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Sketch out a design for the seating platforms, which are simple plywood boxes. We built two platforms, with one taller than the other for a stair-step effect.
Cut the lumber with a circular saw and assemble the platform frames using wood glue and a nail gun. Make sure all corners are square before nailing, then drive drywall screws into each joint to add strength. For each platform, cut three or four joists from 2" x 6" lumber and install, using a framing nailer. These joists will help support the weight of furniture and people.
If installing new carpet, remove the old carpet before installing the platforms. Use a pry bar to remove the baseboard molding, then vacuum the old carpet thoroughly to cut down on dust. Use a utility knife to cut the carpet into eighteen 24" strips and roll it up. Roll up and remove the old carpet pad and tackless strips. Check the subfloor and use 1-1/2" screws to secure any loose floorboards.
Position the frames, making sure the taller platform is behind the shorter one. To install, place wood blocks flush against the inside of the platform walls and use a masonry bit to drill through the blocks and into the concrete floor. Follow up with masonry screws. Also use screws to attach the platform frames to the wall studs and to each other. Make sure to install the platforms so the joists are toward the top (Image 1).
Once the frames are secure, position the plywood tops and attach with screws. For a more sophisticated look, Amy and the homeowners built the tops with a slight overhang (Image 2).
Amy and Karl brought in professionals to help with the carpet installation. However, homeowners who want to tackle a small carpeting job on their own can rent the specialized tools needed. If the room is too wide to be covered by a single piece of carpet, bring in a pro for carpet seams that will stand up over time.
Install tackless carpet-installation strips around the edges of the room, positioning them about 1/2" from the walls, with the sharp tacks pointing toward the walls. Since this subfloor is concrete, Karl used concrete nails to secure the strips to the floor.
Note: These are called "tackless" strips because the tacks are built in, instead of the installer driving individual tacks.
Cover the floor with carpet padding. Let the padding overlap the tackless strips, then staple it to the floor and trim the padding with a utility knife so it sits flush with the strips. Use duct tape to tape any seams together.
Unroll the carpet and then use an expandable stretcher to stretch the carpet from wall to wall, tucking the edges in with a stair tool (a flat tool that looks like a putty knife). The tackless strips will hold the carpet in place without tacks or nails. Work down the length of the room until the entire floor is stretched and secured.
Use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet around the platforms. Work around the platforms, hitting the knee kicker with a knee to stretch the carpet (Image 1). To carpet the platforms themselves, staple the carpet directly to the wood with a staple gun (Image 2).
Use a utility knife to cut away excess carpet as needed. Finish the carpet installation by adding wood trim around the room and along the platform.
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