Greene and Greene: Master the Details
Perfect the classic cloud lift and ebony accents while building this iconic bed
Synopsis: If you are an admirer of beds designed by Charles and Henry Greene for the Gamble House in Pasadena, Calif., you’ll love this queen-size version. There’s a lot to like about the way the cloud lifts lighten the mass of the bed and the ebony plugs and splines pop against the cherry bed parts. The cloud lifts might seem difficult, but you can cut them with little trouble at the bandsaw. There are great techniques for fitting the spindles between the top and middle rail, and fitting the mitered top rail between the two legs. Stepped mortises in the top rail make it possible to hide the spindle’s top shoulder, so you have to worry only about a tight shoulder on the middle rail. And fitting the top rail to the legs when they’re dry-fit with the lower rails gives you a solid and square assembly to work from.
I’m a big fan of Arts and Crafts furniture, so when it came time to build my daughter her first big-girl bed, I looked at a lot of beds in the style. But I returned time and again to beds designed by Charles and Henry Greene for the Gamble House in Pasadena, Calif. The design features the Greenes’ signature cloud lifts, and ebony plugs and splines that pop against the cherry parts. Though classic, the design fits well in a modern setting, including a little girl’s room.
For this article, I made a queen-size version of the bed. The cloud lifts might seem difficult, but I’ll show you how to bandsaw them and how to make the ebony plugs. The biggest challenges are fitting the spindles between the cloud-lift steps in the rails, and fitting the mitered top rail between the posts. I have…
Get the Full-Size Plan
CAD-drawn plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.