With a Light Push and Pull, the Built-In in This Basement Goes From Bookshelf to Bed

And you don’t even have to remove a single vase.
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San Francisco–based designer Alison Damonte has the same outlook when it comes to basement guest bedrooms as she does TVs: If you don’t want anyone to know it’s there, there’s always a way to hide it. Of course, it’s much easier to disguise a black screen (a simple tapestry will do!) than it is to camouflage a full-size mattress. That’s where Murphy beds come in. But there is more to this magic trick than just buying the hardware that lets you to store it vertically against a wall. 

Damonte, along with local architecture firm Level Design, was tasked by her clients to transform their unfinished basement into the ultimate flex zone; somewhere their teens can hang out during weeknights and guests can sleep when they come to town. She knew from the get-go that a Murphy bed was a necessity, so she went online and browsed Resource Furniture, a brand known for its design-focused and small-space–savvy wall beds (many of them come with integrated sofas, dining tables, and desks). In the end, she went with its rotating LGM design, which is clad with open shelves. 

woman shifting bookshelf
muprhy bed pulled up
bed set down

Still, the manufactured piece sticks out a little over 2 feet from the wall when fully closed, making it pretty obvious there’s something happening behind it. Damonte’s answer to the problem? Adding cabinets to either side. “We wanted to make it feel more custom,” she explains. The tall and short cupboards offer storage for spare pillows and blankets, while the open cubbies double as nightstands when the bed is open. While the slick, laminate Murphy bed frame proved too tricky to paint, Damonte instead had the cabinets swathed in a cool cream-beige to match the product.

close up of murphy bed headboard

The transition between bookshelf and bed is fairly seamless, the designer attests. “You sort of twist it around like a magic door,” she explains. As you lightly open the panel, the whole thing slides across the track, revealing the mattress on the other side. The biggest perk: Her clients (or their visitors) don’t have to take a single thing off the bookshelves—well, except for those empty black-and-white–striped canisters. “They’re the only things that have ever fallen off,” says Damonte. It’s nothing a touch of Museum Wax couldn’t fix. 

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.