Situation: During a routine visit to a three-unit DC townhouse at which I served as property manager, the studio apartment tenant expressed discomfort with sleeping in close proximity to a radiator.
Task: The tenant’s requirement was simple: provide a radiator cover that would divert heat away from adjacent bed. During our conversation, the tenant also noted that the room in general had a lack of storage space for his personal belongings.
Action: In response, I designed and built a 3-in-1 system (radiator cover, hamper, and shelving) .
The custom casework has four assembly components: 1.) Primary wood frame surrounding the radiator and creates structural support for hamper and shelves 2.) Two “skin frames” that the horizontal wood slats are fastened to 3.) Horizontal wood slats , and 4.) Top surface. The primary purpose of multiple assembly components was for ease of construction and disassembly .
The primary frame and two skin frames were built using off-the-shelf birch plywood. The horizontal wood slats and top surface were made using select 1x pine boards. All pine boards were finished with a custom dye and stain application to match the existing mahogany paneling finish found in the room.
Unlike typical radiator covers which evenly diffuses heat, my cover was built to direct most of the hot air under the bed. Specifically, I implemented a skin of 2” tall wood slats with the top five slats (at level with bed) positioned at 1/4” apart and the bottom six slats with a 1” separation. In addition, two holes were incorporated into the wood slats covering the radiator to provide access to control valves. (
Result: Project was built and installed in fall of 2012 just as tenant began using radiator heat.
Location: Washington, DC, US
My Role: Designer & Builder
Additional Credits: Photo Credit: Ben Powell Photography