Monday, November 22, 2004

Stairway to Hell

I have a well-developed imagination. During the house shopping process, I could entertain myself for hours after each viewing by imagining what it would be like to live there. I fantasized about furniture placement, paint colors, and traffic patterns. I was always a little disappointed when we deselected a house from our list and my imaginings had to be abandoned. When we decided on our present house, my fantasizing began in earnest. I was prepared to realize my dreams.

It is funny how all the rooms are a little bigger in your mind. As I’ve moved furniture in, I’ve realized that some pieces are too large or some placements don’t work, and I’ve modified my fantasies. The longer I’ve had them, though, the harder they are to let go.

The space I have mentally decorated and redecorated the most is our attic bedroom. I was kept from actually decorating the room while we ripped out the carpet/linoleum, painted the walls, and then carpeted the floors. Finally, on Thursday morning, the walls were dry and the floors were covered, so we began to move things in.

The stairs to the attic are reached through a narrow door off of the dining room. After going up two steps, the stairway takes a 90-degree turn to the right. The ceiling is sloped at the same angle as the stairs. We had no problem moving a desk, a table, chests, a dresser, and the bed frame (in pieces) up the stairs. However, we were worried that moving a queen-sized box spring would be hampered by both the sloped ceiling and the right turn. In fear of ruining my fantasy bedroom, I waited until there was nothing else to move upstairs before attempting to move the box spring. On Saturday morning, we brought the box spring into the house and removed the cardboard wrapping. Thinking that it would be easier to get it up the stairs if it was turned end up, we attempted to set the box spring on its foot. We knew we were in trouble when we hit the high dining room ceiling in the attempt. I was worried about marking up the ceiling (and then having to paint it!) so we abandoned the attempt to reorient the box spring and headed for the stairs. It was quickly obvious that, unless the laws of physics were suspended, it would never make it up the stairs. There was no angle that would allow the stairway to accommodate the box spring’s height and breadth. After months of imagining our perfect, upstairs bedroom suite, I was devastated.

Mike and I brainstormed. I favored ripping through the exterior wall and adding a door at the bottom of the stairs leading to the backyard, thus eliminating the 90-degree turn. I also considered knocking out the wall between the dining room and the staircase and replacing it with open railing, but thought that we might still have trouble getting the box spring through that opening. Mike’s suggested installing large skylights and then perilously carrying the box spring onto the roof and sliding it through our new hole. More practically, he wanted to cut the box spring in half and reassemble the pieces upstairs. To that end, we slit a hole in the backing and examined the interior. We were amazed to learn that a box spring is just a big metal cage with some wood framing and a fabric covering. Yuck! Disenchanted with the box spring, we thought, “Who needs it?! Let’s see if we can get the mattress upstairs.” It took some squishing, but we managed to squeeze the mattress through the door, around the turn, and up the stairs. So now our mattress lies on the floor of our soon-to-be bedroom. The cat has already claimed it as her own.

We plan on sleeping box spring-less. But, can you sleep on a mattress and no box spring? Is that metal cage so essential? Does it damage your mattress to sleep on it without adequate support? My friend Brian, in a similar stairway situation, uses a futon mattress under his regular mattress. My mother suggested installing plywood over the bed’s wooden slats and under the mattress. We’ll try the cheaper, plywood route first. Any other suggestions?

Although it seemed at first the evil stairway had ruined my plans, we have found a way around it. The bedroom is shaping up to be the lovely attic hide-away I originally envisioned. Soon, I will not have to imagine it.


Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Because we both like a firm bed, there is a 1" inflexible sheet of plywood in between our box spring and mattress. For all intensive purposes it could be a wooden box under there instead of a box spring. All it does it elevate the mattress that much farther from the floor and bed frame. In fact I've slept on hotel beds that were just that - a mattress on a wooden platform integral to the bed frame. I'm sure this would be sacrilege to a mattress salesperson but I'd give it a shot.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Yes, I am beginning to suspect that the box spring is just a way to get you to spend more money at the mattress store. What a scam!

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snowflake, here.

Besides elevating your sleeping position, box springs provide (or should provide) just that - springs. As opposed to 'wood'. However, my sleeping comfort NEVER relied upon good box springs.

Having chronic back problems (though not debilitating), what I sleep on has a profound impact on my back. The most comfortable bed was a NON-waveless water bed. The next was a 2" thick foam 'mattress' for a roll-away bed. GO FIGURE!! My current arrangement suits me very well - the 8" futon on queen mattress. It provides ideal comfort for 6 to 6 1/2 hours, which then forces me to get up and get going -- PERFECT!

Suggestion would be to insert something in between the futon and mattress - anything from foam to plywood plank - for various levels of firmness.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Salvation! After sleeping on the matress alone (on the floor), we have begun to miss the boxspring (evil cage of wire that it is). I have learned that you can buy a split queen boxspring! We will be shopping for one of these this weekend. And if it still doesn't fit up the stairs, we will be returning one of these this weekend.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey!! I am having the same problem with my new boxspring. THERE IS SOME HOPE OUT THERE!! Last year I had found a message. Explaining how to cut a middle slack on a slant so it will bend. And once it is upstairs you put screws in it. Good Luck Lil

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have had similar problems in almost every house we have lived in. Thankfully we figured out during our move into the second house that you can purchase a queen size box spring that comes as two separate pieces!!! Each one is slightly smaller than a single box spring. We have one under our mattress and you cannot see it underneath the bedskirt.

Good luck

10:33 AM  
Blogger pantherstyle118 said...

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9:24 AM  
Blogger pantherstyle118 said...

Its amazing how quickly a single change can impact your life. A couple of days ago I changed my mattress from a sprung one to a memory foam mattress. As soon as I got into bed the first night I could feel the difference! It kind of "moulds" itself to you and thus feels more like its supporting you rather than you lying on top of a slap of springs. Very happy with it.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Adi said...

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8:20 AM  

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