Bunk Rooms Climb the Social Ladder


This article is part of our latest article Design a custom reportabout homes and new definitions of family for multiple generations.

Born two centuries ago as an austerity measure, the bunk bed lives in a bit of grandeur. country houses, luxury hotels and yachts, architects and designers, the basic components of columns, balustrades and stairs timber, zingy colors, fun cutouts and gingerbread.

fla. “There is always an element of weirdness,” said Kara Miller, an interior designer based in Jupiter and adorning cross filigree bunk beds based on precedents in Chippendale, China. As clients begin planning new homes—“just out the door,” he said—the bedroom windows, doors, and closets are configured to leave cubical displays for the bunk beds. “You can drive your imagination crazy with them,” he added.

The trend was partially attributed to Covid-19. Because it may be necessary to withdraw from society, some homeowners want to be prepared to open up a cheerful and relaxing space that can accommodate groups of people who do not want to share mattresses. “We want to be able to sleep a million people,” said Liz Caan, an interior designer in Newton, Massachusetts.

Owners report that bunk beds create a sense of camaraderie while freeing up floor space, and openings between rooms allow for communication and climbing. “My grandchildren love to get in and out of these portholes,” said Margaret Condit, whose white bunk beds at the Maryland beach house designed by Purple Cherry Architects have caramel-colored decorations on their portholes. “Everyone says they want to sleep in that room,” she said.

Nostalgia also helps motivate new bunk commissions. Annapolis, Md. David Williams, a marketing and investment manager based in the US, grew up sleeping on bunk beds and went to college. Purple Cherry Architects designed twin bunk beds for one of her rooms. houses, with a U of six stacked beds, each painted inverted white and turned upside down. He described the sets as “definitely something fun and a great space creator.” For her grandchildren and future generations, she added, “I hope those bunk beds become as part of their history as they were for me.”

But the furniture form is not as historic as it seems. Natalie Larson, a bed historian in Williamsburg, Va., said there are records of bunk beds being installed in prison wards, train cars, and military barracks in the early 19th century. Bunk beds have also been used on submarines, military ships, schools, summer camps, concentration camps, and bomb shelters. In combing through archaeological evidence, wills and inventories, among other sources, Ms. Larson said she found virtually no evidence that bunk beds served residential or lodging purposes before the 20th century. Homeowners have long favored lower and more portable beds that can be disassembled in multi-purpose rooms or moved aside and sold in times of need. And the hotel or tavern owners would have guests share beds.

In the early 1900s, filmmakers were crudely portraying bunk beds. In “Three Stooges,” Moe, Larry and Curly try to get some sleep before crushing each other as layers of undersized beds. Observation. In Charlie Chaplin’s short film “Shoulder Arms” flood waters Pour it on the bunk beds on the WWII battlefield.

Until mid-century bunk beds don’t develop any aura of high style. On “Brady Bunch,” brothers Bobby and Peter shared a bunk bed painted in sapphire blue with matching quilted bedspreads. In the 1970s and ’80s TV series “Diff’rent Strokes,” brothers Arnold and Willis Jackson, who lived in a Park Avenue apartment, tucked a table under their L-shaped bunk beds, which are brown pipe supports vaguely modeled from tree trunks.

Jason Reid, “Get Out of My Room! A History of Teen Bedrooms in America,” said he watched “Diff’rent Strokes” when he was new: “I remember coveting the bunk beds in their bedroom as a kid.” Reid’s book quotes Greg Brady, the eldest of three sons, who considers sharing a room with his brothers’ bunk beds “like a prison sentence.”

As the bunk bed grew in popularity, several complicating factors emerged. Changing beds requires strength and agility when maneuvering around tight corners and at the top of stairs. “Trying to figure out how these beds are made is exhausting,” said Mr Williams. Children should be monitored to prevent injury Due to jumps or falls from bunk beds. Aging knees and hips, among other body parts, may not be suitable for spending the night at the top.

A reporter recently decided to see how well his limbs and sense of balance could tolerate the bunk room experience after nearly sixty years of wear and tear. At the Arlo SoHo hotel in Manhattan, she climbed onto walnut-colored bedsteads connected by black stairs and tubular pillars. His joints did not object, and he felt a sense of superiority from the top bunk with a bird’s eye view of old industrial buildings. Cordell Nelson, the hotel’s general manager, remembered giving him a construction tour. “As a kid, I always wanted a bunk bed,” she said.


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