In the South, we take our porch time seriously. It is hallowed ground, where the pace of life slows down. Beverages are sipped, bestsellers are read, and friends reconnect. In such a place, something as simple as a really good nap cures all that ails.
With this thought in mind, Preston Stone built his first bedswing in 1990. “Over the years, I had seen all kinds of different swings, hammocks, benches—even mattresses sitting up in trees,” he says. “So I thought, why not make a hanging bed? The first swing was a labor of love. I had no machines and had to chisel it myself. It took about two weeks to finish.”
The labor of love was hung from the verandah of the Stones’ Mount Pleasant home, immediately becoming the family’s favorite gathering place. When Stone made a few more bedswings as gifts for friends, word of mouth spread. Soon, he and his wife, Barbara, launched their unique, homegrown company, The Original Charleston Bedswing, in 1992.
“From the very beginning, our mission with The Original Charleston Bedswing was to focus on unmatched product quality and flawless customer service, to be the trusted source for designers, builders and homeowners alike who know when they purchase an Original Charleston Bedswing, they are getting the real thing,” Barbara Stone says.
The wood used to construct an Original Charleston Bedswing is guaranteed topgrade “select” mahogany or cypress, made in a factory that for generations has specialized in exterior woodworking, trim and shutters. Using a special computer-controlled wood router, which is extremely precise, the bedswing components are cut and the pieces put together by hand. Even the slats for the seats are made of the same select wood. “With other swing replicas you might find pine or plywood in the seat slats, but not on ours,” Stone says.
To customize seat height, the bedswings hang from adjustable chains. The chains clamp to an eyebolt and shackle positioned on the swing arms. The shackles are easily opened by a single person, allowing for swift removal of the bedswing should inclement weather occur.
Customization options are virtually endless. The swing comes in two sizes, “Original” and “Mini.” Finishes range from a clear-coat to a custom paint color. “The finish process is the same used on exterior shutters,” Barbara Stone explains. “Shutter paint is incredibly durable and we have never had a situation where the finish wore off.”
The marine-grade cushions are constructed of reticulated fiber designed to repel water. In extreme situations, a hurricane for example, they allow water to flow straight through. These fade-resistant fabrics are soft, durable, easily spot-cleaned and a designer’s dream. Only your imagination limits the number of one-of-a-kind looks you can achieve by mixing patterns and piping.
Purchasing online or over the phone is easy, and the Original Charleston Bedswing is offered by many architects and interior designers as well as by local retailers who are listed on the website. Orders are processed same-day and shipped within four to six weeks across the United States. Stone encourages customers to call with questions. “We are happy to speak with any customer, anytime,” he says.
“Our company is special. When you hang an Original Charleston Bedswing in your home, you are hanging a custom-designed piece of furniture of the highest quality, intended to last a lifetime, or even longer,” Barbara Stone says. “We bring the Southern charm and comfort of the Lowcountry lifestyle to your special space, in whatever corner of this country you call home.”
Michelle Thompson is a writer in Mount Pleasant. Visit michellemariethompson.net.