Bed Builder: Karin Alvarado

Two Girls, Two Beds, One Weekend

Karin Alvarado has a special place in my Bed Builder Hall of Fame. She's a mom of twin 12-year-old girls, Isabel and Audrey, who saw my IKEA Hack Platform Bed and loved the design. What did Karin do? She built two beds in one weekend to solve some storage challenges and give her girls' rooms new style.


Many builds have their challenges: carpeting, baseboards, heating vents, etc. The bedrooms in Karin's house are small (hence the reason they needed a storage solution) and had low windows on each wall where the bed would go. To solve this, Karin decided to build her bed rails around the window rather than cut the window casing. It's a really good approach so the beds can be easily removed without hassle if they decide to move.

Interview Questions

What country and city are you from?
West Fork, Arkansas (outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas, commonly referred to as Northwest Arkansas)

How did you find the bed video?
I think I found it through Pinterest

What are your daughters' names and ages?
Room 1-Isabel, Room-2 Audrey, both are 12.

Were you planning a new bed or room makeover before you saw the video?
We have a very small house and we wanted to redo their room with a bed that gave them space beneath. I wavered between IKEAs day bed that pulls out to a double but still has drawers below. I also attempted to make a large bed with lumber having long drawers underneath. (I lost the tip of my finger on that one.) When I came across your video, the girls and I fell in love! It seemed much more reasonable using pre-existing cabinets. It also gave us more space in the room by raising the bed and giving access underneath. We can't go too high because our ceilings are only 7 feet.

Any other siblings? If so, what was their reaction to the bed?
No other children, this is it. However being twins, there is very much an “I want the same thing but still want it different” attitude.

What size mattress did you use?
This is a full size mattress from IKEA.

Which method did you use to reinforce the step cabinets?
I didn't reinforce them. I may in the future.

Where is the IKEA store where you bought the cabinets? Tell me about your experience buying the cabinets.
I purchased these at the Kansas City (Merriam) location, about 3.5 hours away from us. I had gone into the IKEA website and created a saved list of all the items I needed, so the salesperson was able to import my list easily and I paid for it in the kitchen area so it would already be pulled and ready for pick up when we cashed out with our other purchases.

How long did it take you to build?
We started building Sunday morning around 9a. We started with the desk then put together the cabinets. The girls put everything together and I just helped when necessary and screwed items together with a drill when necessary. It was their first time to build so I taught them how to read instructions etc. It was a great experience and now they can say they build the items in their rooms! We started on the cabinets around 2p and it took about 2 hours. They were easy after putting together the desk. Monday morning we went to purchase the lumber (and other fun stuff) for the beds. We started building around 7p and finished in 4 hours. We finished all but the doors to the cabinets, the paneling, and putting carpet on the stairs in Room 2. I finished up those tasks on Tuesday evening and it took about an hour. I still haven't put knobs on the cabinet doors. I'm going to let the girls live with the beds for a while and see if they want to add them.

Tell me about your experience building the bed.
I described some of this above. It was a great experience. Putting on the cabinet doors was my biggest surprise. I've only worked with hinges that have to be screwed in so to have the IKEA doors that literally allow you to pop in the hinges and pop them on to the cabinet was amazing! I found a great looking kitchen at IKEA and am planning to install it next summer. I can't wait!

What, if anything, did you change from my design?
I used LUROY bed slats instead of 1×4 pine.

What would you do differently next time?
I would do the 1×4 pine boards for the bed slats. I may eventually change it out. For my girls the LUROY slats are fine, however I would feel more comfortable getting on the bed if I was certain the slats weren't going to move beneath me. Unless you screw down each slat, they will move.


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