July 10, 2010
The first was in the kitchen along a wall near the door to the deck. The idea here was to provide a comfortable spot to sit in while hanging out and being part of the action. Then we started thinking about it. Would you sit there a little bit off to the side, slightly lower than the chef? Or, would you prefer to sit at the island and have a better view of whats going on? Could we use the extra counter space?
This kitchen is going to be the hub of the house, there is going to be lots going on and Allison and I felt that we could make much more productive use of extra counter space than a window seat. Who has time to sit anyways?
The second was in the living room in a corner with a beautiful view of the Charles River. The idea here is the seat would be quite large and would accommodate two lovely children sitting cross legged playing a board game. Then we started thinking about it. Whose children are they? Ours don’t sit still! Also, it seemed awkward to position yourself to be looking out the window. What else could we do with that corner? Christmas tree? Piano? After a lot of discussion there were two camps, the seat would be beautiful and fabulous! Versus, you will never actually use it! Hmm… we visited our friends who live three doors down who own a lovely window seat. Its beautiful once you remove the stacks of bills, magazines, and pokemon cards. We got the message, dumping ground!
So as for window seats in our house go, unfortunately, lose ‘em!
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My personal opinion is that when you think of a window seat it is usually in the living room or perhaps a library. It is true that you can have a window seat in your kitchen but you might want to reconsider that especially if you buy a great deal of food. Canned goods for instance can take up a great deal of space. From what I see from your drawing if you still want a view out onto the deck why not just move your table that you are going to be eating on a little closer to the kitchen entrance and place the window seat there. You would certainly get a better view of your deck. As for the one that is on the other window either eliminate that one or make it straight with the window instead of in the corner like it is and have it go the length of that wall. That way more people could sit there at the window. My thoughts are that by having it fit into the window corner as it does is that it would create a great deal of dead space. Also consider bringing a folding chair to the work sight this weekend and sitting in the various spaces where you want your window seats that way you will know for sure and it will save you a bit of money in the long run. Good luck to you!
I have to agree that as proposed, it is better to lose the window seats. The best ones are recessed and a little, well, mysterious, and these aren't.
If it suited you, you could bump out the entire front wall of your living room and have bookshelf/storage - window seat - bookshelf/storage. Though that would eliminate the wraparound effect of the windows at the corner. Given the view, likely not a sacrifice you'd want to make.
How about in the addition? Window seats (especially with drapes over them) are great places for kids to sit and dream when they get to be moody adolescents!
You both bring up good ideas we hadn't considered. At this point though, the window seats have been removed from the design.
We are currently working through quite a few of these design considerations, sometimes under a lot of time pressure. It can be stressful but we feel we are making progress and after a nights sleep and talking through the decisions with our great support network (our architect, our designer, Tom, and everyone else at This Old House) we feel really good about where we have finally ended up.
With the window seats, the reality for us is that the money can be put to better use in other places. As for moody adolescents... we are hoping the imminent adoption of a pet rabbit is going to do the trick :-)
The next huge design task is the whole kitchen layout and look and feel. We'll share that process in the next few blogs I'm sure!
Raveen I think you and Allison have made a wise choice as window seats are nice but really not necessary. Besides as time goes by if you change your minds and Tom Silva and his crew are gone you could always make a window seat yourself they are not all that hard to build. Another place to consider is the master bedroom provided you will have space. A nice place to store things and when you want to you can share it with your kids too. Then down the line think about having more some place else like the addittion which I hadn't thought of. I am glad you are posting as there are a great deal of people rooting for you and your family and happy to help when we can and have the time to give advice. Good Luck to you!
Oh I can't disagree more! I lived in an 1840s Victorian with two window seats, one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. The kitchen window seat was PRIME real estate during parties and get-togethers, as well as being the perfect place for a spouse or child to hang out and talk while dinner was cooking. I loved both my window seats, ate many a breakfast, lunch and snack while sitting with a book in the kitchen... the bathroom one was a little less handy, but still the perfect place to sit and put on high heels.
I did NOT find either became a place to stash "stuff" maybe because of their location. I can't encourage you enough to have a nice window seat in your kitchen if possible... go look on my blog back in 2006 or so, my Thanksgiving and Christmas parties always show pictures of people positively crowded into that window seat.
Hi everyone! First, I want to thank Raveen for his blog which has generated so much interest and everyone else for giving us their insights! There really are two camps! As the architect who proposed these window seats in the first place, I am, obviously, in the "for" camp.
What is important to know is that there are different kinds of window seats. Depending on the circumstances and if there is room, I like window seats that encourage sitting with your legs crossed and playing a game or curling up with a good book or just leaning back against some pillows and chatting. This kind needs to be deep, or at least have enough depth via an angle to give you options on how and where you sit, not the kind where you have to sit straight-backed with your feet on the floor. I have done several window seats where it is the most coveted seat in the house, regardless of users' age. You can check one out that I did that was included in the book, Not So Big Remodeling, by Sarah Susanka. It wraps around a corner and provides a place to relax and have that cup of coffee, with your legs stretched out, or crossed. It is in a corner of the kitchen with a pleasant view out the wraparound corner windows. Another window seat that I did recently was in the breakfast area and just provides an option for when you don't feel like sitting upright at a table or counter. Yet another window seat I did recently was in an angled bay window that was 2'-9" deep. It feels like a special nook. I could go on... In this case though, as Raveen points out, in the kitchen the trade-off was more cabinet and counter space which we needed. It just didn't make sense any more to have a very small window seat there. The one in the corner of the living however... well maybe in the future... and as Richard above says, you can always make one yourself in the future!
Posted by: Chris Chu, AIA, Architect |
Window seats in the kitchen is pretty unorthodox. I can't picture it in my head try as I might. I think all the above comments have good points but yes I have to agree with losing the kitchen one since you need a lot of space for a nice window seat.
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