Bay window becomes cozy nook Design: Create a bench-type seating unit that looks like an original built-in.

DESIGN

June 02, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

My child's room has a three-sided bay window that forms a potentially cozy nook. I'd like to build a seat that would follow the window's contours. How should I design this addition?

First, you're right that a snug nook can be created -- for adults and children alike -- by constructing a seat beneath a bay window or, for that matter, any sort of deep-set window. I'd advise you to install a bench-type seat, perhaps like the one shown in the photo, because it can also be used for storage.

I always prefer such seating to look as if it had been built right into the recess rather than having been wedged in as an afterthought. If that is your preference as well, I suggest that you place a frame around the window tableau, as was done in the photo. The molding should be identical to the room's door frame or baseboard.

Such detailing will help accentuate the window area, which is already a major architectural asset. This decorative device will also allow you to make the alcove's color or wallpaper different from whatever is used in the rest of the room.

In this particular case, the designer covered most of the room with the "To the Circus" wallpaper from Thibaut's children collection. A coordinating stripe was affixed to the side walls inside the alcove, while a coordinating border was placed beneath the seat cushion and also under an additional narrow molding.

Instead of using curtains, I'd probably take an approach similar to that followed in the photo -- placing a softly gathered valance above half shutters.

If you opt for paint rather than wallpaper in your child's room, the same principle applies: Paint the alcove in a color that contrasts with the other walls. The color in the nook should also be darker than what's used in the rest of the room, because sunlight can reflect brightly on angled walls alongside a bay window. xTC Shutters, meanwhile, will probably look best if they're painted the same color as the woodwork and window frames.

We're having trouble deciding what to do about the foyer in our house. The floor is covered with vinyl tile, and the stairway leading to the second floor is made of wood. We're thinking of putting carpets on the steps and perhaps using a decorative area rug on the foyer's floor to make it look less ugly. Does this seem like a sensible plan?

If the floor is truly ugly, no decorative rug is going to make it beautiful. Why not install a beautiful new floor instead? While that's a much more expensive option than buying a rug, it may well prove a wise long-term investment, especially in an old house.

So let's talk basics. I'm sure you won't be surprised when I suggest that a wooden floor would be the best accompaniment for a wooden staircase. And since it is a large space, you could still introduce that decorative rug.

Pub Date: 6/02/96

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