Replacement Bed

So I’m replacing my bed.

Big whoop, you say.

BUT IT IS. It SO IIIIIIS. If you know me at all, you probably know that I have had this bed, this full size bed handmade in solid maple, since I was ten years old. It’s a weird bed – bedskirts don’t fit it because of the way it’s made, and it is so high that you really have to “climb” into bed. I used to keep a little stool in the bedroom so our toddler-age children could get up onto the bed with us.

This bed used to be my dad’s. Before it belonged to my dad, it belonged to some person or persons unknown whose ancestors probably made it out of necessity, and the ancestors did as good a job as they possibly could on it, smoothing the wood and making it pretty, and the inheritor(s) then looked at it, circa 1951, and said, “Good Lord, who on earth needs a freakin’ ROPE BED?? Better sell it to this nice lady with four kids.”

These are the pieces of my old bed. See the holes where the rope goes?
These are the pieces of my old bed. See the holes where the rope goes?

If you have never seen a rope bed, well, here ya go. The way these were supposed to work is that you attached a rope at the head or the foot, and then snaked it through all the little holes, like lacing up a shoe: head to foot to head to foot. Then you put your mattress tick on top of the ropes. But what do ropes do? Of course, they stretch. So if you had a rope bed, eventually you were going to wind up with your butt on the floor. This is why people started connecting headboards and footboards with siderails instead, and laying slats across so that the mattress wouldn’t fall through. Smart, see?

So my grandmother bought it, and had siderails made specially for it. Now, more than 60 years later, the metal pieces of the siderails have dug into the wood of the head- and footboard so that now they don’t fit squarely, and the bed creaks ominously, rocking back and forth, when you crawl into it, or, if you are The CEO, when you HEAVE YOUR BODY OVER IN A VICIOUS WHIRL, SEIZING ALL THE COVERS IN THE SAME MOTION.

It is scary.

Furthermore, we have been unable to find anybody skilled enough and/or willing to repair the bed.

So I looked at replacing it. But it took forevvver, because 1) nobody but nobody makes really nice bedroom furniture out of maple now. There’s boring plain “natural maple,” which looks like BREAD instead of wood, or if you go “vintage maple” you get this weird orange-tinged wood that looks like somebody baked orange Play-Doh, which was apparently common in the 1940s.  Nice Maple, the color you get when you take the time to hand-rub tung oil (no, not tongue oil, that’s gross) into maple wood, looks sunny and golden. Like honey, or light maple syrup for that matter. All my other bedroom furniture, except my bedside cabinet which is oak, is Nice Maple.  Matching it up was gonna be tough.

Reason 2) is that I told The CEO how much it was likely to cost to buy a new bed, and his head literally hit the ceiling.

Well, no, not literally literally.  But still. He was aghast.

So. After much searching, I found a sort-of-nice-looking bed for cheapish on the Internetses. Head-and-footboard, standard metal rails, adjustable from full to queen. (Which was good, because The CEO did not want to buy a new mattress as well, even though the mattress on our bed I BOUGHT MYSELF before we got married… 21 years ago… $600 well-spent, if you ask me. It’s still comfortable.)  Anyway, it was purportedly “solid hardwood,” but the company wouldn’t tell me what kind of hardwood, with a finish they called “Salem Maple.”

It is not quite the same honey color as my dresser and chest of drawers, but it is close to Nice Maple, perhaps a bit paler, with very little visible wood grain. I was distressed, however, to find a big ding on the footboard. I reported my complaint (the gouge was not noticeable until I tried to put the bed together, and then it was really noticeable!). The company has now shipped me an undamaged footboard in exchange for the old one, and for the first time in 35 years I have a new bed.

New bed. Not too different from the old bed.
New bed. Not too different from the old bed.

It looks pretty good. I bought risers for it, because it was 6-7 inches below where (at least in my mind) a bed should be, practically like sleeping on the floor. Now it’s maybe an inch or so lower than I’m used to, but it’s quite manageable. And yeah, the risers are 5″ tall ugly black plastic. But they work. I have only stumbled out of bed once, when my foot came to the floor quicker than I expected.

And we sleep okay in it. The mattress is still in good shape, and the bed frame does not move when we move.

Pray God it doesn’t fall apart.


8 thoughts on “Replacement Bed”

  1. I know what you mean about old maple. Ah-huh. And it’s hard to part with things that once belonged to (in my case) now deceased family members.

    But the mattress? The mattress needs to go, despite the thrift of the CEO and despite that “it still feels comfortable.” With options like sleep-number beds and posturepedic/temputpedic and that ilk, you will.not.believe. how much better you sleep. I’m tellin’ ya.

    SOTD: Yves-Rocher lilas

    1. What we really probably need to do is ditch Bookworm’s mattress, which was the el-cheapo $200 one we bought to be the “guest room bed” mattress 20 years ago, because that one is really soft, and put our mattress on her bed (c’mon, she’s young and she’s hardly ever home!). And then buy a new queen mattress for us, because this new bed is adjustable and I have queen rails as well.

      I am not having any trouble sleeping or pain when I get up – but then this mattress was an “extra-super-supreme firm” mattress, and my MIL thinks it is, I quote, “hard as a rock.” Sadly, The CEO’s parents NEVER, I mean NEVER replaced their mattresses. NEVER. Soft rules the beds over there.

  2. Add me in as another pro-new mattress voice! When we married, we installed my husband’s newfangled high tech mattress, and it sleeps SO MUCH nicer than mine did. Mine was even pretty new, but super cheap and low tech.

    I’ve been fantasizing about King bed for sometime – I know, ridiculous, but it’s not in our budget at this point. Heck, I’m not even sure it would fit in our bedroom. I’m using the bed frame that was my mother’s when she was single – and I believe it was my great grandmother’s before that. Probably an early slatted bed. IT’s stained to look ebony or mahogany. Not sure what the wood really is.

    1. You know, now I am really glad I spent $600 on the thing in 1991!! And got the extremely firm one.

      We did buy new mattresses for the boys’ beds about two years ago, and they ARE super comfortable…

  3. Hi there Mals86,
    That must have been a wrench to lose old faithful. I find it hard to trade in the furniture too. My queen bed base is the one my parents bought me for my 16th birthday, it’s not beautiful but it is durable and suitable. On the other hand, I’d had my mattress for about 15 years and Jin put his foot firmly down that it was time for a new one. I know you can’t get it over there but ours is called Silent Partner and I don’t even know there’s someone else in the bed, no rocking, heaving, movement. Just sweet peaceful and lately dreamless sleep.
    It is WAY thincker than the old mattress so I feel like I’m climbing up onto the bed. It may help your height worries too.
    Portia xx

    1. Oh, the bed is going back to my parents’ house, and my dad thinks he can find someone to repair the side rails – so I feel better about that, anyway!

      The mattress really does need to be replaced. Think I’ll check out Silent Partner and see if it’s available here…

  4. Wow, you had a real rope bed? Did you know that because of this type of bed the phrase “sleep tight” was coined? now you do 😉
    I read about this in a Bill Bryson book (at home, a short history of private life) and remember wondering if this kind of bed still existed. Obviously still does. Cool!

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