screw used in industrial safety railings etc.

    As mentioned with regular threaded fittings you will probably need to stick some unions in some spans to get stuff to actually go together and tighten.

    Also with the Kee Klamps you won’t need threaded pipe and won’t see the threads either.

    Here is a link for an online vendor:


    Here is a link to the manufacturer:


    1. These things are pretty neat, but they are also pretty spendy. Looks like they have sizes that fit standard pipe OD, though, so perhaps using them where they are needed to avoid situations like I outlined above would be viable. Hmm.. but then you’d be putting a threaded end of a gas pipe into this fitting.. I guess that would fit ok, though.

      If it were me, I would spray paint the whole thing once finished, so the color variation wouldn’t matter.

  5. I’m not sure that the example picture doesn’t have a boxspring. if it doesn’t, that is an awfully thick mattress!

  6. I can’t believe my luck. I just pinned a picture of a bed frame just like the one in your post. I put it under Furniture my Husband could make and now I have a blueprint for him and he now has no excuse. I can’t wait to show him. Thank you for sharing. I love following your blog and all the exciting things that you do. Happy New Year…

    1. Hopefully I’ll start on this in the next couple of weeks and you’ll have step-by-step directions. If you guys build one you must send me pics of how it turns out!

  7. If your boxspring is anything like my recently moved son’s (whose bed I dismantled the day after he moved…now waiting for bulky pick up), it’ll be some great pallet wood that you can use! I like the height & added support the boxspring gives. Go with what you like!

    1. Perfect! I think I’ve seen these on pinterest before. Gas pipe may be my new favorite building medium…

  8. I think the most important factor, aesthetically and practically, is the height of the mattress. As long as you can lower the frame itself to accommodate the box spring, and allow for someone to flop onto their bed easily at the end of the day, I think you could make it work with the right blankets, sheets and pillowcases. Regardless, stellar work here.

  9. looks great
    how did you connect the pipe to the wood frame?
    did you have to use a union joint at every cross beam (pipe)?
    do you have any final photos or drawings?

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