Sometimes a bed just won’t do…

Here at CHC, sometimes it’s more than just;

“How do I assemble the shipping containers?”

A big part of designing homes and structures (regardless of the style or type of home) is the assignment and detail of the created spaces. This is especially important when you’re building a family’s home.

We’re often asked how to finish out spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms. Families want to make that space “their own”…

From the “why didn’t I think of that?” files;

There’s this guy who has decided that the best furniture encompasses every need in one small footprint package. His name is Roberto Gil and he calls it “Urbano”. After looking at his work, we think he’s pretty darned smart.

His forte of late seems to be “loft beds” where your bed is actually perched on top of your other bedroom  furniture to maximize room space. Now, it should be noted that we build loft beds and integrated furniture systems into containers all the time, but I have to admit that his new system makes ours look like something cobbled together in shop class by comparison.

(Sigh!) Sometimes you just have to acknowledge the masters…

They say that “good things come in small packages”. In this case, they hit that nail square on the head.

Measuring 119 inches in length and a width of 83 inches, with the furniture system topping out at 107 inches, you can see where I’m going with this. Let’s do some math, shall we? (Not that new “Common Core” crap. I don’t possess enough patience, crayons or even paper to do arithmetic that way!) Let me see, carry the one, divide by hammer-struck thumbs and a few splinters and you get an entire bedroom suite in an approximately 9’11” long x 6’11” wide x 8’11” tall package.

The Urbano system, based on a King sized bed is the largest furniture unit in Roberto’s “Casa Collection” line. It features interior and exterior closets, dressers with drawers, shelving and a desk underneath its bed. The clearance under the bed platform is tall (almost 6’4″) and that’s enough to enable most people can walk under it without stooping or hitting their heads. The cool part of this system is that you can purchase it with either ONE or TWO staircases depending on your needs. Each staircase has built in storage drawers. To make things light and bright, mirrors and lighting are installed.

You know, after looking at this for a while, it reminded some of us of the Escheresque dorm systems we used to build back in College before we all moved to NYC to live in tiny apartments located close enough so that we could get mugged in Central Park on a regular basis! Of course, I never got mugged in Central Park. I spent so much time working that I never got “outside”. LOL!

As intriguing as this bedroom system is, it does make me wonder what this format would look like tucked into the bowels of an ISBU home.

Imagine a suite of “sleeping rooms” built from ISBUs that had these units installed. Imagine three containers placed side-by-side, with the outer ones being “sleeping rooms”. Now imagine the center one being a shared “Hollywood” style bathroom.

If you were to built a gable roof with a decent pitch (say 6/12) over these (I’d build that roof on a kneewall of about 3′) and ran the single staircase configuration on the inside walls (to take advantage of the gable height) you could do something pretty cool. Okay, my pitch would be a little aggressive as I live in Montana where the snow will kick your behind if you give it a chance. You could use a 4/12 and do just fine. That pitched roof would also allow you to utilize the top of that “bath” container in the middle as a shared loft.

The best part is that the kneewall floating that pitched SIP (structural insulated panel) roof could also have integrated glazing to allow you both sunlight and ventilation. I love toplighting spaces. It makes that space boom!

You knew I was going to slip SIPs into this conversation, didn’t you? Hands down, SIPs topped with a waterproof membrane and SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing) are my all-time favorite. I’ll mention them every chance I get!

Think about this;

If you used 20′ High Cube ISBU containers to do this you’d have (2) King Sized bedrooms and a large, spacious bath suite tucked into a 20’x24′ footprint. Okay, so you’d be just a little cramped in the headroom department on one side, but by using high cube ISBUs you have a ceiling height of 8’9″. Couple that with a kneewall and this is actually doable.

It the Urbano bed system is just too much for your needs they even have a smaller Arca system that might fill the bill.



While the Arca bed system is cool, the Urbano beds really do have the whole shooting match installed. They feature interior and exterior closets, dressers with drawers, shelving and a desk underneath the loft bed. Add some cool LED lighting and they rock those boxes like the Rolling Stones!

roberto-gil-casa-collection-urbano-loft-bed-4Roberto knew that one color wouldn’t be enough so both the Urbano and Arca beds are available in two color options and prices for Urbano start from (hold your breath) at $15,000 USD and the Arca system will set you back $6,000 USD. You won’t pick them up at the store either. The lead time for production is estimated at about 10-12 weeks before your bed system arrives.

Look, I warned you to hold your breath…

They’ll sell a lot of these in Europe and places like Italy, I’m told that you CAN buy these beds in the United States, but I’m thinking about something else entirely. Wait, I’ll tell you about it after I catch my breath. That price tag had me hyperventilating… LOL!

Okay, I’m back…

What if you went to a big box store like IKEA and purchased prefab cabinets and such and then cobbled this together yourself? Look at the photos. You can SEE how easy it is. Heck, a couple of carpenters could build a similar unit for a lot less than $15,000.00. (Well, unless maybe they’re Union Carpenters!) LOL!

(I know, I know… please send your hate mail to

After passing the photos around here, I’m thinking that we might just have a go at building something similar, based on ready-made “catalog” cabinet kits. No offense to Roberto (because quite frankly his idea is pretty darned good) but we don’t know anyone with enough extra cash laying around to shell out $15 grand for a bedroom set for the kids.

Stay tuned.

PS. ALL of the images for Roberto’s bed systems were collected from, which is probably one of the coolest websites on the planet. Why? Well to be honest, I don’t have $21,000.00 to go out and buy copies of these bed systems! That’s actually more than it’d cost me to build the ISBU structure for the three rooms we’re talking about!

(But I have to admit that I wish I did. I think they’re pretty spectacular!)

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