I Love This Old School Furniture Brand’s Small Space-Friendly Bed, and You Might, Too

published Nov 2, 2021
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Gothic Cabinet Craft Captain's Bed in a blue finish in a room designed by interior designer Gunnar Larson

Gothic Cabinet Craft is not a household name in most of the United States, but here in New York City, it’s something of an institution. When I moved to the city in the late 1990s, no one bought furniture by mail, and the nearest IKEA was in New Jersey. With multiple storefronts in the city, Gothic Cabinet Craft was a go-to for young transplants (back when young people could afford to live in downtown Manhattan!). While its stores were a far cry from chic, Gothic sold simple, wood furniture at reasonable prices. In those early years, I never bought anything from the company, but that’s because I inherited a hand-me-down Gothic Cabinet Craft captain’s bed from my mom, who had it back in her single days in New York City in the ’70s. For reference, that bed frame is still in use at my sister’s home and has survived at least 10 moves!

Founded as a single store in 1969, Gothic Cabinet Craft has grown and changed with the times and now offers e-commerce, but the family-run business has never made over those showrooms or tried to seem hip or cool online, which is frankly refreshing. Gothic Cabinet Craft also sells bookcases, desks, and tables, but they’re best known for their captain’s beds. A captain’s bed is a wooden bed with large storage drawers embedded in the base. Those drawers happen to be a major space saver, and because they’re built into the bed, they’re much easier to use (and less dusty) than makeshift under-the-bed storage. For larger-than-twin beds, Gothic’s bed platforms are split into two pieces, which also makes your bed easier to move if you like to switch up your bedroom layout regularly or find yourself relocating sooner than you might think. 

We liked our original captain’s bed so much that my husband and I upgraded to a queen Gothic Cabinet Craft bed when we moved to our current apartment with a tiny bedroom. Our six-drawer model gives us almost as much storage as an extra bureau, without taking up any additional storage space. I’m not the only design pro who loves this old school company either. My friend Ashely, a craft and interiors stylist, recently bought a birch Gothic captain’s bed for her guest bedroom and joked that it was Donald Judd-esque when she shared the room on Instagram. Interior designer Gunnar Larson opted for a double-decker model in his Brooklyn apartment. “The storage is so handy, even when you don’t think you need more storage,” says Larson. Like me, Larson and his wife use their drawers for everyday clothing, but he notes you can also use the bed drawers for your seasonal switch out instead. 

When it comes to style, Larson says, “I originally viewed many of Gothic Cabinet Crafts products as a little more traditional or something I would source for a cabin, but then I dug a little deeper and discovered their beds with simple lines could be way more modern with the right finish.”

Larson ended up using the ‘Winter Sky’ finish in both a client project (shown at the top of this story) and his own home (shown just above), and the variety of choices is part of what Larson loves about Gothic. ”I love how you can pick your wood: birch, maple, pine, oak, and finish,” he says. “It can be a real game changer, giving you truly something custom and uniquely you.” While I wouldn’t call these pieces “budget” exactly, you can also save by buying an unfinished version and painting it yourself, if you like to DIY. When you think of how long these solid wood pieces can last — and that additional storage they offer — Gothic’s pricing actually feels appropriate. In some cases, this bed can even double as your only bedroom dresser, so for a twofer, the total cost feels about right.

My love for Gothic Cabinet Craft runs so deep that I am about to buy another one for my son. As his wardrobe and toy collection have grown, we need more storage space in his bedroom, and I know from experience that a captain’s bed is an ideal solution. Now I just have to pick a wood and finish!