— Essentials —

Whose Bed Are You Sleeping In?

Chinese Bed Chamber
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The only photo not in storage... 35mm. Wish you could see the entire room!
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You’ve heard of statement necklaces? I lived in a house with a statement bedroom that was way ahead of its time. The bedroom was one of the first things you saw when you walked through the front door, and people were drawn to it like a magnet. The kingsize bed and its rolled headboard, curved overhead canopy and bedside compartments were made entirely from Honduran mahogany and were built into the house. While most bedrooms are intimate and private, this one was so big and on display, it was often the center of the house.

If that bedroom could’ve talked, I imagine its racy stories would have surpassed Fifty Shades of Grey.

Perhaps that’s because the house was once a gambling casino and a house of prostitution, then spy headquarters for Nazi sympathizers during World War II. Unusual people and things happened in that bedroom. I’ll tell you a few…

A psychic insisted on giving me a reading in that bed, and one of the San Antonio Spurs used to come and sit on the sofa in front of the bedroom window and watch the world go by while he waited for the dealership to repair his car. I arranged a hostile takeover of a public company from my bed, and friends would come on New Year’s Eve to watch fireworks from my bed and the sofa. Once I had a dinner party for eight there. The dining table replaced the sofa, and the house was lit only by candles. It was so fun and different.

The house I’m renting now has a modest master bedroom, and I doubt there have been many parties in there. Since this isn’t my forever home, I’ve started thinking about the bedroom in the new house I want to build. I’ve always been intrigued by antique Chinese bed chambers. They were small master suites unto themselves, and like my bedroom at the spy house, I can’t help but wonder what happened there?

Some Chinese bed chambers had a separate alcove furnished with a table and two chairs. Wealthy men were served tea, wine and food, by servants whose job it was to be invisible. Intricate, carved wooden panels were lacquered or inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and openings were draped with silk that could be closed for privacy. The rear of the bed chamber was for sleeping and lovemaking.

In ancient China it was common for wealthy men to have several concubines who took care of their every sexual need, while Chinese Emperors had thousands of concubines. A few, who were skilled at kinky sex, were given the status of pseudo-wives, while others were nothing more than poorly treated prostitutes. Some were murdered by their master’s wife. Others were buried alive to keep their departed master company in the afterlife. What do you want to bet the wife had something to do with that?

While I’m fascinated by Chinese bedchambers, it’s hard for me to think about owning and sleeping in one. This may surprise you, but I’ve decided there’s something creepy about sleeping in a bed with that much… history. I know, from experience, rooms and beds have positive and negative energy that can be picked up as easily as walking in the room. The spy house was one of those places. Over the years, there were people who couldn’t enter my bedroom, or my bathroom, because they picked up on something that scared them. I know… Once upon a time it scared me as well.

Love, Brenda


  • Dr. Margaret Rutherford March 26, 2016 at 8:38 am

    When I visited China, I was also intrigued by those beds Brenda, and the stories within them. Wonder what that psychic told you?? Fun post.

    • 1010 Park Place March 26, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      The psychic’s visit is a blog unto itself. Actually I looked on my computer to reference it, but it’s locked in an old version of Word. I need to find someone to help me unlock it. I tried what “Help” said to do, but no luck. She had me do something called “automatic writing,” which was very unnerving. It wrote out something that only my first husband could have know, and I’d forgotten. No clue how automatic writing works, but it was spooky.

  • Alana Mautone March 26, 2016 at 9:12 am

    In 2013, I visited the house Bill and Hillary Clinton rented when they lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas around 1972. Only three other families lived in it and each of the male tenants went on to great wealth or fame (including the man who invented the Swanson TV dinner). Come to think of it, I never saw a bed in that house, which is now a museum. What tales that bed could have told!

    • 1010 Park Place March 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      There are other beds in Fayetteville that could tell Bill Clinton stories. One belonged to a woman I know… She was one of many, I’m sure, who had an affair with him when he was Governor. It continued after he was in the White House.

  • Barbara Hammond March 26, 2016 at 9:53 am

    This could be a chapter in a spy thriller. So intriguing! I believe in feng shui when it comes to bedrooms. Placement of the bed is key. In our new home we have the sweetest little bedroom/chamber. It was formerly a sitting room off the master bedroom and I immediately saw it as the bed chamber. It has 6 windows and 2 skylights, which can sometimes be a problem during a full moon, but 99% of the time I love being able to look out at the stars. It is the perfect size for a king size bed and 2 night stands (and 2 dogs). I even painted it Tiffany blue, because it is a little jewel box.
    I can’t wait till you find your forever home and we can see how you design it, Brenda!

    • 1010 Park Place March 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      How smart of you to turn the sitting room into the bed chamber! They’re so cozy and special. Do you have a sleep mask? Mine is on my bedside table for those mornings I want to sleep past sunrise… that’s if Sam and Molly don’t wake me first. Perhaps a sleep mask would be helpful when you’re done stargazing and ready to go to sleep.

  • mithra ballesteros March 26, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    So I take it this bed is most definitely a thing of the past? Because I am ready to jump on a plane and take a photo of you throwing a dinner party on and around that bed. Don’t tell me I’m too late…

    • 1010 Park Place March 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      The people who bought the house from me tore it down… Left nary a nail or a roof tile, nothing, and they didn’t salvage the bed or 6,400 sq ft of beautiful hardwood flooring. The house was on the highest hill in San Antonio. The new owner planned to then level the hill and build a car dealership there! He died before he could finish his plans, so that exquisite house was torn down for nothing. Not to make light of his death, but it’s too bad it couldn’t have happened before he demolished the house. It was legendary.

      Before I knew you’d left me a message, here, I spent 30 minutes on your site. LOVE it!

      • mithra ballesteros March 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

        A travesty. Awful. A few weeks ago, I saw my favorite farmhouse torn down. It was demolished in about two hours flat. I cried.

        • Mamavalveeta03 March 27, 2016 at 12:53 pm

          I feel your pain, Mithra.

        • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm

          Same thing happened with a little rock house I liked here in the Texas Hill Country. I knew they were planning to demolish it, so I climbed the fence and walked around. It was build by German immigrants in the mid-1800’s, from hand cut limestone. I don’t think the new owners repurposed the stone.

  • Jen Lawrence March 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    What a marvellous bed. You need to write a book about your house!

    • 1010 Park Place March 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      I’ve done more than think about it. It was a famous house, and I was privileged to live there, discover many of its secrets and be there when there when one of the biggest secret of all took place. I wrote a fictionalized version that was accepted by a well-known agent, who subsequently had a nervous breakdown and dropped the ball with my manuscript. I then decided it wasn’t in anyone’s best interest for me to publish it, even in fiction, and took my manuscript back from the agency. There are a lot of things the world’s better off not knowing about, and this is one of them.

  • Carol Baker Sibley March 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Fletcher and I were always intrigued by that house and it is so sad that it was torn down.

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      I should have invited you over to see it. My bad… xoxoxo

  • Esther Zimmer March 27, 2016 at 6:54 am

    My goodness, what a fascinating read. The bedroom in that house sounds like it was really something else and I agree with you about rooms and beds having positive and negative energy. Our house actually wasn’t the nicest one that we saw when we were going through the buying process, but I knew the moment I stepped in the door that it felt right and everyone who visits says there’s ‘something really nice about this house’. Essie xx

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      That’s how I felt about my Little House at the ranch I just sold and the rental house I’m in now. It has great energy. It’s a happy house! xoxox, Brenda

  • ccassara March 27, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Well, now I KNOW this is only the beginning of the story, right? I like the alcove idea but I wouldn’t sleep in a bed with that history either.

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      The house was a story unto itself. Every room! EVERY ROOM! Most of the photos I have are 35mm slides, and they’re in storage. Until I can retrieve them, I really can’t do the story justice. Glad to know I’m not the only one that feels odd about sleeping in an old, historied bed.

  • Mamavalveeta03 March 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    What a home you had, Brenda! I can’t even imagine some of the stories you DON’T know if these are the ones you DO know! Only you, my dear…only you. 😉

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Then there’s the ones I WON’T tell you….. 🙂

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      PS: I was thinking of you yesterday and wondering how the job’s going. xoxox

  • Lois Alter Mark March 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Wow, that is a fascinating story! You could write a book about this. It’s always interesting to hear about the history of an object – especially a bed!

    • 1010 Park Place March 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      The real story, Lois, is the house. The bed is just a tiny portion of the story.

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