Investing in Rest

Up Close & Personal with Mary Pat Wallace of Chicago Luxury Beds

tsg-up-close-with-chicago-luxury-beds-Vi-Spring

Who: Mary Pat Wallace
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Occupation: Owner, Chicago Luxury Beds

Since resolving to have a healthier and happier 2015, we’ve explored and invested in new exercise routines; a variety of wellness programs, procedures and products; and recipes for good health—all the usual avenues for looking and feeling our best. And while they are undoubtedly having a positive impact, we realized there is one aspect to achieving our goals that we’ve been ignoring: our beds.

Despite the many ways sleep (or lack thereof) affects our health and happiness, for some reason, it isn’t immediately obvious to all of us that a high-quality mattress is worthy of serious investment. In fact, it turns out that even Mary Pat Wallace, owner of Chicago Luxury Beds—which, as the name suggests, carries the most luxurious mattresses available—had to convince her husband that spending upwards of $10,000 on one was a sound decision.

“People’s concepts of what’s important in our culture just aren’t focused on sleep.”

“He said, ‘No. Nobody I know would spend that on a mattress, and if my friends found out they would laugh at me,” Wallace says. But when she pointed out all the other things in their home that they never use, versus the bed, where they spend eight hours a night, his mind started to change. “People’s concepts of what’s important in our culture just aren’t focused on sleep,” Wallace notes. “But if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’re not happy or productive the next day.

tsg-with-close-with-chicaog-luxury-beds-Bed-with-Sferra-linens In addition to factoring in how and where one spends one’s time, if you add up all health and fitness-related expenses—think gym memberships, personal trainers, juicers, massage therapists, etc.—researching and purchasing the perfect mattress that will last for decades makes sense—even if the price tag is tens of thousands of dollars.

Wallace’s husband, for one, has no buyer’s remorse. After sleeping on their new mattress for just a few months he was wowed (and free of the back pain that had been plaguing him). Credit, of course, goes to his wife, who spent years honing her eye and understanding of what is a worthwhile investment while working in Chicago with Holly Hunt. As Hunt sought out the best of the best for her showroom, Wallace learned to “find the jewels,” and in the bedding world that means Hästens, a company based in Sweden that has been handcrafting bespoke beds since 1852, and Vispring, a London-based custom bed company founded more than 100 years ago.

“You feel like you are buying a piece of history.”

A visit to the Hästens factory in Sweden convinced Wallace to focus her career on luxury beds. The quality, natural materials, and construction of their products, she says, make them the gems of the mattress-making world, and spending time there seeing the mattresses crafted in a tradition that has been passed down and perfected for generations further proved that the beds are heirloom-quality pieces. “I love to travel and I love taking staff on trips, because you get to see the heart and the soul of the company,” Wallace says. “You get such an appreciation for the family that is doing it, and you feel like you are buying a piece of history. I don’t think you see that by reading the catalog.”

tsg-up-close-chicago-luxury-beds-materials-bright Image via Hastens‘s Instagram

Wallace’s employees understand this as well: members of the Chicago Luxury Bed staff travel to the factories to see the mattresses crafted firsthand. “Not only does the team go there to learn how they are made, but they get put on the assembly line, they see how difficult it is,” Wallace says. “It takes years to train to learn how to make a Hästens bed and a Vispring bed. And they see all these materials—the cotton or the wool, the cashmere, the silk, the angora, the levels of quality in the raw materials. It’s such an education. And these families are so passionate that they walk you through every element.…You can give somebody a book to read, but when you are actually there and you are interacting with these people, the staff gets so excited because they just want to share it with everybody.”

“When people come in to try the beds, we say, ‘If you can, check your cell phone at the door. You need to listen to your body.’”

Those who wish to experience a bespoke mattress firsthand should pay a visit to the Chicago Luxury Bed showroom—and be ready to stay awhile. “When people call to make an appointment, we tell them to dress comfortably, because most people are in the store anywhere from one to four hours,” Wallace says. She compares the experience to that of a runner trying on shoes for the perfect fit or a skier seeking the perfect boot. “It’s so much about the fit and that fit is going to be different for everybody, because your foot is different and your ankle is different, your calf is different,” she says. “And if you are going to be out there for 8 hours of the day skiing, then it’s all about the boot.”

tsg-up-close-chicago-luxury-beds-spread Image of Mary Pat Wallace and Chicago Luxury Bed team by Katrina Wittkamp for The Scout Guide Chicago

To help people find the perfect fit, staff members move customers around to the different brands and the different tensions within the brand, and it becomes evident to most people fairly quickly that their body is either suited to a Vispring or a Hästens. The next step is trying a different model or a different tension within the line. The process can go on for multiple visits, which is fine with Wallace. “It is an expensive purchase and we want to make sure that they are doing it right,” she says. For Visprings fans, an additional trial opportunity is available, and it comes with a perk: Six guest rooms at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Chicago have a different Visprings mattress in each, so a customer can spend the night on a Vispring. If they decide they like it, they can go back to Chicago Luxury Beds and buy the mattress and the cost of the hotel room will be covered.

tsg-up-close-chicago-luxury-beds-beach So as we work toward living healthier, happier lives, we’re going to keep in mind that one-third of said lives will be spent on one piece of furniture—so we may as well enjoy it.

Chicago Luxury Beds // Chicago, IL // 312.527.5337

Jan
30
2015

Words We Love / 43

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Jan
28
2015

SCOUTED: Canvas Backpack

SCOUTED-CanvasBackpack-49SquareMiles Stylish, durable, and ready for work or play, this backpack by San Francisco-based 49 Square Miles perfectly pairs form and function. Featuring high-quality Italian leather, adjustable buckle straps, and plenty of pockets, it’s a must-have for those wish to look chic while hitting the streets.

49 Square Miles  // San Francisco, CA  //  415.904.0690

Jan
26
2015

Friday Favorites: Rainy Day-Ready Rooms

tsg-mudrooms-bardes-1 Be it ever so humble, there is no place like a good mudroom—especially on snowy or wet days or in a location that happens to be home to a lot of sand. Though primarily utilitarian, when well executed and finished off with the right touches, as the above space by Chicago-based Bardes Interiors shows, the small-but-mighty mudroom can be a calming and inviting place of order that happens to also help keep the rest of your home free of clutter and the dirtier aspects of everyday life.

tsg-mudrooms-sutphin_mudroom Bright paint, clean lines, and a charming sconce keeps this mudroom by Charlottesville’s Sutphin Architecture feeling light, fresh, and simple, while plenty of drawer and cabinet space keeps items such as rain boots and grocery bags organized (and plenty of other items out of sight).

tsg-mudroom-tsg_Cory_Spencer_FB Thanks to elements like a comfortable painted bench, decorative plates and pillows, and a cheerful hooked rug, this mudroom by Cory Spencer Partners is warm and welcoming. It’s also the perfect place to store wet wellies, lacrosse sticks, and linens due to plenty of storage space. The Charlottesville-based firm has the mudroom mastered, so for additional inspiration and insights be sure to check out their piece on the subject on their blog.

“A good mudroom should work as a buffer for your kitchen, protecting a precious family gathering space from becoming a dumping ground for the flotsam and jetsam of family life.”
—Cory Spencer Partners

tsg-mudrooms-bardes-2 This space in a Wisconsin lake house by Bardes Interiors checks all of the mudroom must-have boxes—benches, plenty of hooks and shelf space to hang coats, bags, and hats, and a colorful (and durable) rug—before seamlessly flowing into the bright, inviting kitchen beyond.

tsg_cory_spencer2 Above, two more mudrooms by Cory Spencer Partners prove they have the perfect formula for this type of entryway. We appreciate how there’s a place for everything, but thoughtful details ensure that guests arriving through the secondary entrance will still have a good first impression. “Woodwork saturated in slate blue, dark pewter, or tawny taupe adds instant character and definition to simple carpentry in any small space,” the firm notes.

tsg-mudrooms_design_lines_ltd Of course, nothing says “welcome home” like a Golden Retriever, but having a clean, crisp space in which to kick off your shoes and quickly stow your belongings before settling in for the evening, like the above by Raleigh-based Design Lines, is pretty sweet, too. As a bonus, the area serves as the ideal place to wipe off wet or muddy paws.

Jan
23
2015

SCOUTED: Faux Fur Snood

SCOUTED-FauxFurSnood-TriCountryFeed Bundling up becomes a breeze when you have the right winter accoutrements. This faux fur Dubarry snood will beautifully complement any outfit while warding off chill, cementing its status as a wardrobe staple for the next few months. Call and purchase one now and your dread of cold weather will greatly decrease.

Tri-County Feeds  //  Hunt Country, VA  //  540.364.1891

Jan
22
2015

Words We Love / 42

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Jan
20
2015