Thursday, July 25, 2013

Change Week-The Four-Poster Revisited

Photo courtesy Flickr

Our improvised four-poster bed is cobbled together from galvanized green-house couplings and large-diameter galvanized steel electrical conduit. I sent away for the hardware on a whim, laid an existing foam mattress on cedar lattice, curtained the structure with high thread-count cotton drop cloths from the hardware store, and Got Comfortable. The top is a piece of plywood secured to the conduit rails with heavy zip ties. A solid top is characteristic of an Elizabethan four-poster.

The bed was a deliberate experiment in recreating an archaic sleeping system. The first American principal rooms had a four-poster set in a corner for the dominant couple to sleep in. Two winters in, the bed has saved measurable amounts of heating oil. I stored our self-inflating air mattresses on top to insulate during the chilly months, and doing so made an instantly noticeable difference in the cozy factor.

We’re enjoying perfect Seattle summer mornings. They’re nearly chilly with fog, and the humid air carries the scents of bay and woods into the heart of town. With a window wide open, we can in effect sleep outdoors with all the comforts of a fully-equipped house. The stress of spending a summer in town vanishes under these circumstances.

The bed hangings allow infinite adjustment for privacy and warmth both summer and winter. The bed is a productive room within a room that has already paid for itself in sheer convenience. Lighting the interior with elegant Japanese tent lanterns from the Great Big Hiking Co-op makes it simple and safe to read in bed. I charge the batteries for the lanterns with a small solar unit that sits on the windowsill. A laptop turns the bed into an office/communications/media center, and I can charge that, too, with another windowsill solar unit from the Co-op.

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