Aft Cabin: Fait accompli!

I’ve been waiting over two years to write this post. We finally have the aft cabin we’ve been wanting on this boat. It’s been quite the process. The problem: while large, the aft cabin offered no way for us to sleep together. This was a bit of a let down when we looked at the boat, but one that didn’t keep us from loving her anyhow. One side had been updated to a ‘double’ berth, which frankly, in boat language, means that one adult can sleep comfortably with their partner if the partner is the size of a tiny, swaddled babe. The other side was a narrow single. So basically one of us, usually me, could get a decent night’s sleep and the other one got a marginal sleep. I don’t know about you, but good sleep is the foundation upon which I stand.

The middle 'seat' was basically useless.

The middle ‘seat’ was basically useless. We just never used it at all.

When we bought the boat there was a worn out mattress on the ‘double’ side. That had to go quickly. For a short term solution I bought a foam mattress on Amazon, meant for an RV, and cut it to fit the space. That was a good solution for awhile, but we always knew it was temporary.

A minor upgrade, but a world of difference in the short term.

This year we got serious. I went to the boat show in Seattle and spent the day with an agenda to talk to mattress manufacturers. I knew this was going to be pricey because it’s a big space. I used a king sized mattress cut for a V berth by way of comparison, although I knew it would be a bit more than that because we have a large middle piece. The lowest bid I got was from an east coast firm that quoted me a price of $3700, plus shipping for a bed that felt pretty good on the showroom floor, but I was not sure how long it would last. At that point, I really didn’t know the right questions to ask about foam quality. That was a low ball price with very basic fabric covering. The other bid I got was closer to $5000 after taxes. Again, that was for the basic model. I’m not known for choosing the basic model of anything. I can upsell myself like a champ.

Ikea had a natural latex mattress, but I would have to do all the work myself, and I didn’t actually want to, especially as the mattresses alone would have been about $2200 after taxes. I was okay with that price, but not sure I was up to handling the task willingly. Sometimes I just want to pay to have things done. This was one of those times. Every time Mike would see me toying with the idea of doing the whole thing myself to save money, he would shake his head and say, ‘No, Lucy.’.  I love that man, but already I was getting a little concerned we’d have to choose between a new strong track for the mast and a decent bed. I consider the idea of ‘compromise’ to be a challenge for me to get my cake and eat it, too. The little grey cells in my head began to work.

We decided to press the ‘pause’ button for awhile and get the final design on the template in the aft cabin completed so we’d know exactly what we would be working with. We played with measurements and made a cardboard template, then a butcher paper pattern from that. I took measurements at intervals along the hull to get the curvature right. I learned how to do this on You Tube, where people learn how to do everything these days. What a world we live in.

Measuring for the curvature.

In the end, we ended up with this expanded sleeping space.

We lost a tiny bit of walking space on the right, but nothing in the middle since we couldn’t walk there anyhow. We don’t miss the few inches we lost on the right in the photo.

During our ‘pause’ we played with combinations by redoing the foam in both of the other cabins, educating ourselves on foam types. We were killing the proverbial two birds with one stone; a metaphor that while violent, is apt. We created our ‘rumpus’ room in the v-berth by using a firm foam base with a medium foam on top of that. It’s good for sitting, fine for sleeping if you like a firm mattress. We love that space now and are able to sit and watch our DVD’s on our new little TV/DVD player combo Mike wrote about. It will be a great guest cabin.

We used the old foam with a 3″ latex topper to remake the midship cabin. It’s a luxurious sleep now. We liked the latex topper from Sleep On Latex so much we decided it was a win for the aft cabin. One decision down.

On a whim I took our pattern up to Seattle to Friendly Foam. The young man who helped me was, indeed, friendly as he wrote out the bid for something close to $6,000. Without upholstery. That’s just for the foam, cutting, and gluing.  Ouch and OUCH! I bowed and scraped my way out of the shop, trying not to run,  wondering what I was even thinking of going in there. I mean, these people probably do great work, but they pay Seattle real estate prices for their shop.

In the end, we took our pattern, our latex, and our desires to our local Best Foam and Fabric shop in Tacoma and they did the cutting, gluing and upholstery for us. Let me tell you, there is something grand about having an expert you work with who knows his topic and is willing to spend some time educating others. We love this place and will always go to them first whenever we need upholstery or foam for any kind of project. If you live in Seattle, make the drive to Tacoma before you make a decision on who is going to do your foam and upholstery. They are awesome and their prices are more than fair. We ended up using a three layer approach with a 3″ dense base layer, a 2″ medium layer, and the 3″ natural latex topper. After making sure these fit perfectly (they did!), and covering them with the PUL waterproof fabric, I took them back to be upholstered.

Three layers of foam.

Here’s the final cost breakdown. By way of comparison, I had to order one queen sized topper and one full sized one in order to get enough latex material for the entire cabin. I ordered the latex myself because the good folks at Best Foam couldn’t get a better price than I could at Sleep On Latex and they were impressed with the quality of latex I showed them.

Foam:  dense and medium, 1100$
Latex: $570
PUL fabric: (used 40% discount coupon from HobbyLobby) $78.00
Upholstery Fabric: major discounted find at Hancock Fabrics, may it rest in peace. $120
Upholstery labor: $400

Total cost: $2,268 , a savings of at least 50%. Sweet. The only labor involved for me was covering the foam mattresses with the PUL fabric. Best Foam and Fabric couldn’t do that for me because her sewing machine was for heavy duty fabrics only.

In a previous post I wrote about how I wanted to be able to lift these mattresses up with ease to get to the stowage underneath. Getting to the stowage isn’t as hard as we predicted it would be so we are forgoing that little project in favor of other, more urgent things.

The bed feels luxurious and should last 20 years with good care. We are very happy with it. Now I get to design bedding! The little grey cells, they are working their magic.

And here is a link to the last post in this series, whereby we finally get sheets.

Ta Da!

Pillows are storage for blankets and other bedding.







16 thoughts on “Aft Cabin: Fait accompli!

  1. That looks like a lot of cushion. I have plans to change the cushions on my boat. I’ve been looking at what’s available on The Foam Factory site. Thought of layering like you did. I got a roll of fabric ready, but that project is still some time away.

    Good idea with the pillow storage. I’ve seen that elsewhere and find it a good use of space.

    • Yes, It really IS a lot of cushion. And the price reflects that and is the reason I was so careful about what we chose. I considered the Foam Factory, but frankly I wasn’t sure what to order from there, and I really wanted to put my hands on whatever we were going to have before I sprung for the money. I think the layering is really the way to go. That softer piece on top just makes all the difference. Support, but with enough cushion. I imagine on your 27 foot boat this will be a much easier project!

  2. Beautiful! It looks like a comfortable bed, researching best prices really helped! And, you stuck with your color theme! Great!

    • Even though i still gulp a bit when we shell out that kind of money for things on this boat, a good bed is really a necessity. I’m liking how this cabin is shaping up and yes, the color scheme!

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