When Carlos Felipe decided to shop for the ultimate night’s sleep, he headed to the New Jersey showroom of Hollandia, an Israeli manufacturer that creates custom beds running as much as $35,000. And sure enough, Felipe, a sales representative, found plenty of appealing features and options, from the adjustable bed frame powered by German-made motors to the hypoallergenic, antimicrobial latex mattress (the cover is “treated with aloe vera for a soft feel,” Hollandia boasts). But the accessory that most caught Felipe’s eye was designed to help him rest easy in a different way. It was a small safe, good for holding a few valuables or gold coins, ingeniously built into the base of a bed — a modern-day answer to the idea of stashing your savings under a mattress. A duly impressed Felipe plans on using it to store his wife’s jewelry and some extra cash: After all, he asks, what thief would look for such valuables in the frame of the bed itself?
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In an era marked by financial turbulence, it’s probably not surprising that safes have become a popular commodity, with some manufacturers, retailers and installers reporting sales increases of as much as 40 percent from a few years ago. But the bigger eyebrow-raiser is what has happened to those iconic gray-steel boxes of yore: They’ve undergone an extreme makeover — or several of them. Taking the place of those old square combination jobs are a range of custom safes, from boutique showpieces to decoy models for the family den — not to mention the truly offbeat (a hideaway lockbox resembling, ahem, a pair of men’s underwear) and the seriously safe (an in-home vault with a price tag of more than $100,000). And that’s not even getting into the ever-broadening array of color choices (champagne marble, anyone?) “None of our safes should be hidden in a closet,” says Markus Dottling, principal at Dottling, a German specialty-safe manufacturer whose museum-worthy designs can cost more than the average American house.
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