One day a rather small man walked into my store in Los Angeles and started asking me questions about iron beds. They weren’t your typical retail customer questions on …”How much?” or “What sizes do you carry”. He was much more thought provoking in his inquiry, asking where the materials originally came from to make the beds. How many people traditionally worked in the old foundries and what were the reasons for multiple colors etc. Finally he said……”Ok….I’m ready”. Now I was confused. “Ready” I said. “Yes…..I’m ready to pick out a bed”. Up until this point I really hadn’t thought he was a serious buyer and that all his questions were strictly a way to kill some time or possibly a “fact finding” mission for his wife. There are two key questions I always ask my customers when they first come in or request photo’s over our website. The first one is what style or design they like. Do they want a generic straight line bed or do they want a very fancy Victorian one. Once I establish they’re style preference …….then I have to determine what their price range is. So it was with much surprise when he described exactly all the elements. I told him that was very helpful. I then asked about a price range and he said…..”Lets not worry about price right now. I’d rather find the bed first”. Armed with those two things, finding the appropriate iron bed in my 500 plus inventory was quite easy.
It wasn’t long before he selected a great looking bed…..told me he wanted it converted to king size and wanted the finish on it to stay exactly as it was…..just touch it up to look like the rest of the old original finish. He never asked the price until I told him the bottom line. It was one of the more expensive beds I had at the time…..very unique and collectible. He gave me is address and asked that it be delivered as soon as it was ready.
On the day of the delivery, I thought it best to go along with my delivery men to make sure the installation went well. Iron beds can have little eccentricities to them that may need some minor adjustments.
He lived in the exclusive gate guarded Malibu Colony, on Malibu Beach. His house was an early colony home from the late 40’s that had been lovingly remodeled. Although beautiful inside, the rooms had a definite narrow feel to them and the stair well leading up to the upstairs master bedroom didn’t have enough room to get the bed up the stairs. Try as we did, it just wasn’t going to happen. “whatever you have to do, I want that bed in the master bedroom” he said.
He had built a new kitchen on to the back of the house and it’s roof was right under the bedroom window. So we hoisted the bed on to the roof and then on to the balcony off the bedroom.
We finally got it put together in the room, as you can see in the photo. After we got it all together he came upstairs to see how it looked. He was very pleased and shook my hand….in his hand was a $100. bill. I said thank you but that wasn’t necessary. He insisted. As I was leaving the room to go downstairs I noticed a shinny metal object acting as a doorstop. I also noticed as I past two other bedrooms that they also had the same “doorstops”……..they were the same as the oscars given out at the Academy Awards. Thinking they were pretty cool, I asked where he got them. He said they had been given to him. It just then dawned on me that they had actually been real “Oscars” that he had won. Turns out he was a very famous screen writer. With very good taste in iron beds.