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DIY Library Card Catalog Murphy Bed

I think I may have a new favorite DIY project.  It was not super cheap, it was not quick and when I described it at the beginning of the project, people looked at me like I had three heads.

But now we love it.

DIY card catalog murphy bed
Really really love it.  (Photos taken in a basement with no natural light do not do it justice, trust me, I tried).

Why a Murphy bed?  Well, we have a four bedroom house and we are not moving.  When we have another child sometime in the future, we will need that last bedroom.  And getting rid of the craft room was not an option that I liked.  The guest room was the least used, but with out of town grandparents, it was still a necessity.

There is a bathroom in the basement, along with a TV and some empty space (and exercise equipment and a fridge and tons of toys if you are so inclined).  Bingo.  New Guest Room on an as needed basis.

The bed was going to be Queen Size, so the cabinet was going to be a predominant feature in the space.  We thought about making the facing look like an armoire, but I wanted something more interesting.  Enter the faux library card catalog.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

So how did we do it?  We bought hardware that came with plans online (here).  And Derek and my father-in-law built the basic bed according to those plans.  They used predominantly plywood for the actual construction of the cabinet.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Then came the drawers.  After a whole lot of math by the boys, we settled on 102 of them.  One of the challenges was the foot of the bed had to be in a certain place and a certain size.  Since it would hold the bed while people were sleeping in it, it was important.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

The drawers were cut out of 3/4 inch MDF because of cost.  Then all the edges were routed.  Bless my father-in-law with that stack of drawers.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

The drawers were nailed on in rows with a paint stick used as a spacer horizontally and flat molding nailed on vertically. 

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed
DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

We talked about adding molding on the top or on the sides, but after extensive research on library card catalogs (I’m looking at you Google Images), we decided to leave it plain to make it more “authentic”.

And then I finished it using a modified glazing technique.  Which will be a story for a another post.  Sneak peek: It took forever, may have involved some tears and cussing but I think the results were worth it.  I learned a lot. Stay tuned.

After it was finished, it was time to install the hardware.  Which was another challenge with this project.  When you need 102 pieces of hardware, they can’t be $7 a pop.  Especially since they are completely decorative and non-functional.

After much searching, I found my pulls here (but if you are buying them in bulk, check out their store on eBay).  At about a dollar each they were the winners.  When they arrived they were shiny in fake brass kind of way, so I aged them.  I tried a variety of methods with different results, (bringing me back to my junior high science fair days) with a clear winner.  Again another post. Now they look old and worn.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Derek constructed a jig to make sure they went on straight.  And then he had the super fun task of screwing on

We brought down the mattress from the guest room, and the new guest suite was born.
Just pop open the leg and the mechanism releases.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Add some pillows and a quilt and we are ready for guests.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

And the majority of time when it is closed and being played around, it is just nice to look at.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

And we can tell Carter about the good ole days when that was the way you looked up books. 
And he will look at us like we have three heads.

Cost breakdown-
Murphy Bed Hardware and plans- approximately $300
Lumber-About $300 (rough estimate as we were also buying supplies for other DIY projects at the same time)
Hardware- $155
Glazing Supplies- $15 (I already had the glaze itself from previous projects)
Mattress- $0 (used the one from the guest room)
Total: $770

Not bad for a incredibly functional yet nice-to-look-at piece of furniture.

We loved this project (especially now that it is done) and it is DIYable.  My father-in-law used to work as a contractor/carpenter so his skills were a huge help to Derek with the construction while he was in town. But if you are good with DIY and furniture building, we think you would be able to handle it, as the plans come along with the hardware. Also as I mentioned before, this was not a fast project.  The actual construction took Derek and my father-in-law a weekend.  But the finishing and the hardware application kept us busy for awhile.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

But worth it.  What do you think?

Spring Break!


In the middle of some Midwest snow, we jetted off to southern California for our spring break.  The thought of taking an almost two year old  on an airplane for 4 hours gave us hives, but the call of sunshine and grandparents was too much to overcome. 

In the end, the plane ride turned into 6 hours because of the airline computers completely crashing.  And he was a champ.  Whew. 

Things Carter loved about our vacation-

1) We discovered Carter’s love of picking fruit courtesy of my in-laws citrus trees.  He may have a future as a farmer.  Who picks things one at at time and then throws it at the recipient.Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

2) Disneyland.  Specifically rides at Disneyland that had continuously moving lines.  Such as It’s a Small World.    Spring Break 13

The teacups were also amazing…but the pain and suffering of waiting in a line that stopped and did not move for an eternity, at least in toddler minutes, was almost not worth it. 

OK the video of the joy on his face while we spun would make anything worth it.  But at that moment, there may have been threatening of us leaving.Spring Break 13

And honestly he would have been happy riding the train

Spring Break 13

3) The beach.  Spring Break 13

Oh the sand.  And the shells. 

Spring Break 13

And the wine. 

Spring Break 13

4)Travel Town.  Lots of trains-no further explanation needed. He takes his train riding very seriously.

Spring Break 13Spring Break 13

5) Swimming in his grandparents’ pool.  Oh the joy.

Spring Break 13

6) Meeting Big Nonna.  And spending time with family. 

Spring Break 13

That one is going on the mantel.

7)Goofing off and just playing.

Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

Things Carter did not like about vacation:


Spring Break 13Sigh.  His expression in this picture is deceptively pleasant.  The whining and throwing of every toy (and phone) we gave him for entertainment was not captured.  And we thought we were raising him right to respect IKEA time.

My favorite part about vacation?  The sun.  And toddler naptimes by the pool without any guilt about what I should be doing. 

I was accidentally unplugged all week by way of forgetting my phone on the bathroom counter at home and remembering it halfway to the airport. After a mini freak out, I decided it would be nice to be free of it all week. And it was.  Even though I missed posting pictures on Instagram of the fun in the sun.

We all had a great time in the sun and with family.  All of anxiety about time changes and lack of naps was for nothing as he rolled with it. Carter did get very sick right after we got home. While it was snowing and my sunburn was fading under sweaters. 

Natural consequences of licking carousel horses at Disneyland.