The first time I visited Vintage Porch Swings, I climbed into their display bed swing and was immediately disarmed. I was there to do an interview, but all I really wanted was a book and a blanket. Recently, I visited founders Brent and Krista McHenry at their home near the new Vintage Porch Swing workshop on Johns Island. This time I was determined to be more professional. However, five minutes into the interview, I found myself talking about rattletrap first cars and childhood vacation spots. Once again, I blame the bed swing.
I’m here because the McHenrys recently began installing their bed swings indoors as well as on porches and patios, and I’m wondering if this is a good idea. These vortexes of bliss are now being used as living room sofas, kids’ beds, guest beds and more. And I’m concerned that workaholics and uptight party guests like me are at risk of being tricked into relaxing.
Sure enough, I am offered a seat in a bed swing and I’m instantly as happy as a 5-year-old with a kitten and a candy bar. You see, the bed swing doesn’t arc back and forth like a porch swing; instead the movement—back and forth and slightly side to side—is subtle. The occupant feels weightless … hovering. The effect is one of peaceful sensory deprivation. (It’s such a terribly fun sensation that guests at the Andell Inn, the stylish new boutique hotel on Kiawah Island, politely line up to relax in the hotel’s new “bed swing conversation area.”)
The McHenrys, who are happy enough to share a significant portion of the blame in making guests and customers feel relaxed, are a unique team. Krista has an enviable eye for relaxing home aesthetics, so she designs the swings. Then Brent, who also works full time as a biostatistician, makes her ideas reality. The bed swings are hand-built by a small team of local craftspeople and hand-painted and finished by artists.
The McHenrys have seven very cool kids, after whom the swing models are named, and I’m invited to see their bedrooms and their bed swings. The kids assure me they love their swinging beds. They must, because I’m visiting in early afternoon and every kid in the house is curled up in a bed swing reading, napping or just hanging out. Again, I blame the bed swings.
There are eight models of bed swing and endless permutations of finishes and durable fabrics to choose from. If you want a custom design, they can do that too. The Vintage Porch Swings crew will ship your bed swing anywhere, and if you’re local they’ll even install it for you. But if you’re the uptight sort with a lot of multi-tasking to do, take note: An indoor bed swing can drastically decrease your productivity while drastically increasing the chances that you’ll actually relax. You’ve been warned.
Robin Howard is a full-time freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.