Sleep Like a King: Breathtaking Beds by Barlas Baylar

While the fingers of both my hands might suffice to enumerate the number of times I’ve sung the praises of solid wood herein, they might as easily not. As readers will well recall, I often make the claim that the virtues of said material/methodology are bountiful and varied. One need only consult last week’s posts (Eric Manigian’s Enso Table and Benton Custom), or last month’s (Bruce Marsh Designs), or even last year’s (Atelier Writing Desk) for a quick refresher.

Bed. Designed by Barlas Baylar of Hudson Furniture.

Whatever accolades I heaped upon the former goes yet again for New York’s Hudson Furniture Inc., owner Barlas Baylar’s venue for expressing his profound “respect for the natural forms of trees and inherent grain of wood with well defined organic lines and geometric forms using traditional joinery techniques and hand rubbed oil finishes.” As with most manufacturers working in solid wood, Hudson’s creations begin with the bittersweet majesty of a slowly expiring tree. Working exclusively with dead or dying lumber, Baylar’s slabs are “domestically sourced from either salvaged trees or wind/storm damaged trees. The trees have an average life span of 250-300 years. When these trees die, they gradually do so from the crest to the roots. The farmers or the tree owners thus have to remove these trees as they might cause damage to houses, other trees, or outlying areas.” Thusly identified, Hudson harvests species like Claro Walnut, Black Walnut, Myrtle, Jasmine, Acacia, Satinwood and Ebonized Pine and gives them a second life by preserving them as stunning works of utilitarian art.





While the manufacturer turns these solid slabs into all manner of furniture (including dining tables, end tables, benches, and chairs), as well as accessories (mirrors and decorative sculptures—even a handful of mind-bending show pieces of petrified wood), my eye is particularly drawn to the roster of solid wood bed frames and headboards, each of which is an homage to the grandeur of giant trees.

These six models (four in Claro Walnut, one in Teak, and one in Cherry) each feature oversized headboards and expansive frames. And fittingly (the gorgeous frames are necessarily obscured by a mattress, after all) the focus is on the former. Four of the models showcase the natural contours of wild wood, displaying prominent knots, fluctuating grains, and asynchronous growth patterns to excellent effect; while the remaining two are somewhat more refined, emphasizing the expert joinery that has pared these organic shapes into sharply geometrical forms.

But whether the chosen shape is organic and unwieldy or clean-lined and honed, the aesthetic is the same: these are big, bold pieces to dominate a room, to take the breath from passersby and conjure up images of Kings and Queens. With my contemporary sensibility, the first such Royal I envision is the unkempt yet all-powerful Monarch from the Warner Bros./Bugs Bunny franchise, ever at devouring giant turkey legs with unfettered abandon. But more refined historical flashes ultimately prevail: I see Alexander, conqueror of Greece; and Agamemnon, decorated chief of the Achaean fleet that vanquished Troy; and Beowulf, slayer of Grendel, first archetype of monsters; or even Cleopatra, savvy manipulator of the might of Rome. Any one of these historical powerhouses would have acknowledged the aesthetic grandeur of a Hudson Bed, deeming the repository of repose a right and fitting tribute.

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