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Four Poster Fantasy

A four poster bed draped with yards of white mosquito netting beneath a swirling ceiling fan remains one of the romantic, idealized images of Caribbean living. “People like the ambiance and the cosiness of it,” Roy Keegan of Arawak Interiors told me. “The four posters they used to make in the Caribbean were heavy, chunky beds, quite intricately carved and turned, made from mahogany,” Roy said. Modern interpretations of the bed tend to be sleeker, but they retain the same feel.


Roy acquires his beds from Bali. “When we first started buying them,” Roy said, “the sizes weren’t standard, and we couldn’t find mattresses that fit them, so we had to get custom mattresses made to fit the bed,” custom bed linens as well, I thought. “I’ve learned from my mistakes,” Roy continued. “Now I order the bed around the mattress size.”

In Indonesia, beds have a history of traditional significance. “When a couple got married, the whole village would carve them a bed,” said Roy. These elaborately carved teak beds loomed over the couple with posts on each corner that supported a detailed wooden topper. Unfortunately, the tradition of carving a ceremonial wedding bed is not as prevalent today as it used to be, but the wedding beds can still be found in Indondesia. “I might find a headboard from an antique one and then custom make a bed around it in reclaimed teak,” Roy said. But the simpler, classic four poster beds are more popular in the BVI. “They’re one of our bestsellers,” Roy said. And it makes sense. They are a perfect representation of the laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle.

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