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George Nelson Case Study Inspired DIY Bed

Modernica Case Study V-Leg Bed

Modernica Case Study V-Leg Bed

I have an eleven-year-old dog named Cid with a back problem. He has a hard time jumping up on our bed – so I decided it was time to do something… Get a platform bed! I have always wanted a George Nelson Case Study Bed with hairpin legs (v-legs). Needless to say, the original piece is out of reach, but Modernica sells reproductions for around $1,500 (queen size). I think $1,500 is not a lot of money for a nice bed – the question is… Do I want to pay $1,500 for a bed? Not really – so I started to explore my options. I searched online to see if there were any other styles – yes, but nothing within my budget. Then I started to think all these platform beds were so simple that I could build one myself. I have never tackled building furniture, so let this be the first one!

Hairpin Legs

Hairpin Legs

I researched many sources and decided to make a platform bed with slats. My original idea was to make a platform bed using a plan in Todd Oldham’s book called Handmade Modern. I could make the platform part according to the plan using four plywood pieces and attach some hairpin legs instead of the pipe legs in the book. Then, I read somewhere that putting a mattress on a solid surface prevents it from breathing, thus resulting in mold growth underneath the mattress. Yuk! I cannot let my dog (and us) sleep on the moldy mattress!

For the body, I would use some 2x6s and 2x4s (for the support frame), oak boards (for the top frame), and 1x4s (for slats). The headboard would be cut from a 4×8 furniture grade oak plywood sheet. I could then use the rest to build two nightstands. For legs, I would use four 8” stainless steel hairpin legs and four wooden legs. Four wooden legs would be attached inner part of the bed where you could not see.

DIY Case Study Style Bed Materials

DIY Case Study Style Bed Materials

I bought all the materials local except the hairpin legs. I made my reluctant husband help me build a Case Study style platform bed one weekend… He was fine with the old bed – but I convinced him that Cid could hurt his back worse trying to jump on the bed that was too high for him. After all, Cid was his precious angel, too.

Slats are going in...

Slats are going in...

First we put the support frame together – four pieces of 2x6s were attached together with wood glue and steel braces. Inside of the frame, we attached some 2x4s for additional support. Then we attached all the legs and flipped the frame over to attach the top frame. Since this would be the only visible part of the platform, we chose red oak boards. We then attached 11 slats that hold our mattress.

Finished Product

Finished Product

The headboard was cut from a 4×8 oak plywood sheet. The widest oak board available was 12 inches which was too narrow to attach to the support frame. Modenica Case Study Bed uses three L shaped braces to attach the headboard to the platform body. Instead of using the L shaped braces, I cut the plywood 22″ x 64″ with two notches on each side and attached it directly to the support frame. Then, we attached the two steel braces (behind the headboard) for additional support. We stained the top frame and headboard with “honey” colored stain.

Not too bad, huh?

Not too bad, huh?

We spent about $350 for the materials. We are pretty happy and proud with how it turned out. The bed feels pretty sturdy and the height is just right. The only regret is that when we are standing up, we cannot see the hairpin legs very well – but Cid no longer has problem getting up on the bed and that’s all that matters!

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44 responses so far

44 Responses to “George Nelson Case Study Inspired DIY Bed”

  1. Andreaon 05 Oct 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Hi! I love this bed and want to try and make it!!! Do you have more detailed instructions? And material list? Thanks!!

  2. Mike Hon 13 Oct 2009 at 1:30 am


    What was your source for the legs?


  3. adminon 13 Oct 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Andrea – thanks for your comment. I am working on a detailed instruction/material list. I will post it soon.

  4. adminon 13 Oct 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Mike – I purchased mine at http://www.ianmaclean.com

  5. Andreaon 17 Oct 2009 at 2:18 pm

    my puppies will love this bed 🙂

  6. Mollyon 20 Oct 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I love this bed! My husband and I are going to attempt to build it as well!

  7. Mollyon 21 Oct 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Can you tell me how you attached the outside platform boards to the frame? Are the outside boards 1 x 8 or 1 x 6?


  8. adminon 21 Oct 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Molly. the outside boards are 1 x 6 oak boards. They are attached to the bottom frame (2 x 6) with screws. I am still working on the detailed instruction. I will post it soon.

  9. Rodrigoon 27 Oct 2009 at 11:58 am

    Is the headboard at an angle, or is it perpendicular to the bed?

  10. adminon 27 Oct 2009 at 5:22 pm

    The headboard is perpendicular to the bed.

  11. Pegon 16 Nov 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Using the pictures you have up on Flickr, I built my version of this bed this weekend (I left off the headboard). I used 12″ hairpin legs from Ian Mclean, poplar for the support frame, pine for the slats, and solid maple for the part of the platform that shows. It turned out great. By putting the legs flush with the corners of the support frame, and having the maple overhang the support frame by about 2″, you can see the legs really well. Thanks so much for posting your pictures—I’ve had a magazine clipping of a Case Study bed for years and years and without your inspiration might never have thought to make one myself.

  12. adminon 22 Nov 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Congrats on your new bed, Peg!!!

  13. Rayon 04 Dec 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Great project! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I’m actually going to attempt this myself, but I have 2 questions first.

    Is your bed a queen size, and if it is what is the overall dimension of the rectangle of the platform?

    I don’t have a queen mattress yet, and all the dimensions I see online are 60″ x 80″ for the mattress. I want the platform to be bigger than the mattress show it will show.

    Thank you.

  14. adminon 06 Dec 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks, Ray! The overall dimension is of the top platform is 64″ x 82″. My mattress is also 60″ x 80″ – so the platform shows 2″ (both sides and foot of the bed). I am still working on the instruction – I am almost done.

    Good luck on your project!

  15. Rayon 06 Dec 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you.

    I built my frame this weekend using your Flickr photos and some CAD software I have, to make sure I had everything dimensionally right. I built my base frame 60″ x 80″ and will use the same 2″ overhang for the platform for a 64″ x 82″ as you did.

    I used 6 hairpin legs and some different bracketing, and everything seems very sturdy, so I am very pleased.

    I have one more question. What is the round black piece under your hairpin leg that makes contact with the floor?

    Thank you once again for your help.

  16. adminon 06 Dec 2009 at 9:36 pm

    The round black piece is a plastic foot that protects the floor. It just snaps into the tip of the hairpin leg. We just refinished the floor and didn’t want it to get scrached.

  17. carmon 09 Jan 2010 at 5:32 pm

    How are the plans coming along? Wondering when I could get a copy 🙂

  18. Kellyon 01 Feb 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Hello, I’ve been looking for a source for the black plastic clip-on foot that fits a hairpin leg. Do you happen to know if anyone is still manufacturing these or where I could purchase some? Thanks

  19. adminon 01 Feb 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Kelly: I am afraid that they are no longer in production. I found mine on eBay.

  20. Jackon 01 Jan 2011 at 4:25 am

    I was wondering if I could please get the plans for this bed also?

  21. Karenon 21 Jan 2011 at 10:44 am

    Love this project! You MUST be proud of the end result of not only the platform bed; but, the entire room! Love the paint job, rug as well as the quilt! Please share the source of that quilt.

  22. adminon 22 Jan 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Jack: Please visit for the instruction and material list.

    Karen: Thank you for your nice comment 🙂 I purchaed the quilt from West Elm several years ago.

  23. […] via George Nelson Case Study Inspired DIY Bed. […]

  24. Tyon 13 Jul 2011 at 12:47 pm

    So the dimensions of your queen platform bed it looks like you added 4 inches for the left and right side. 60″x 80″ = 64″ x 82″, so if a king size mattress is 76″x80″ the bed dimensions would be 80″x84″ correct?


  25. adminon 16 Jul 2011 at 10:32 am

    Ty – if you want to add 2″ each side (left and right), 80″ is correct, but the length will be 82″, because the top (head side) of the mattress is flush against the headboard (no margin). You just add 2″ to the bottom side.

  26. echo ranchon 03 Jan 2012 at 11:06 pm

    cool. used this as a basis for my build as well. we wanted a cal king so i adjusted the dimensions and the plan a bit for what i had on hand and was cheap. thanks for sharing this, it really helped me sort it out… i did have to go to the ER by slicing my finer on the process so a word of caution. haha. it was worth it.
    here’s the link where i posted some iphone pics on a guitar forum:

  27. […] most difficult item to find, the rest of the materials can be found at any big box hardware store. George Nelson Inspired Bed on […]

  28. tinaon 15 Jul 2012 at 11:16 am

    My husband just made a bed like this. Can you tell me where you found that great bed spread?

  29. adminon 17 Jul 2012 at 8:40 pm

    i bought the bed spread from West Elm several years ago.

  30. […] things back to normalcy in two shakes of a martini’s tail. Or something. Just go read the instructions for this bed, will […]

  31. Deanon 18 Mar 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I am curious about the weight tolerance of the hairpin legs. What diameter steel did you use? How are they holding up?

  32. adminon 24 Mar 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Dean – we haven’t had any problems with our legs/bed. I purchased the hairpin legs from Ian at http://www.hairpinlegs.com – you can contact him via his website about specific questions you may have.

  33. […] details. With little more than oak boards and metal hairpin legs, you can build a piece just like this one, which recalls an earlier age but retains timeless […]

  34. […] Link ==> George Nelson Inspired DIY Bed | Mid Century Modern […]

  35. Helenon 03 Aug 2014 at 6:43 pm


    I was wondering what the measurements should be if I were to make this for a full size bed?


  36. Jenon 27 Sep 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Where did you get the little floor protector gizzies?

  37. adminon 29 Sep 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Jen – They came with the hairpin legs I bought on eBay (not the one I used for this bed). I’m assuming they were included when the original owner bought the legs.

  38. Tracyon 03 Oct 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Awesome!! My husband and I are going to make this!! We’ve been eying the DWR beds for over $5000, which we can’t afford. This is perfect!! Thank you!

  39. Melodyon 15 Jan 2015 at 10:06 am

    Some of us would really have liked to have seen a picture of Cid on the bed!

  40. Steveon 15 Jul 2015 at 11:47 am

    Hello there,

    Just bumbled upon this site.

    Have the plans ever been finished? Where would one get them?

    TY Steve,

  41. Joyon 17 Jul 2015 at 10:41 am

    This bed is really fabulous!
    Thank you for sharing.

  42. Ashleyon 23 Jul 2015 at 1:25 pm

    The bed is still functioning today? My boyfriend keeps insisting on building a bed and I just don’t trust it/him (ha). But this looks great and sturdy!

  43. Colinon 27 Sep 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you for the pictures built mine this weekend. Made everything from raw materials and only cost me $78 for everything.

    Thank you again!

  44. Garyon 11 Dec 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Just finished this bed literally 30 minutes ago. I used some IKEA countertops for all the trim and headboard. Found in the discount room for $20 each for a 4’x8’piece. A little careful cutting and I only had to edge veneer one side of the headboard. I used small head cabinet screws to attach the trim to the frame and Kreg pocket screws for all the 2×6 and 2×4 joints. Also used a half lap joint where the 2×4’s cross instead of having two joints in the center. If you are buying screws 11/4″ work for attaching the slats and 3/4″ for the headboard to L brackets. Got the hairpin legs from EBay with free shipping.
    Great plans BTW

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