Back in the 80’s This End Up furniture was everywhere. They had stores in 250 malls and every kid had a bunk bed…mine included. The furniture was incredibly durable and could take years of abuse. While the company went bankrupt in 2000 you can still buy furniture directly from the North Carolina based company.
This was the original This End Up Ladder end Loft Bed. The company actually sold 2 types of bunk beds..this one, in which you used the end of the bed as a ladder and a solid end Loft Bed in which you had to purchase a separate ladder. The reason I know this is because our house had both kinds.
My oldest son, Keith, had his bunk beds first. He had the full set with the loft bed set one way and the bed underneath perpendicular to the bed up top. The problem was, by the time our second son was ready for his big bed, he too wanted a set of bunk beds. I had bought a great metal bed at an auction and painted it white. It was cute, it was vintage, it was not bunk beds and it squeaked a bit. He was not impressed.
Actually I’m not that crazy about bunk beds myself, they are super hard to keep beds made and I was pretty sure one of the kids was going to be decapitated if their bed got too close to the ceiling fan. I’m pleased to tell you that years later all sons have their heads. 🙂
All that being said, we still ended up with 2 sets of bunk beds. When the local This End Up store went out of business son #2 finally got his own bunk bed. It started out wood colored like the picture above but it wasn’t long before we painted it white to match his room.
The bunk beds have long ago been separated and are used as two twin beds in our guest room. To me, they still looked quite a bit like the original, This End Up bed which I am so over. Time for a makeover.
I always liked the quality of This End Up furniture. It takes a beating yet still remains as solid as the day it was purchased. Keeping that in mind, I didn’t change the integrity of the bed at all, I just added lots of wood.
First step was to fill in all the spaces with wood. What better wood than what’s outside my door – pallet wood. The pallet wood was so close to being perfect…each piece was about 1/4 inch too wide. So after a bunch of trimming and sanding all of the spaces were filled. Right now the wood is just sitting there, it’s not attached in any way.
The current headboard needed to be beefed up a bit, it currently was only as tall as one propped pillow.
One, 1×6 was cut the width of the bed and I needed one more pallet piece. Since pallet pieces are not quite as wide as a twin bed, this pallet piece was cut to fit on the inside like the filler pieces in the previous step.
The ends were cut from a 1×4 as tall as one pallet piece plus the 1×6.
A filler piece of 1×4 fills in where the pallet wood would have gone if it was longer. If you look at the ends of a This End Up piece of furniture, this is actually how they are constructed. Everything is nailed and glued together.
To see what the heck I’m making, this is the extension perched on top of the existing headboard.
And a close up. In order to fit seamlessly, the corners will have to have some serious sanding and the gap will have to be filled with wood filler.
On the inside and outside of the headboard and footboard, at the top and bottom, attached a 1×2 piece of wood with a nail gun and finishing nails.
The 1×2’s were followed by more pallet wood centered on the headboard and footboard. Again, this is nailed into place. This vertical piece is finally holding the horizontal pieces of pallet wood in place.
The vertical pallet wood piece is repeated on the back of both the footboard and headboard. There is one other difference, the backs get 2 more pieces of 1×2 pine on the sides, this will hold the ends of the pallets in place. All of these vertical pieces also serve to hold the headboard extension in place.
The headboard extension is also held in place by 2 kreg jig screws on each side on the back of the headboard.
1×4 pine was cut 2 inches longer than the width of the bed. The corners were cut off then sanded smooth.
These 1×4’s were nailed onto the tops of the headboard and footboard.
All holes were filled with wood putty, gaps were filled with caulk and rough edges were sanded smooth.
The left side is after one coat of white chalk paint with a little gray thrown in for highlights. The right side has a coat of clear wax with a little dark wax in the crevices.
The final piece was a 1×6, 2 inches longer than the 1×4 on top of the headboard. This piece also got the rounded corners, sanded, then finished off with 2 coats of a dark walnut stain/poly finish.
This is as close as I could get to a before and after. The before picture only has one mattress so the headboard looks a bit taller than it actually is. Is it time for you to make over your This End Up furniture?
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