Sustainability & Innovations

Bumblebee Spaces, Much Too Expensive But…

… Inspired by Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show series that showed Mickey and friends operating in different rooms of the same shape-shifting space. — Business Insider

BumblebeeSpaces lowering a kitchen storage unit.The result is Bumblebee Spaces using the normally unused space in your home: the ceiling. Bumblebee stores your wardrobe and your bed in modular wood boxes that disappear up to the ceiling creating a mosaic of what appear to be wooden tiles. The bottoms of your storage and your bed create a warm, elegant ceiling.

That’s the better part. The wooden boxes are raised and lowered from the ceiling using an app on a smartphone, controlled by your voice or by your finger touching a picture on the screen of the module you want to be lowered. That means your storage is dependent on paying utility bills.  The larger problem is that in addition to being dependent on the electric supply, owners pay Bumblebee $200-400 a month, forever, for software and system maintenance.

The estimated cost for the system is $6,000-10,000 per room depending on size but that also replaces the cost of furniture.

So why is Bumblebee Spaces on the Affordable Cohousing website?

BumblebeeSpaces clothing storage unitBecause they have great ideas that can be implemented in low-tech with DIY. Gears and cables have been used for centuries to raise and lower everything from livestock to granite boulders. The fly systems in theaters that raise and lower sets work on the same principle. A properly weighted pully system doesn’t require Wonder Woman to operate.

For city apartments with 12-foot ceilings that are also only 12 ft. square Bumblebee is perfect. There is lots of space up there. To implement this yourself might mean putting higher ceilings in new construction or putting on a vertical extension when you buy a small house. Raising the roof two feet could almost double the amount of space available for living without expanding the footprint. Property taxes are often based on lot size.

You can see an interactive demonstration on The system even lowers the shades while lowering the bed. The San Fransisco Gate has a slide show of the various modules lowered and back in place in a Nob Hill apartment. There are a few videos on YouTube but they are very short — seconds.

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