The Cross House

A Bed in the Parlor???????

If you look through an 1890s furniture catalog you will find that it abounds with ads for…vanishing beds.

These are beds which, during the day, looked like an ordinary piece of furniture. Like a low armoire. But they would wondrously unfold to reveal a bed.

In an age when people had a lot of children, and when people had a LOT of relatives, and when people were used to having a LOTS of visitors and overnight guests, having a lot of extra beds would make sense.


I was delighted to find such a contraption in a local antique store! The minute I saw it I knew just what it was! And I was SO excited!


The front effortlessly pulls down to reveal a folded bed. Another pull…


…and the bed fully opens. There is a seemingly original flexible springy base, which a mattress would go on. There is no hard metal bar in the center like was common to sofa beds for decades. With the right mattress the bed should be comfortable.


While I was giddy at finding this history curiosity, I did not intend to buy it.

But…but…I now think I know where to put it.


The NE corner of the parlor is currently empty. A wall-mounted flat panel TV is planned, with some sort of console table under to hold the DVD player and stuff.


But now I wonder if the bed thingy would work in the NE corner? The TV could sit on top of it, and it would be nice to have an extra bed to put a visitor for the night. I would only have to move the one chair to make room for the unfolded bed.

The bed thingy seems 1890s to me, and maybe the Great Bo can confirm this.

Tomorrow I will measure the bed to see if it will fit.

So, stay tuned!


16 Responses to A Bed in the Parlor???????

  1. The antique murphy type bed surely would be something to talk about! An impressive piece. And practical! Although for stay-overs, a few army cots in the attic or basement would also suffice if guests insisted on staying over πŸ™‚

  2. I LOVE Murphy beds! They’re so cool! The finish on that one is a little dark for my taste, but stylistically, I think you’re right on the money as far as being in line with the build date of the house give or take a few years.

    Oh, and, by the way, are you missing any interior door hardware? I ran across these, and thought you might like to see them πŸ™‚

  3. The piece is beautiful and would look great in your parlor.

    But, Ross, sorry, there is no way that I am sleeping on that bed thingy when I come to visit. It looks dreadfully uncomfortable!

  4. This is outside my area of expertise, but my gut reaction is closer to turn of the century. Not that it matters – it isn’t like people moved into a house and never bought another piece of furniture. Fits in the story of the house just fine. Fun!

    • Bo, you are correct again!

      I looked again at the bed today and it has a patent date of…1900!

      If I do buy such a contraption I really want one from the early 1890s.

  5. I saw that too, the last time I was in town, but I wasn’t brave enough to open it. I think it would look lovely in that corner.

  6. Would you need portieres to give your guest some privacy?

    I really need to get my mind out of the gutter but between Barbara Streisand singing “Isn’t this the height of nonchalance, putting beds in restaurants” and that book about that reclusive NE 19th C poet letting her brother and his “natural wife” carry on in her parlor, I’m afraid the images just won’t go away.

  7. Yes!!!

    In that age travel was slow and expensive. If you traveled a long distance to visit family, you stayed for weeks, not just the weekend. And a day trip could turn into overnight visit if the weather turned bad.

    A great thing about not having an open floor plan is that you can close those wonderful pocket doors and the parlor transforms into a private room.

  8. Love the hide-a-bed, but looking at the recent photos, frankly I’m rather distracted. I spy with my little eye…


    You got the electricity done! Awesome, Ross!

    (Oh, and the other radiator is in place! πŸ™‚ I sure hope you invited someone else to help move it.)

  9. The hide-a-bed looks very interesting- but isn’t your house gigantic? If you have a visitor, couldn’t they sleep in a bedroom, instead of in the parlor???

    • A reasonable question! But…

      The Cross House has only three bedrooms. Three large bedrooms!

      There is also a “sewing” room on the second floor, which could be a bedroom.

      But I will be using two bedrooms, and the sewing room, for my offices. The third bedroom will be my bedroom.

      • What’s on your third floor?? I’m hoping to turn remodel my third floor, and put in a bathroom, so it’s more welcoming and usable.

  10. I love this post! I HAVE one of these! My Mom bought it at the Covered Bridge Fesitval in Parke County Indiana. I don’t know exactly from where/who. When my parents moved into a house in Florida, Mom told me, go thru the house here and pick out what I wanted. I got the small hall tree and the “dresser bed” as she called it. The foam mattress she had on it had dry rotted so I found a piece of 4″foam at a surplus store. I cut it to fit. The bed is actually a 3/4 I think. Nearly every kid that’s spent the night here, has opted to sleep there, rather than in the guest room! LOL It fascinates them. A few years ago for a class reunion, I already had ppl in the guest room when another asked if they could stay here. She claimed it was very comfortable!

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.