In Park City, bunk beds are almost a necessity and offer many possibilities
Many people are choosing to bunk it up
October 17, 2017
When Gray Smith moved to Park City in 1973, he scraped together just enough money to pay for a month's rent at The Palace Flophouse, located where Park City Mountain's parking lot now sits. For a $1 a night, miners, Vietnam War vets, hippies and ski bums snagged a bed in one of six large bunk rooms, which slept up to a dozen people. From that humble $30 foundation, Smith carved out a life in Park City, which revolves around skiing, and a business he founded: Berry Creek Mountain Home Furnishings.
One of Berry Creek's specialties includes high-end, solid wood, artistically crafted bunk beds. Yes, his beds are a far cry from the Flophouse's, but he still fondly recalls his days in the dorm. He believes every mountain home deserves a bunk room — and the memories they provide.
"The bunk room has always been a part of the culture of ski towns," Smith says. "It's just part of the lifestyle, whether it's a second home or a rental. It just accommodates every type of different need. It's a staple."
Bunk bedrooms form lasting memories for kids vacationing with parents and grandparents, whether families are renting, or own a second home in Park City.
Bunks become kids' special places to "hide out," play games and stay up late, listening to their iPods, which they can tuck away in "secret" hiding spots cleverly built in to side covers near mattresses. Some high-tech bunks even include television screens, which pop up from the foot of the bed.
Built-in bunk systems provide sophisticated aesthetics, but architects usually plan them when designing or remodeling a custom home; they're meant for retrofitting.
On freestanding bunk beds, cool curtains prompt kids to build their own "forts," and fabric or wood trim under the beds allow kids to gaze up at something more interesting than just the bottom of a bunk bed. Other accents, like LED lights installed around the perimeter of beds, emit a soft, and fun, glow.
"Every bunk bed should be a kid-friendly room — unless it's a rental — with a fun bunk system, and bean bags, a game table and a desk," says Mario Ferreira, vice president of business development at Barclay Butera Inc. "Kids love the space. It's a space for them to hang out, where they bring their friends."
Not just for kids
While most people associate bunk rooms with kids, adults love bunk rooms too; couples or groups of guys or gals will rent a condo or home and bunk up to save a little cash, or simply fit everyone into one place.
"It's really about the functionality. It's a room that provides a lot of utilitarian use for ski towns," Smith says.
As a result, he and many other companies construct larger, solid bunks to accommodate adults. And, they're not just two stacked twin beds. His configurations include formats like a queen-sized bed, complete with headboard and footboard, with a canopy consisting of two twin beds above. These designs allow families to bunk together, or various groups to sleep comfortably.
Craftsmen construct quality bunk beds out of wood, metal or a combination of both. Smith uses alder ecologically harvested from the Pacific Northwest, reclaimed wood or dead-standing wood.
When homeowners choose wood, many want the clean, contemporary lines of refined wood. Others prefer slight distressing, for a touch of rustic, or even log beds, to foster a full mountain lodge feel.
"Wire brushing the wood is very popular," Smith says. "It opens up the grain of the wood, (so) it takes a little more color where it's grooved out."
Gray and espresso are currently trending when it comes to the color of wood finishes, he says. Still, when it comes to bunk rooms, all kinds of possibilities exist; there's no "one size fits all."
"Bunk beds are very specific to the buyers," Ferreira says.
Built-in bunks neatly fit room specifications. Sometimes, architects design a few large cubbyholes in a wall or two — rather than actually build in full bunk beds, they simply "float" as finished rectangles to accommodate one twin bed each. These "holes" in the wall can transform into caves or mines with the right designer.
"It's all about the design and about how creative the client allows you to be," Ferreira says.
He styled an entirely white room with all white walls, floors and bunk beds, which blended in perfectly.
"It becomes very personal," Ferreira says. "Bunk beds have so many different purposes … they can be very contemporary with metal or wood; wood brings some warmth, where metal can be cool. Metal gives it that contemporary, or industrial, look."
Bunk rooms not only stir nostalgic memories for adults or create lifetime memories for kids, but also offer a chance for imagination to soar. Bunk beds become capsules of creativity when designed properly.
"I wish I had an experience like that when I was a kid," Ferreira says.
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He missed out on The Palace Flophouse, but through his innovative bunk room projects, he generates a space where vacationing adults can feel like kids again, and kids can just be kids, playing in their bunk room until the sleepy-eyed night nudges them into dreamland.
Berry Creek Mountain Home Furnishings
1014 E Draper Pkwy, Draper
Barclay Butera Inc.
255 Heber Ave, Park City
Dressed Design, Inc.
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