Tagging on to the recent thread about spare bedroom layouts...

I can't imagine I'm the only person living in an apartment.  Does anybody have any interesting "space saver" solutions for having trains set up in an apartment or smaller living area?  Spare bedrooms aren't always an option in an apartment situation, so some creative thinking is necessary (especially with O gauge trains).  Please share!

The free time I recently fell into due to the "shelter in place" situation many of us have been under allowed me to work on cleaning up a project I started a couple months back.  There's always a bit of dread when I have the desire to run trains as it takes quite a bit of work to unpack everything, set it up and then repack it all when I'm done so we're not tripping over it in the apartment.  I purchased a queen sized "storage bed" from IKEA which has a mattress frame mounted on a sort of hinge near the headboard which allows it to swing up out of the bed-frame revealing an approximately 5'x7' storage area that's maybe 12-14" tall.  I also found a cheapish area rug that approximately fit in the space and then set up a floor layout on that.  It's nothing special, but it's nice being able to simply plug in the transformer and run trains whenever I have the desire without having to mess around with packing/unpacking things.  It's really only big for my O-27 stuff and of course my Pre/Postwar Lionel stuff, so that's obviously the "theme" I went with when I decorated.  I'll probably add to it and rearrange some stuff, but it's enjoyable as it is for now.

Here's a video I put together with some stuff running over the past week and a half.

 

Last edited by SantaFe158
Original Post

Jake , that is fantastic! Nice postwar collection being run and enjoyed!

thanks for sharing and motivating. I lived in small NYC apartments all of my childhood and most of my adult life.

in my childhood days the apartment was so small that I had my trains in a box under the single bed. As much as I wanted a 4X8 piece of plywood, that was not a possibility.  Once a weeek I would make a deal with my mother that I would clean and vacuume the apartment for living room floor time for train running. Great reminder of how much joy in a loop or two.

enjoy the possibilities.

Leroof.

Leroof posted:

Jake , that is fantastic! Nice postwar collection being run and enjoyed!

thanks for sharing and motivating. I lived in small NYC apartments all of my childhood and most of my adult life.

in my childhood days the apartment was so small that I had my trains in a box under the single bed. As much as I wanted a 4X8 piece of plywood, that was not a possibility.  Once a weeek I would make a deal with my mother that I would clean and vacuume the apartment for living room floor time for train running. Great reminder of how much joy in a loop or two.

enjoy the possibilities.

Leroof.

It's certainly doable to have a train layout, it just takes some creativity.  It's certainly not the replica Postwar dealer type layout that I'd eventually like to have, but it gives enough of the postwar feel and it's nice just being able to run trains.

Even when I was still living at my parents house we had a similar situation to what you had with the floor layout.  Most of the time my stuff was packed away other than at Christmastime.  My mom had the advantage that I usually had to vacuum the floor before I set trains up anyway due to the shedded fur from our dogs. 

Somewhere I  have a CTT article featuring a father and his 2 sons, living in an apartment with a Murphy style layout that was stored upright out of the way,  but lowered to run and enjoy.

I remember it was 3' deep, maybe 8' x 8' table.  Every accessory and scenic detail  was fastened to table so all they had to so was take engine's & cars off and on from bookcase storage.

Quite ingenious  idea. 

When I find the article I'll post date of publication, magazine in basement library. 

My first (adult) layout in an apartment was a carpet layout. I didn't lock my door during the day. A young couple (mistakenly) walked into my apartment and saw this. The young man said "wow, look at the trains", then they immediately knew they were in the wrong apartment.

DCP00129

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I've shared this before. This is my layout in my apartment dining area. I have a cool wife and visitors really like this.

John

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Great layouts guys!  John, your layout definitely has a little taste of what I eventually want to do with a small layout when I move on to my next place in the fall.

Very nice. Am I correct that this layout lives under the bed? Is this a guest bed or your bed? I would worry a bit about dust and dirt- you know how it is under a bed. I wonder if you could rig a sort of bed skirt to protect it when the bed is down.

Some surfing of Euro sites for "rabbit warrens" may inspire you. The European's tend to have smaller living quarters and really pack it in, although most is on smaller gauge layouts.

I have 6 tiny layouts using 0-27. 2 are hand bent down to 0-21&o-19. None measures more than 31" anywhere.   3 are on one 30x30" table (around bottom of legs, & one halfway up, & one on the top. (plus a 4.5x9, + a ceiling loop...and more )

I'm ready for a nursing home train wise

 

Will posted:

Very nice. Am I correct that this layout lives under the bed? Is this a guest bed or your bed? I would worry a bit about dust and dirt- you know how it is under a bed. I wonder if you could rig a sort of bed skirt to protect it when the bed is down.

Thanks!  Yes it's under my bed.  It might be hard to tell in the video but the wooden bed frame actually goes down all the way to the carpet and has three MDF board panels that cover the floor inside.  I have a low pile area rug on top of all that.  The mattress sits on a separate frame up higher in the main bed frame and that mattress frame is what swings up within the main box of the bed frame.  Although there is a slight gap around the perimeter between the mattress frame and the main bed frame when lowered, my bedding covers that so it's been pretty reasonable as far as dust containment goes.

Adriatic posted:

Some surfing of Euro sites for "rabbit warrens" may inspire you. The European's tend to have smaller living quarters and really pack it in, although most is on smaller gauge layouts.

I have 6 tiny layouts using 0-27. 2 are hand bent down to 0-21&o-19. None measures more than 31" anywhere.   3 are on one 30x30" table (around bottom of legs, & one halfway up, & one on the top. (plus a 4.5x9, + a ceiling loop...and more )

I'm ready for a nursing home train wise

 

I never thought to look up different terms for such a layout, thanks for the tip!

 

Greg, I'm not sure if it's just my computer or not, but there seems to be a problem with the photos you intended to post as I'm just getting blank boxes.

Last edited by SantaFe158
SantaFe158 posted:
Adriatic posted:

Some surfing of Euro sites for "rabbit warrens" may inspire you. The European's tend to have smaller living quarters and really pack it in, although most is on smaller gauge layouts.

I have 6 tiny layouts using 0-27. 2 are hand bent down to 0-21&o-19. None measures more than 31" anywhere.   3 are on one 30x30" table (around bottom of legs, & one halfway up, & one on the top. (plus a 4.5x9, + a ceiling loop...and more )

I'm ready for a nursing home train wise

 

I never thought to look up different terms for such a layout, thanks for the tip!

 

Greg, I'm not sure if it's just my computer or not, but there seems to be a problem with the photos you intended to post as I'm just getting blank boxes.

Hmm...they are showing fine on my pc and laptop using Firefox.   Let me post them a different way.

Regardless, thanks for the heads up.

-Greg

Let's try this again:

I wish I would have taken pictures of my friend and fellow forumite Dave Fortney's 4X16 layout he had in his prior condo as it was really neat with lots of Menard's buildings.  Creativity ran in his family.  Here are some pictures of his brother Ron's layout.  Unfortunately, Ron left us far too soon.  In his memory:

20161112_14551720161112_14404720161112_14452820161112_14413220161112_144539

-Greg

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Glad to hear it.  He did pack in a lot into a small space.  It was neat to see how he used the tops of his dressers to serve as benchwork.   I wish I had taken more pictures - it would have made a good article for the magazine.

-Greg

Greg Houser posted:

Let's try this again:

I wish I would have taken pictures of my friend and fellow forumite Dave Fortney's 4X16 layout he had in his prior condo as it was really neat with lots of Menard's buildings.  Creativity ran in his family.  Here are some pictures of his brother Ron's layout.  Unfortunately, Ron left us far too soon.  In his memory:

-Greg

Dressers as benchwork.  Whatever it takes to get things done

SantaFe158 posted:
Will posted:

Very nice. Am I correct that this layout lives under the bed? Is this a guest bed or your bed? I would worry a bit about dust and dirt- you know how it is under a bed. I wonder if you could rig a sort of bed skirt to protect it when the bed is down.

Thanks!  Yes it's under my bed.  It might be hard to tell in the video but the wooden bed frame actually goes down all the way to the carpet and has three MDF board panels that cover the floor inside.  I have a low pile area rug on top of all that.  The mattress sits on a separate frame up higher in the main bed frame and that mattress frame is what swings up within the main box of the bed frame.  Although there is a slight gap around the perimeter between the mattress frame and the main bed frame when lowered, my bedding covers that so it's been pretty reasonable as far as dust containment goes.

Genius. Can you post some pictures of the whole bed/set up both up and down?

I just went back to look- the black is the MDF on the floor. Hey you sould add scenic panels to the MDF. It's a secret world under there.

What size is the mattress? I may have to consider this.

Last edited by Will
Will posted:
SantaFe158 posted:
Will posted:

Very nice. Am I correct that this layout lives under the bed? Is this a guest bed or your bed? I would worry a bit about dust and dirt- you know how it is under a bed. I wonder if you could rig a sort of bed skirt to protect it when the bed is down.

Thanks!  Yes it's under my bed.  It might be hard to tell in the video but the wooden bed frame actually goes down all the way to the carpet and has three MDF board panels that cover the floor inside.  I have a low pile area rug on top of all that.  The mattress sits on a separate frame up higher in the main bed frame and that mattress frame is what swings up within the main box of the bed frame.  Although there is a slight gap around the perimeter between the mattress frame and the main bed frame when lowered, my bedding covers that so it's been pretty reasonable as far as dust containment goes.

Genius. Can you post some pictures of the whole bed/set up both up and down?

I just went back to look- the black is the MDF on the floor. Hey you sould add scenic panels to the MDF. It's a secret world under there.

What size is the mattress? I may have to consider this.

I'll see what I can do for pictures.  It's the queen sized "MALM" storage bed from IKEA and they do have pictures of it on their website if you wanted an idea of what it looks like in various configurations.  It looks like it comes in a double/full size as well.  For safety purposes I'd recommend coming up with some sort of safety prop to keep the mattress in the raised position while working under it.  I haven't done that yet but I'm most likely going to in the future since the lift mechanism relies on gas struts to hold it up.  They're very powerful struts, but things happen and I wouldn't want it coming down on me unexpectedly.

 

The MDF panels are actually white on on the top side and aren't visible in my photos/videos as they're underneath the area rug I have in there.  What I think you're seeing is the actual bed frame which is about 2 inches thick on each side and comes all the way down to the floor.  You could certainly make some form of scenery panel to cover the MDF board panels (or do without the MDF completely).

Last edited by SantaFe158

CTT magazine  July 2017

Article on 5'2" x 10' that folds away into a cabinet on wall that is 12"  deep x 7'6" tall.  I can mail you copies if you desire.

Jushavnfun posted:

CTT magazine  July 2017

Article on 5'2" x 10' that folds away into a cabinet on wall that is 12"  deep x 7'6" tall.  I can mail you copies if you desire.

Thanks for sharing, I'll have to look that one up again.  I think I probably have a copy around here somewhere as that layout does sound familiar.  Folding away is definitely an interesting concept, although I'm sure somewhat challenging depending on the complexity of the layout.

TedW posted:

This is one of the nicest loft layouts I’ve seen.  Unfortunately, no longer active, I understand.  But might give you an idea or two.

Manhattan apartment

That is indeed a very nice one.  Thanks for sharing!

Well done Jake. That's a very nice layout in a small space and it shows your creativity in planning. Great video work as well!

TJ

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