Three-sided window alcove needs minimal treatment

DESIGN LINE

September 18, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Oddly configured window alcoves are often a challenge to decorate. Take, for example, a 10-foot-wide area formed by two side windows at an angle to a larger center window that projects several feet beyond the rest of the room. Is there a treatment that will take advantage of a fine view from the windows while also permitting privacy?

The configuration is not all that unusual. In fact, the alcove shown in the photograph is similar. Spaces of this sort were often incorporated into small living or dining rooms to make them look larger.

There's no point in cluttering the alcove with heavy furniture and elaborate window treatments. It should be kept light and airy to ++ preserve the view and the expansive effect.

Here are a few furnishing ideas for an alcove.

A small desk and decorative chair could be positioned to face out the center window. Or perhaps a writing table could be placed perpendicular to that window, with a pair of chairs facing one another across the table.

Alternately, a couple of occasional chairs with an important-looking table between them would lend color and interest. But please -- no lamps on the table in front of the window.

The photo suggests still another, more decorative, possibility.

Designer Buzz Dickens of Dallas chose as his centerpiece a steel-base table with a colorful marble top. It provides a good surface for displaying a small collection, though the table is certainly interesting enough in its own right.

Lots of sunlight can enter the space because Mr. Dickens didn't use curtains. He knew there would be no way to stack them without obstructing the view and the sense of openness. You, too, may find the most sensible solution to be Roman-style shades placed inside the window openings.

Their color and texture should blend with the surrounding wall-covering or paint.

In this installation, the choice was Conrad sun shades of natural rush core fibers. This semi-open weave allows filtered light to stream into the alcove even as it provides sufficient privacy for a living room. But if you wish to dress the space up a bit, I would advise adding a swag and jabot top to all three windows.

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