Prison Bunks

Dave had made the declaration: the old steel dock was going to the scrap heap. As we hauled those heavy sections from the shoreline to the trailer, we became giddy with liberation from old clunky things we never liked anyway. Well, as giddy as one can be when huffing and puffing from a homemade crossfit workout.

As soon as we had the dock in the trailer, his eyes brimming with another devious thought, Dave looked at me, clapped his hands together and said, “The prison bunk!”

Even cheerful bedspreads couldn’t brighten the prison bunk’s vibe.

Even cheerful bedspreads couldn’t brighten the prison bunk’s vibe.

In the 1960s version of Lloyd’s Landing, the middle bedroom had two bunk beds, enough for four rowdy kids. The room was separated from the living room by a single curtain—possibly a former bedspread—with a cowboy and indian motif. Every night when it was time for bed, all seven of us kids would clamber onto the bunks for story time. Mom would stand on the other side of the curtain, and by poking her fingers into the characters on the fabric, she’d create a thrilling story about heros and villains and hapless pioneers. When story time was over, the older kids would head off to their more sophisticated rooms, but us little kids slept the night in the bunk room.

By the time Dave and I took over the cabin, one of the bunks had been removed and that side of the room was converted to a closet. It was a functional and smart choice, since from 1973 onward, families of nine no longer visited, and storage was a necessary add. The cowboy and indian curtain had been replaced by a plastic accordian screen. And the remaining bunk bed, made of steel and devoid of a kid-friendly railing or ladder, looked depressingly forlorn.

Dave named it the Prison Bunk. I insisted that the bunks more likely came from a military surplus store, as though that would lessen the sadness of the room.

In addition to general bad design, changing linens was an exercise in misery. While it’s true that bunk beds are never pleasant to make, this one was especially challenging because it was hard to move away from the wall, and the sheets had to be tucked into the bare metal springs on which the mattresses rested.

So despite some happy memories of the bedtime stories, scrapping the bunk was an easy decision.

We had all winter to imagine a new room. We wanted something mid-mod, but also cozy. We decided on a chaise lounge that could fold down to a single bed. The chaise and the pole lamp are the mid-mod elements, and in a concession to the shiplap craze made popular by HGTV, we paneled the accent wall. Painting with grey tones and carpeting with a plush taupe-grey carpet, we think we managed to create a spa-like oasis for any guest who needs a brief respite from their family vacation:

The instituational vibe is gone!

The instituational vibe is gone!

No spa room is complete without a real door—the plastic accordians screens are finally gone!