Well, I guess I’m actually doing this. I’ll be honest, For a couple days, after I took the seats out, I kind of half-expected to change my mind and put them back in. Instead, I found that having the seats out sort of forced me into a planning state of mind, and although I didn’t make a ton of progress, I made more than I thought I would in only a few short Saturday hours.

Before I made even a single cut, my mind wandered trying to figure out the best possible layout. It was driving me crazy. Eventually, I decided that for this particular project, perhaps planning every detail beforehand, might not be the best approach. I just needed to get started and go with the flow. I was sure that the proper solution would present itself as I worked it out step-by-step. And I was right…well, so far at least.

I knew that sealing off the spare tire compartment would almost assure that I would find myself in a situation in which it was needed, so I thought it best not to challenge fate. My design would therefore require easy access to it. That meant I couldn’t build drawers out the back like I originally wanted, but that’s okay. It means fewer details to work through. So, I needed a frame that would straddle the spare tire compartment and still be sturdy enough to support two grown humans.

The beginning of the sleeping platform
The beginning of the sleeping platform

As it turned out, it was pretty easy to get started. For whatever reason, on either side of the hatchback, there was a perfect 2×4-sized gap in the plastic parts that cover the inside of the space. With one board on each side and a longer one to connect them across the top, I was off and running. As you can see in the picture, I would still have the ability to pull out the false floor that hides the spare tire.

The design allows access to the spare tire
The design allows access to the spare tire

After that, I just started to build on, making sure I’d think a couple steps ahead because I didn’t want to get into a situation where I’d install a piece only to realize that I wouldn’t have proper access to install the next pieces. My plan requires me to extend the sleeping platform as far forward as possible so that I can sleep comfortably. I’m over six feet tall, so that’s going to be tough. What I have in mind has about two-thirds of the sleeping platform always in place. Then, when I need to use it, I’d push the front seats forward and then flip over the final third of the platform, which should, in theory be approximately the size of a full-sized bed. I think. I’m still working out the logistics for the flip-over piece, but I’m off to a decent start. Anyway, I built it toward the front of the car about four feet for starters. That buys me some time to think through the mechanics of what needs to come next.

The bulk of the sleeping platform frame
The bulk of the sleeping platform frame

With the main platform frame mostly complete, I added about a half-foot to the back of the frame. I started with where those 2×4-sized gaps were, but there was still plenty of space between that side and the hatchback and I wasn’t going to let that valuable space go to waste.

Maximizing the square footage for the sleeping platform by claiming all the available space behind the hatchback
Maximizing the square footage for the sleeping platform by claiming all the available space behind the hatchback

So that’s it. That’s part 2. Before I get too far into designing the flip-over piece, I’ll probably widen the frame a little bit for extra support on the edges where we’ll be climbing in and out of the side doors. Also, as of now, all I’ve purchased is four 2x4s costing a mere $8.43. I’m sure the nickels and dimes will add up as I continue to build, but I can’t imagine it will end up costing too much at all.

Be sure to tune in for Part 3, which will hopefully be sometime within the next week.