Christophe Mineau

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Rebuilding an old corner bed

Rebuilding an old corner bed

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Rebuilding an old corner bed
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Rebuildind an antique corner bed


Here is a project that goes beyond the simple restoration of an antique piece of furniture.

I had a wooden bed, family heirloom, in very poor condition and very incomplete.

I had actually kept it only for the lovely cherry wood it was made of, and not in the idea of restoring it.

This is a piece of furniture of the years 1900s, regional style of Upper Brittany in France, Chateaubriand region, made of beautiful cherry. The model is fairly standard, and plenty of copies were made on that plan.

At that time, the farmer’s houses were small and they needed to save space in the single room where usually a large family was living.

This is why the bed was pushed against a wall, or in a corner of the room. Therefore, the bed was not symmetrical. The side against the wall was much more basic than the side towards the room, which was decorated with moldings and scrolls.

The feet of the bed had transversely mounted wheels, not articulated. This allowed to draw the bed to get to the other side so that you could easily make the bed.

The bed also had a very narrow size, the dimensions of the mattress were only 110 cm x 175 cm (43"x70") and contrary to what one might think, it was a bed for 2 people!

It is often explained in Brittany that the small size of beds was justified by an ancient belief saying that lying position was that of the dead, and as we were still alive, we had to sleep in a bent position. I personally believe that the real reason was rather looking for space saving …

It appeared that we needed a new bed in the house for my son and after much hesitation, I determined to restore and transform that respectable ancestor so that it can resume the service, perhaps for a new hundred years, who knows.

Starting point

The only parts preserved from that bed were the head and the foot (identical) and the facing side.

Images of the bed before the restoration.


Treatment, dewaxing, dimantling. ..


The steps of the repairs on the the old damaged pieces.


The various modifications and recreations of missing parts:

  • Building new side pieces in two copies, extending the length to get a mattress size of 110cm x 190cm (43"x75")
  • Recreating the decoration on the former “wall side”, so that it looks the same as the other side.

Rebuilding the missing parts.


Assembly and re-mount of the bed.


Staining, sealing and waxing.

The finished bed

And here is the finished bed.

After hours spent on patina work, the effort is fully worthwhile, the wood shines like a mirror !

And the new owner is delighted !


Jean-Louis and Marie Bodier my great-grandparents
the first owners of this bed

* Feel free to ask me any questions if necessary and to comment on this article. 


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Older readers comments

Hello from PJ
By PJ    On 2016-04-02T21:05:00+01:00
Amazing restoration Christophe. The painstaking disassembly of the glued parts with hot water was very cool! I'm sure it will last another 100 or more and loved the tin type of your great grandparents at the end. Thanks for showing us how its done right! ~PJ

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