architect: Carter + Burton Architecture, Berryville, Va.

project: Yoga Studio, Clarke County, Va.

detail: In-floor beds

Architect Jim Burton's clients for this home yoga studio in Clarke County, Va., wanted more room for overnight guests. They'd bought their 1,300-square-foot residence from Burton, AIA, who had designed it as his own first house. County zoning laws didn't allow them to add more bedrooms, but the rules did permit an outbuilding of up to 600 square feet. So they and Burton decided to create a yoga space. Inspired by the main house's ultraefficient plan, the clients came up with the idea of embedding sleeping berths into the studio's floor.

Burton designed three boxes just over 6 feet, 8 inches in length to fit beneath the recycled poplar floorboards, above the plywood subfloor. He slipped them between the floor joists, fanning them out in a radial pattern to mirror the slight curve of the studio's wall of windows. Custom mattresses fill the boxes and are each concealed by a pair of interlocking floor panels, which the owners open by pulling up on stainless steel handles. Controlled by a low-tech wood track, the panels slip down into slots flanking each bed.

Strong, custom-made carbon fiber bands wrap over the mattresses when the berths are closed, providing necessary support and stability to the floor above them. “To do yoga, you can't have flexibility in the floor,” Burton says. “This way, you can do headstands with no problem.”

general contractor/woodworker: Charles H. Snead Co., Boyce, Va.

materials: Recycled poplar, LVL floor joists, plywood, stainless steel, carbon fiber

photography: Daniel Afzal