Where have all the beds gone?
July 30, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

We've decided its time to buy a grown up bedroom set and have some questions I'm hoping the folks here can answer.

So my first question - why do I never see beds dating from many of the European design movements of the 19th and 20th century? What do Danes, Germans, and Austrians sleep on? No one seems to sell Scandinavian Modern, Viennese Secession or Art Deco beds. What's the deal? do they just not exist? Do beds not survive for some reason? Even when I look at places like Rud. Rasmussen they don't make anything other than day beds. None of the big online gallery types like Dansk Mobel Kunst seem to have beds either. What's the deal?

At the moment we've been contemplating some of the shaker inspired stuff that Thomas Moser makes. My question - are there other manufacturers of similar quality and craftsmanship but working in other vernaculars we should be checking out? Who would you go to if you were looking to buy very high quality wood furniture? We would be interested in seeing contemporary designs as well. More one-man gang artisan types as well, although I've been told a lot of that is the next level up in price point. Non-US makers as well - at this price point shipping is worth the money and effort.

(and my wife doesn't care for Arts&Crafts Greene&Greene, Stickley type stuff)
posted by JPD to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Design Within Reach?

Room & Board?
posted by dfriedman at 9:57 AM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: think higher quality than that. I have a bunch of DWR stuff now, we want to upgrade from that. No MDF, mostly mortise and tenon joinery, etc, etc,
posted by JPD at 9:58 AM on July 30, 2011

OK, City Joinery?

Disclosure: It's owned by my stepmother's nephew.
posted by dfriedman at 10:01 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: yeah - the def falls into the "one-man gang artisan types" I want to learn about. thanks
posted by JPD at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2011

See also this.
posted by dfriedman at 10:06 AM on July 30, 2011

late 19th/early 20th cent? isn't that the pre-DDT massive bedbug outbreak era? i would guess a lot of beds got burned. as for mid-century european? i would guess the rise of the metric system made for a bunch of odd sizes that didn't import well/made it harder to find mattresses...
posted by sexyrobot at 10:11 AM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: that explains the lack of antiques, but not even the surviving makers produce beds now. And in the case of the Scandy modern stuff, you are talking 50's -60's - so not that long ago in the grand scheme of things - I think that's post standardized mattress sizes. I mean even a place like MAK doesn't seem to have beds in their collection.

Also if it were the (plausible sounding) bed-bug thing - why is it you can easily find lots of upholstered pieces?
posted by JPD at 10:24 AM on July 30, 2011

Are you asking why you're not finding antique beds from this era? Because I'm sure thrift-store shopping, antique shops, garage sales, and craigslist would turn you up something . . .
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:07 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: I'm open to antiques. I'm open to new build in that fashion. Neither seem to exist. And while I have not gone to thrift stores I've rolled through all of the sites that seem to specialize in resale of these sorts of things.
posted by JPD at 12:45 PM on July 30, 2011

Also came in to suggest antique stores. You'll find a range, generally speaking, from 1970s to mid 1800s in a lot of stores. "Antique Store" doesn't always mean that everything is 100 years old or older.

(and my wife doesn't care for Arts&Crafts Greene&Greene, Stickley type stuff)
This is crazy talk.

posted by deborah at 12:50 PM on July 30, 2011

"What do Danes, Germans, and Austrians sleep on?"

Beds from Ikea. At least all the ones I know do. I suspect this was not the answer you were looking for.
posted by Coobeastie at 1:20 PM on July 30, 2011

Definitely try craigslist. I've lived in several cities where it was the best way to find dealers like this one who resell mid-century modern furniture. It's probably worth contacting these individuals so they can keep an eye out for what you want.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:27 PM on July 30, 2011

Where are you looking? You're not going to find headboard/footboard beds that are very big from those periods, as I'm sure you know, which is why many antique dealers don't carry beds.

Swedish Gustavian antiques in SC.
Newel's in NYC
1st Dibs
posted by Ideefixe at 2:23 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: right so click on that Newel's link and look at their Biedermeier stuff. 112 pieces. One day bed, no regular beds.

Same with first 1stdibs - there are a few vendors who specialize in Viennese Secession stuff - again, no beds.

Even ObiWan's link is actually to an American headboard.

If the answer is they didn't have decorative beds, just simple frames - I'm cool with that. I'm really curious - as stylistically I like the other case goods, and if there is something in that vein that is an option for us I'd like to see it..

Also the very high quality new build stuff, but in other vernaculars than shaker part of the question is also something I'm interested in.
posted by JPD at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2011

I had never noticed the lack of beds from the styles you're looking. My husband and I were given my father's mid-century bedroom suite. The full-sized bed consists of a headboard with built in cabinets that match the dresser & chest of drawers, two rails, and footboard. However, we're currently just using the headboard in our guest room with a queen mattress and rail frame because we haven't gotten around to purchasing rails that convert a full size to a queen size. To be honest, that room is wee bit strange in our house as it is only room with matched furniture. We have a lot of mid-century pieces scattered with modern and some antiques, but the guest room looks like a set for Mad Men.

Doing a brief amount of research, I saw that queen & king-sized beds were introduced in the late 50's (California king in 1982). Maybe the dearth of beds is due to the changes in bed size demands? A full-sized bed doesn't comfortably sleep 2 people (I may be biased b/c my husband and I are 6'-4" and 6'-0", respectively), and using twin beds in a master has definitely fallen out of fashion. I can imagine the 60's as a time when everyone was throwing out their twin size beds for queens or kings, and there were just so many replaced, no one saved them (or even considered saving them).

I did find one 1970s king size Danish modern bed on eBay, but it's from the 70's, so it's not exactly mid-century...
posted by Kronur at 3:19 AM on July 31, 2011

Maybe a bed featured at Custom Made?
posted by jeri at 9:41 PM on August 13, 2011

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