Our Belgium clients special story about their search for High Quality English Handmade Reproduction Oak Furniture:
In the early sixty's, still a small boy, I had been invited to stay overnight at a beautiful old castle farm near Sherborne (Dorset).
I remember going upstairs on a stone staircase that lead to my vast bedroom. There, under a high ceiling of old heavy oak beams was my bed; an enormous four poster bed of dark carved wood and delicate bed-hangings. Several mattresses piled up on top of another made the use of the wooden platform next to the bed a necessity in order to get in.
The next thing I remember is that I went down, still embraced by the mattress, floating on soft feathers. My love for the four poster was born.
Some forty years later An and I had travelled a few times to Christies and Sotheby's in London to view the four poster beds on sale there. Some were too short, some were too fragile while others had the build-in capacity to hit your head. Most were however with Â£24,000 hammer price and more, too expensive for us that time.
Last year, on the internet, I came across a small firm in Holland that had specialized on making replica four poster beds. It was a total disillusion, nowhere near the experience of my youth.
Then we made a tour through the south and middle of England via a sequence of appointments with five British manufacturers of new four poster beds.
The first four were equally disappointing as the Dutch carpenter; cheap looks of plywood, the smell of varnish, the obvious object of mass production, all kitsch with lack of soul. It had proven to be so important indeed to go and see first, before deciding for anything!
Our last ''rendezvous'' had been in Berwick with Nick Berry.
Nick had well prepared our visit and had obtained prior permission to visit the guest-bedroom of a client for whom he had already eleven years earlier produced a bed made of solid old oak. We were stunned by its quality, we saw good professional craftsmanship there, we knew instantly that we had found our man!
It is not obvious to adapt a good antique bed to personal taste and fashion without letting yourself in with culture barbarism: Deciding for a new taylor made bed versus the antique bed has the great advantage of being able to incorporate any personal detail you put on your wish list. We for instance, desired the Swedish Hastens mattress system, so Nick Berry, designed our bed around this mattress so to speak. We also had several details in mind for the wood carvings.
* At Early Oak they listen to what you want. They think with you and make it possible.
* At all stages we had been kept current with the progress.
* We had received advice for suitable bed hangings. Nice handmade rings and iron bars were included with the bed; all very well in style.
* We got indeed our unique, made to size, first quality, true four poster bed including the soul that we had been looking for. I am convinced that after 400 years this bed will still be there.
P.W.J and A.E.L.M Bijnen-Bensdorp
(To see their bed, on our product page, click Four Poster Bed Early Tudor Style)
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