Tuft & Needle: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress

As promised in my last Kibanda post, this is my review of the Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress we ordered a few weeks back.

As you will recall from that post, we didn’t move our beds or mattresses to Kibanda last year, opting to save the moving cost and instead order new ones. The clear choice for the mattresses was Tuft & Needle, based on our experience with them for the last four years. As you can tell from that post, we love their products and we love the way they do business.

Tuft & Needle being Tuft & Needle, our two queen mattresses arrived within a couple of days. Unfortunately, Tuft & Needle didn’t offer bed frames back then. We ordered ours from another source.

This other source told us the frames were in stock. But, once our money was received, we we told they were out of stock for a few days. Then a few more days. Then still more. It was two months, and much aggravation, before they finally arrived.

The frames themselves, once they arrived, were fine for the money. They were tedious to assemble but fortunately for me, Mrs. jlcollinsnh has the patience for such things. All I had to do was tighten everything down once she had it together. She’s the brains. I’m the muscle.

As you might imagine, I was thrilled to learn that Tuft & Needle now offers a beautiful walnut frame that is exactly the style and color we were looking for.

As reported in that last Kibanda post, we recently finished our freshening of the guest loft over our garage. My neighbor Al and I, moved our Tuft & Needle queen mattress and its “other source” frame from our master bedroom up there. This required partially dismantling the frame, a reminder of what a pain it is.

At the same time, we ordered our new King Size Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress and Walnut Frame. We’ve never had a king size bed before. Pretty exciting in itself. Along with getting to try the two latest products from my friends at T&N.

Now, for full disclosure:

The story of how I became aware of T&N is told in this post, and it was only after trying their mattress I accepted them as a affiliate on the blog. This meant each time a reader clicked thru to the T&N site and bought something, this blog earned a commission.

Then, in August of 2016 they disbanded their affiliate program.

After a month or so, it occurred to me to offer them the banner advertising spot at the top of each page. As of November 1, 2016 T&N took over that spot, replacing those sometimes awful Adsense ads that used to rotate there.

Now they pay a flat fee each month for the ad placement and no commission is earned if you chose to buy.

From my perspective, it doesn’t make any difference. Anytime I mention a company, service or product on this blog, you’ll be reading my unvarnished opinion. It doesn’t matter how, or if, they pay me.

Tuft & Needle being Tuft & Needle, our Mint mattress arrived in a couple of days. The frame, however, took an extra week. But I can’t really fault T&N for this. They had the frame in stock, as promised, and they shipped it promptly. However, we live in a fairly remote location and the shipping company only delivers to our area once a week.

That would have only delayed the frame’s arrival by about three days after the mattress. But then they failed to deliver it on the appointed day.

Now, mistakes happen. It is the nature of life. What matters is how the mistake is handled after it occurs. This delivery company handled it well. Just when I realized the frame wasn’t coming on the expected day and just as I was preparing to track down someone to call, my phone rang. The very nice man explained what had happened, took responsibility, apologized and arranged for a new delivery day and time. This one went off without a hitch.

The frame arrived as promised and we put it together on a Saturday. We have been sleeping on a T&N Mint and Frame ever since. I won’t keep you in suspense:

We love it!

The Walnut Frame

The frame is a sleek and elegant looking piece, just like in the photos. It is also very solid. It is the most secure feeling bed I have ever slept on.

It went together both more easily and more difficultly than our previous and less expensive frame.

More easily in the sense that it is a far more elegant and simple design. The frame was a pleasure to put together. Everything fit snuggly and without hassle. There are six support boards, each ~9.5″ wide, providing a very solid foundation upon which the mattress rests.

More difficult because the support boards screw into the frame. On such a wide frame, like a king, it seems this serves to hold the rails together. This being the case, the predrilled holes didn’t quite line up. This required some muscle to push the rails toward each other to line up the holes and drive in the screws. A bit of a pain, but the result is a very tight and sturdy bed. So, well worth the extra effort.

In contrast, the previous frame has three inch slats held together with cloth strips. Once unrolled they just lay in frame, held in place with some strategically positioned adhesive strips. Much easier, but no additional structural strength.

The Mint Mattress

cutaway showing the three layers

The truth is, I had misgivings about ordering the Mint Mattress. It didn’t help that my friends at T&N had misgivings about sending me one.

As they said, the Mint mattress is initially much softer than the original. And I like a firmer bed. But I definitely wanted to try this new technology, if only for the benefit of being able to report back to you my readers. But mostly, for myself.

The idea is, with three distinct layers, it is soft and plush on top with firm support below. Plus, as promised, the edges are nice and firm. This combo works a treat.

For those of you who care, I’ll let you delve into the details and specs here. For my part I’ll just say it is the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on. The original T&N got my then highest praise when I said, “I never think about my mattress. It just disappears under me.”

This one, every time I get in bed, I think about how comfy it is. And then it disappears under me.

Kibanda is now all T&N all the time. Those who visit will get to sleep on a T&N original. It is very likely to be the best mattress they have ever slept on. As long as we can keep them off our Mint.


When I asked T&N for some photos to use for this post, they sent me this one by mistake:

Mint Mattress on Light Frame

This is the same frame we have, but in a lighter colored wood. It is not out yet and not on their website. Figure 2019 if this suits you better.


Addendum: International

In the comments, the question came up about whether T&N ships internationally. I asked, and here is their reply:

“At this time we don’t ship internationally but our mattress is on amazon.ca, so Canadian customers can order there.
“We do ship to Hawaii and Alaska. For some products, there is an extra fee for this. I guess there is currently a glitch in our system where we are not charging that on the mattress, but normally I think we charge $50 on those.”


Other blog affiliates

As long as we are talking about companies I recommend, you might be interested in a rundown of them. In order of revenue generated for the blog:

Personal Capital is the biggest revenue generator here. Not surprising. The affiliate payout to blogs like mine is generous, the service is free when you sign up and people who use their tools tend to love them.

Tuft & Needle.

Amazon. In the right hand column of the blog you’ll find a button that takes you there. If you use it, anything you buy will generate a commission for the blog. The price to you is the same. If you value the content here, this is a painless way to support it.

Google AdSense ads. While T&N displaced these ads in the “Leaderboard” spot, there are still some imbedded in a few old posts.

Betterment still provides a small flow (>$1000 per year) of affiliate income.

YNAB use to have an affiliate program, but it never paid much of anything. Seems that is gone now. No matter, I still love this company and highly recommend them. Doesn’t matter if I get paid.

Vanguard. For excellent reasons, this is the company I recommend most around here. They have never had an affiliate program and have never paid me a dime. No matter, other than the fact I am routinely accused of being on the take from them. Oh, the irony!

Here’s the unvarnished truth:

I have never received a penny in compensation from Vanguard. Other than the fact I hold all our investments there, I have no other relationship with them. The opinions I express about them are purely what I believe.

Jack Bogle did send me a very nice email about my book, which I posted about here: https://jlcollinsnh.com/2016/12/05/mr-bogle-and-me/

If Vanguard were to offer an affiliate program I’d definitely sign on. Then I would be getting paid and my critics would have a field day. But, as now, I would still write exactly what I think: https://jlcollinsnh.com/2016/09/15/stocks-part-xxx-jlcollinsnh-vs-vanguard/

Truth is, while there’d be money in it for me, I rather like that Vanguard doesn’t do affiliate programs. It is more in keeping with their ethic of keeping expenses down.

If you’ve had your own suspicions on this score, I’m not sure if this puts your mind at rest or not, but it is the truth.


Recent Interviews & Projects

Playing with FIRE documentary

Talk at Google

Bigger Pockets Money Show: JL Collins Edition




Next month, October, we head to Greece for Chautauqua. So very excited! Both weeks have long been sold out. But if you want to add this to your bucket list, please feel free to put yourself on the:

Here’s what it is all about:

Millennial RevolutionChautauqua: Come Join the Family   (This is a brilliant post with all the details!)

1500 Days to FreedomMeet some awesome people… (Another brilliant post, this one with dinosaurs!)

ChooseFI — Oh, the Places we will go   Chautauqua in the words of the speakers who will be in Greece. There is nothing quite like hearing the voices behind the words.

Also, be sure to listen to this incredible episode with Travis Shakespeare.  Travis is a master story teller and, among other things, he shares how the FI movement fits into the cultural fabric of America and its traditions of rugged individuals charting their own course.

Mad FientistMoney Talks panel discussion at Chautauqua UK  Attendees discussing FI and also a great inside look at the Chautauqua experience.

JL CollinsGreece 2018 Mount Olympus 


I’ve joked that we bought Kibanda because I needed more aggravation in my life. Turns out, that’s a real thing:

The case against optimization


The Case Against FIRE


JD Roth takes us for a ride in his way-back machine:

FI circa 1957


Icarus and Free Will


The coming Singularity…

and my pal Shilpan’s take on it…

The New Age


Mr. Franklin makes a killing in silver mining in the old West. Mr. Franklin takes his fortune to England where his ancestors came from.  Mr. Franklin enters high society. Oh, and Mr. Franklin was also a member of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang.

Kinda like a more interesting version of Downton Abbey.


Old Post

Every now and again I get a comment on an old post. It is always nice to see those getting some attention and it is fun, for me anyway, to re-read them. Maybe you too. Here’s one:

What the naysayers are missing


Kibanda Hummingbird

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.
  • Vanguard.com


  1. wendy says

    Glad the new bed & frame are working out!
    How was moving the old one up to the guest room? I used to have a futon and moving that was a definite chore – complete dead weight/no structure.
    Once the foam mattresses are out of the bag and expanded, I imagine they are equally unwieldy …? Any tips or tricks or is it just muscling through?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      It was a pain.

      As mentioned in the post, we had to partially dismantle the old frame and it was just as much a pain to put together as the first time.

      And you are right about the mattress. Mattresses are dead weight, bend and flop, and have nothing to grab onto. One smart thing we did was to leave the mattress pad on. It gave us something to grab.

      Best thing to do? Give it away and have T&N ship you a new one. 🙂

  2. Freedom 40 Plan says

    Looks nice. We got a Tuft and Needle matress a couple years ago and I can also say that this is the best mattress I’ve ever had. Certainly for the amount we paid it is way better than anything else we saw

    • jlcollinsnh says

      The originals are great.

      If I was buying one now, I’d look closely at the Mint. But I wouldn’t trade in my original for one.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Almost anything is nice compared to cheapo metal frames. 🙂

      For years we had a beautiful and expensive 4-poster bed. Much more ornate, but it was great for the 25+ years we owned it.

      The sleek look of this one is entirely different. Great change for us and a better fit for the beach house.

  3. FIRECracker says

    Oooh! Very nice mattress and bed frame. Back when we lived in Toronto, we bought a pillow top mattress on sale and it was the best money I’d ever spent. We spend so much of our lives sleeping (or at least lazy people like me do :P), it makes sense to invest in a good mattress.

    If we ever decide to settle anywhere, I’ll buy one of those mattresses. Do they deliver to anywhere in the world? Or just the US?

    Oh and thanks for the article mention! I had no idea people would be so interested in hearing about the hate on FIRE. Thought that haters are old news by now 😀

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Yeah, I’ve slept on a lot of crappy mattresses over a lot of years and places. But I value my time in bed too much to do that anytime now that I don’t have to.

      My guess is they are only in the US, but I’ll check.

      I loved that post of yours. Fun read and a good reminder that we in the FI community are still very much the odd ones out. My guess is that will remain the case. 😉

      • jlcollinsnh says

        T&N tells me…

        “At this time we don’t ship internationally but our mattress is on amazon.ca, so Canadian customers can order there.

        “We do ship to Hawaii and Alaska. For some products, there is an extra fee for this. I guess there is currently a glitch in our system where we are not charging that on the mattress, but normally I think we charge $50 on those.”

        • AnotherEngineer says

          Their website FAQ says shipping to Alaska is $120-190 which matches my experience checking them out a few years back. This sort of thing is nothing new for Alaskans. I’ve had websites add $150 on the “free shipping” line and Amazon doesn’t know what to do with us.

  4. Doc G says

    We have always had a queen mattress and recently got a King. We love it. Usually because one of the kids climbs in and pushes over towards the edge. Looks like Kibanda is really shaping up.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      We’ve slept on a king before in our travels, but this is the first we’ve owned/had room for. It really does make a difference. 🙂

  5. Tom Erceg says

    I had a somewhat different experience with T&N, but it speaks highly of the company and the way they do business. We bought the original queen-size mattress. We tried it for about a month, and came to the conclusion that it was just too firm for us. My SO and I are both light, so I suspect that’s where the issue came from.

    I contacted T&N, and they couldn’t have handled things any better. Their first suggestion was for me to simply contact the charity of my choice and donate it. Once the donation was processed they would give me a full refund. Can’t beat that! Except…I live in the Regulatory Nightmare that is the state of California. Turns out that even homeless shelters cannot accept an essentially brand-new mattress as a gift. Because…well you fill in the blanks. I don’t have a clue.

    So I contacted T&N again and told them I couldn’t find any organization to take it. Their solution: They hired 1-800-got-junk to come to the house and remove it. No questions asked. No fees. They just took care of it.

    I feel badly that a perfectly good mattress likely ended up in a landfill instead of helping someone who needed it, but to T&N’s credit they took care of everything. What else could I ask for? They are a top-flight company.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Tom…

      In my original post, a couple of others reported the same experience. This is one of the things I love about T&N: How they handle the situation when the product doesn’t work for a customer.

      It really is too bad that the mattress couldn’t find a useful home. CA is a beautiful state, but between the high taxes and stories like this I don’t think I could live there.

      BTW, you might like the Mint. It has a much softer first layer and yet firm support under that.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Probably a very good deal for Serta, unless they mess it up.
      The stated plan is to keep the two operations separate, which would be best.

      I was talking about this just today with a friend and she said:

      “That seems to be the way things go. Small company serves customers extremely well, gets popular, and then BAM bought out by a bigger fish and ruined. It’s a sad truth.” And my fear.

      If they go that route it will create space for the next disrupter and we customers will move on. Until then, T&N has my business.

      We’ll have to see, but for now they are still first rate in my book!

  6. Mark says

    We’ve had the mint for about 2 weeks, it was replacing the original T&N mattress that we purchased 5 years ago.
    Honestly, We have mixed feelings about this mattress.
    Sometimes it feels super-comfortable, other times it feels way too soft and squishy… I think we probably will end up returning it and getting the original T&N mattress. We will keep testing it out for another week or two… maybe we will grow accustom to it.
    — T&N seems to have a very good return policy.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      It is definitely different and, as I said in my post, my friends at T&N warned me about this.

      We liked it better from the instant we tried it, but I can see where someone who has and loves the original might not.

      My advice would be to give it some more time. If you decide you don’t like it, T&N will take care of it with no fuss.

      Please keep us posted!

      • Mark says

        Just a little update…

        We did end up returning the mint mattress. It was too soft for our tastes. We desired more support and didn’t like the feeling of sinking into it, which became more and more bothersome to us as time when on.

        Also, part of the impetus in returning it was that we felt like the mattress would not have aged gracefully. While changing out the sheets and pulling them taut, We noticed subtle depressions forming where we both sleep… not a good sign for a mattress that is only 3 weeks old.

        To T&N’s credit they handled the return quite professionally. They arranged to have the mint mattress donated to a local charity & exchanged it for the regular T&N mattress that is firmer.

        … a little trivia from T&N …
        The original T&N (1st year produced) was extremely firm, so much so they were getting a lot of feedback about it being too hard. They tweaked down the firmness just a little and sold a slightly softer mattress in the following years…

        I believe we had the “1st edition”… and loved it! — So we like a quite firm bed indeed.

        The mint was just a bad fit for our preferences. I think that when comes to mattresses, people can suffer from some form of Goldielocks syndrome. — Kudos to T&N for arranging to have the returned mattress donated to a charity. The thought of that alone will help us sleep better at night.

        Bonne nuit Lovers!

        • jlcollinsnh says

          Thanks for the update Mark…

          …after you’ve lived with the regular T&N mattress I’d love to hear your take on it.

          • Mark says

            … So the mattress saga continues…

            After swapping out the Mint mattress out for the “regular” one, and sleeping on it for about a week, I can say that it feels more to our liking than the Mint did… But, here’s the rub… We are still not all that satisfied… haha!

            The original “ 1st edition” T&N that we purchased years ago was a far superior mattress than what they are selling now… hands down.

            Here’s a list of peeves we have about the latest edition…
            It is one inch thinner, which is causing the corners to turn up; when you sit on the edge it’s really noticeable.
            Our sheets are too loose now and do not fit nice and snug as before. …T&N sheets… btw.
            It has a cheeper less plush cover with padding on only three sides, not all four.
            It feels hotter than the original …at least to us. — T&N says the new cover makes it cooler?…hmm.
            It’s less firm, and has a flimsy feeling.
            When you see the old and the new mattress next to each other it’s quite obvious…
            The new mattress is of poorer quality and has a “cheep” look and feel to it.

            I’m glad I’ve gotten that off my chest… I’m feeling better now.

            We are keeping the darn thing. It’s still a good mattress, just not the great one that it once was.

            Although they are very professional and friendly on the phone, I really don’t think we will be purchasing any more T&N products.

            This whole experience wasn’t a total loss, there are some good life lessons I’ve learned! I’m happy to share them we everyone…

            — First off, Trying to re-live good past experiences almost never works… be it revisiting restaurants, re-doing the same vacation, throwing the same party, buying the same bed… etc.

            — Human beings have the tendency to fiddle with shit… even if it’s perfect!
            You name it… From cars, to clothes, to portfolios, music… mattresses… the list goes on and on. It’s a rarity to come across a good thing without someone going in there and screwing around with it, all in the name of “improvement”…. aka “maximizing profits”.

            — I think it was Oscar Wilde once said … “When you assume, You make an ass out of You and Me.”
            I assumed that the mattress was of the same quality as the one we had previously purchased… I was wrong.

            — While buying things online certainly seems “convenient”, it isn’t always a good idea. If you cannot physically touch or see an item with your own eyes… You’re flying blind. — Sure, You can probably return it, but you know what pain in the butt that can be… especially with big bulky things! — As I stare… drink in hand… at the two T&N mattress clogging up my living room waiting to be disposed of… I can’t help but reminisce about quality of items once crafted long ago.

            … And finally,

            — Complaining is usually a total waste of your own energy…
            I’m feeling a little weak and sleepy now… So, I think I need to go off and take a nap on my band new mattress!


          • jlcollinsnh says

            Thanks for the detailed review Mark, and sorry it is not working out as well as hoped for you. At least you got in a good nap? 🙂

            I have taken the liberty of sending your comments directly to T&N, so hopefully they will benefit.

            And hopefully this will not be a total waste of your energy. Although, most often in most cases, I agree with you that it is. 😉

  7. Alex says

    Jim, we are in the market for exactly the same combo you are reviewing here, the king frame and mint (or maybe the original? not sure). Seeing as how you don’t review a lot of products, your opinion carries a good amount of weight to me.
    Couple questions, do you have any of their other products and would recommend them, such as the pillows, topper, protector, or sheets? This is also our first king and first new bed purchase ever actually, and I’d like to make it as painless as possible: getting all the non-requisite yet essential stuff with the mattress all in one swoop and calling it a day.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Alex…

      The only other product we have is their pillow.

      My wife and daughter both like it, but it doesn’t work for me.

      It is a very firm rectangle and the thickness is perfect for them, but not enough for me. Two together is too thick. Because it is so firm, I can’t mold it to a shape that fits me.

      So basically, if it fits you it’s great. If not, it’s not.

      I imagine the other things will be high quality and since fit isn’t an issue, they should be fine. But I have no personal experience with those.

      Hope this helps!

      • Alex says

        Hi again one more follow up question. I did a little bit of research on bed frames and like mattresses, the info that is out there is very anecdotal, not a whole lot of tangible data especially on the more expensive models. That being said frames seem to vary in price wildly from the hundreds to the thousands. this being a somewhat simple design, what would be the advantage to spending say the $1200 here for the king apart from aesthetics or simply spending $400 on one of the Zinus frames? I suppose walnut wood is expnsive but I guess I’m just curious what that $800 gets you in your experience as like I said, this is my first bed/frame purchase. The lower tier models like Zinus have more reviews also so that would be a consideration, but with nothing to compare to, I’m at a bit of a stalemate.

        Also I asked T&N about the lighter colored model you posted and it seems that must have been a prototype photo. They told me they have no plans to release a lighter colored version. Thanks again!

        • jlcollinsnh says

          As I have no experience with Zinus frames, I can’t comment.

          As I said in the post, the picture of the lighter colored T&N frame was sent to me by mistake. Inside word is to look for it in 2019.

  8. Bob says

    How has your mattress held up after 4 years of ownership? We are thinking of buying one and wanted to hear about mattress longevity from bona fide owners. Do you have any sagging, sink holes, or peak/valleys in the mattress? I assume you have slept on that mattress for those 4 years, but maybe travels or multiple living abodes have decreased the usage of any one mattress.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Bob…

      It has held up fine, but as you observe we travel a lot and so it really hasn’t been four years of constant use. (wow, hard to believe we’ve had it four years already!)

      It does have peaks and valleys as it conformes to your body. But those happened almost immediately.

      It is still very comfortable.

      Hope this helps!

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