We knew we wanted a bunkhouse model camper when we were shopping around. I’d need somewhere that I could work and have a door to shut when taking calls or needing some quiet to think. Crayton also needed a space that could be mostly his. We figured a bunkhouse could serve double duty as his bedroom and my office. We decided we liked models with the bunkhouse in the middle of the camper because the main living area felt more open with windows on three sides instead of two. We fell in love with the Grand Design Reflection 367bhs. However, as purchased, the camper had a fold out couch and a very small fixed desk and that was it. The desk was too small for me to use for work and the bed was kind of a pain to fold out and make every time we stopped. So before we left Wisconsin, we set about renovating that space. We wanted a nice sleeping space for Crayton that was easier to set up and a larger desk for me to work. Oddly I didn't take any "before" photos of what the space looked like, but I found this stock image.
The bunkhouse 'before'
After a lot of searching online, visits to furniture stores, looking at other creative solutions posted online by similar working families and lots of measuring and remeasuring we came up with this:
Cat Not Included
It’s a futon chair that folds down into a bed really easily and is the perfect size for Crayton. The desk fits perfectly beside it and has plenty of room for my two large monitors, laptop dock and some papers and it has a slide out keyboard drawer. The whole thing is sturdy but light and actually folds down flat if necessary.
The old hide-a-bed was a pain to get out the narrow doors and had to be partially disassembled, but we did it and put it in storage so if we wanted to put it back when/if we resell the camper we could.
Our hope is that by the time Crayton outgrows the futon-chair as a bed, he’ll be ready to take up residence in the loft above the bunkhouse. Right now he likes to go up there to play now and then, but still needs help navigating the ladder and I can’t imagine him trying to get down in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or come to our bed after a bad dream. He’d surely fall, so we’ll wait until he’s bigger before suggesting he make it his bedroom.
In practice it has worked pretty well. My only complaint is that my chair doesn’t roll easily and tilts back somewhat as the front wheels are inside the slide and the back wheels are on the camper floor. Sometime when we have some down time I want to build a little platform I can put on the floor to bring the back part of the chair even with the bunkhouse floor. It shouldn’t be hard to craft something, I just need the time and access to a lumberyard. I’m hoping we’ll have a chance soon.
Crayton has mostly been sleeping with us instead of in his bed, but we’re working on that. He’s scared of the dark and nightlights just aren’t cutting it for him. He wants the full lights on and we don’t think that’s good for restful sleep, so he’s sleeping with us for now. We’re brainstorming ideas to get him comfortable sleeping in there. Might have to find a low-light lamp of some sort to provide enough light to comfort him, but not so much as to disturb his sleep. We’re open to suggestion if you have had similar issues with your kids.