Unto This Last - or - how to make our bed and lie in it

Finally, after much deliberation, argument, measuring and mattress testing, we are sleeping sound.

Star of this post is our brand new, custom-cut bed frame from Unto This Last, a small London workshop that makes computer-cut, flat pack furniture.

No time to read? Watch our movie:

More time? Read on.

One bed frame and two mattresses - but why? Why not, I ask?

We wanted to do something that's common 'on the Continent', but seems pretty unusual here:

- have one king size bed frame
- with two separate mattresses

Most bed shops we asked about this looked at me like I was mad to suggest such a thing. As if having two separate mattresses is like admitting there's an unsurmountable rift in your marriage/relationship. As if the gap between you is the first step along the slippery slope to having separate bedrooms.

From my perspective, mahoosive blobs of heavy cotton and polyester are impossible to turn by yourself, let alone get linen on. And when one of you turns in the night, the other falls out of bed from the reverberations or at least wakes up. Also, single mattresses are easier to manoeuvre up narrow stairwells and through doorways.

Well, anyways... I talked the OH into the benefits of having separate mattresses.

One bed frame, two single mattresses

Size does matter(ess)

Now, the added complication was that we wanted to have two standard single mattresses, so 190cm x 90cm (that's 3ft by 6ft 3inches). BUT: all UK standard king size beds are 200cm long. We wanted to maximise space in our bedroom, and every little helps, so shaving off the 10cm at the end of the bed was the way to go.

The bed maker contenders

Warren Evans

Warren Evans hand-make very nice beds, so we went to their nearest showroom. After much testing and discussion, we favoured their Brahms bed frame. They would have built it to our spec, i.e. shortened it by 10cm. Lovely people.

Unto This Last

But the Unto This Last bed frame was also in our minds. I'd seen (and slept on) one of their beds years ago, at my cousin's, and always liked the minimalist, puzzle-like design. It's just such an interesting idea:

- it's cut by computer
- birch plywood is used as a base material
- no screws or nails are needed - the bed is like a giant wooden puzzle
- the design is lightweight, practical and friendly, what with the rounded corners

Only difficulty being that we initially got different answers as to whether they're able to make a bed in such a large size. When we finally got the call that they can make the bed to our size specs, we did the maths one more time and went with the Unto This Last bed. Price-wise, there wasn't actually that much in it, with the Unto This Last in white birch ply being slightly cheaper than the Brahms solid wood painted white, even though we went for an extra height 1m headboard, which adds £100. If you go for the standard headboard, a white Unto This Last bed will be considerably cheaper. Warren Evans did get some of our business though - read on!

Our mattress-buying adventure 

After testing the whole John Lewis mattress range thrice over and considering just about every other type of mattress that's out there (as well as having an Ikea latex mattress for five years), we felt that Warren Evans offered a better price/snooze ratio. In August, we bought two of their Florence mattresses in standard single size. (The Siena is very similar, also comes in their medium firm/comfy support level and, most times, one of them's on sale.) 

We bought them before ordering the bed, so that we could measure up their true size, just in case. When you put two single mattresses together, you might need a little more wiggle room to allow for the edging. To test them out, we moved our guest trundle bed from bedroom three into our bedroom. It was immediately clear that having a large bed is great. I don't know how we made it through ten years together on an Ikea 140cm x 200cm bed, and especially when we welcomed a third 'person' into our relationship (see: Memphis the cat).

Measuring up for the bed frame

We measured up by lying the mattresses flat on the floor and pushing them against the wall with a long piece of timber (a leftover piece of floor joist did the job nicely). Turns out that we needed an inner measurement of 184cm x 191cm, and Unto This Last said they could do this. 

After six weeks - on the day we were promised the bed would be finished - we got our Unto This Last bed. We've now slept on it for two nights, and they were seriously the best I've had in a long time (Ed.: no jokes please). 

Assembling the bed - stills from the 'Movie'

The parts of the puzzle. 
Look - no nails. Just six pegs and one to spare. In a cute little bag. 
Slotting the sides into the headboard.
Popping the slats in. 
All done. Didn't take more than half an hour. 
Bedding on. 

Aargh - the picture's off centre. Quick - OCD Man, we need you!

Ahhh, that's better. Thanks OCD Man! 

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