It started as an idea for her own loft. Now, it’s the latest update to USC Village.
Veronica Matthews, a sophomore majoring in business administration, turned the steps of her bunk bed into storage space and the top step into cushioned seating. Her simple innovation has now turned into USC Housing’s new space-saving furniture system for loft-style units at USC Village.
Instead of metal ladders, the new loft beds will come with furniture informally called “Veronica” staircases, named after Matthews herself.
She said the concept was inspired by a combination of her childhood love for bunk beds and her desire to ameliorate issues of comfortability, seating and storage in the reduced-size rooms.
“When I was younger, I wondered why [bunk beds] didn’t have slides attached to them because slides would have been a great addition,” Matthews said. “Although [looking into slides] initially started as a joke, it led me to the idea of stairs.”
Matthews proposed the cabinet-staircase idea to her parents and eventually turned her vision into a reality.
“We found the person who would make the staircases on Etsy,” she said. “I didn’t need a super fancy set; I just needed something that would work for the year.”
After going through the process and acquiring the additional furniture, Matthews pitched the idea to Daniel Moran, a senior associate director for USC Village housing.
Moran supported the technology and after a few months of designing, engineering and testing prototypes, the University finally approved a design.
“We pride ourselves on being early adopters of new technologies and are always looking for ways to improve our amenities in USC Housing,” Moran said. “When we saw the reaction to the ‘Veronica’ [staircase] during our USC Housing tour last November, it was obvious that this idea was what we needed to take an unpopular unit and vastly improve it.”
According to Moran, the metal ladders being replaced will be sent to the manufacturers for repurposing to support the University’s efforts to avoid sending furniture to landfills.
“I appreciate that USC Housing realized that the original loft furniture was problematic and chose to swap it out,” said Jessica Milton, a junior who previously lived in a loft.
Moran added that the new loft design has been a hit with freshmen touring USC Village.
“We had never had a reaction like that before in the decade we have been taking freshmen on tours of upperclassmen housing units,” Moran said.