Making the most of a room with a view

DESIGN LINE

May 10, 1992|By Rita St. Clair

Q: Please help me find a design solution for a window alcove that's 8 feet long and only 24 inches wide. The problem isn't the window itself, which affords a terrific view. It's the oddly shaped space beneath the window that's got me stumped. What should I do to make the most of this space?

A: The area you describe may not technically qualify as an alcove since it's so shallow. But while its shape is indeed a bit awkward, a feature like this is not all that unusual.

The design strategy will, as always, depend on a specific set of needs as well as on personal tastes. But as you weigh the options, keep the following possibilities in mind.

A window nook can be a perfect place for a miniature indoor garden. All that's needed is a platform below the window and in between the protruding walls. House plants could then be placed in individual decorative pots or in a single, large, custom-made planter on top of the platform. Include some rocks, moss and perhaps even a piece of sculpture, and the composition will be complete.

It's important, however, that the space not become cluttered with objects or overgrown plants. The view out the window should never be made to compete with whatever is placed on a ledge underneath.

A window seat is another strong candidate. And because your space is 8 feet long, it's probably large enough to accommodate both a comfortable window seat and a platform for holding a single large plant. An example of this combination can be seen in the photograph, which was designed by Linda Holly.

An area rug is a good addition to such a space. It will provide definition in an area that might otherwise look a little nondescript. Regardless of its configuration, a room with a view should always be designed with this asset in mind. At least one seating group should be oriented toward the view.

My final suggestion is that you do not approach this project as though it were a problem in need of a solution. Thinking in those terms can complicate what should be a relatively simple and enjoyable task.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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