After I painted my floors, and we were putting the living room back together, I had a conversation with my husband that went like this:
G: “What are you planning on doing with this alcove? You’re not going to put that crappy armoire back there again, are you?”
G: (Looking abashed) “Well, no. It’s not really crappy. But the floors are so beautiful and I feel like you should do something amazing with that space instead of just putting a boring old piece of furniture in it.”
Me: “I see. Like what did you have in mind?”
G: “I don’t know. You’re the creative one. Make something beautiful.”
This was the armoire he was talking about.
I wouldn’t call it crappy, but I have to agree that this would have been a boring way to go.
I didn’t have an answer for him at that exact moment, but that conversation got me thinking…
Why not think outside of the box and come up with whatever the hell I wanted to? THIS was a revelation for me.
This was the first time I really looked at my home like it was mine and I could literally do whatever I wanted to do to it. It was so liberating, that within moments, I had it.
I grabbed a pad of paper and sketched this:
My heart was going so fast, I had to stop and just breathe.
I don’t know how many people dream of having a yummy, cozy reading nook, but I’m pretty sure it’s a LOT.
I know I did.
It was almost too good to imagine. I showed the sketch to my husband and he was delighted (we’re both avid readers).
First of all, that alcove? It used to be a simple coat closet in the living room.
That was before our time.
Someone removed the door frame and created the rounded arch at the top. And honestly, they did a pretty bum job of it. Those walls were not flat in any way. But it still had possibilities.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a carpenter.
I showed him the alcove and showed him my sketch, and we were off to the races!
Meanwhile, I searched for color inspiration. That’s when I came across this color: Peacock Tail by Behr. I think my heart actually stopped when I found it. GORGEOUS!
I just happened to have a vintage chandelier lying around–it was supposed to go in my bedroom some day.
Nevertheless, it was perfect.
Meanwhile, the nook was framed out and started coming together.
The shelves were made to slide in and lock into place. They have a slight lip at the front that goes below the shelf itself. This makes the shelves seem thicker, but also lends strength to the structure.
I decided to go with the same paint that I use for all the trim in the house (Behr Ultra White Semi-Gloss). It looks awesome and can take the wear from little dangling feet that kick against the drawers from time to time. Besides, I keep it on hand for touch ups anyway.
I decided I wanted vintage pulls on those drawers and found a set of 6 on Etsy for $40. I love them.
My husband had a cushion custom cut from 3 inch foam and we wrapped it up in a duvet.
I picked up some throw pillows from Pier One Imports and Home Goods, and this beautiful hand-sewn kantha (blanket made from Indian Saris) from a local vintage boutique to finish the look.
Everything was assembled, and…
This is My Perfect Cozy Reading Nook:
This nook gets a lot of use. Many books have been read in it. Many naps have been taken in it–by people of all ages and sizes. It even served as a spare bed for my friend’s son when they came to visit us for a week.
I am smitten.
Reading Nook Storage & Details:
I always try and think in terms of function and uses and how to get the most out of both in my home (especially when I am remodeling). And I’d decided that the drawers would serve as a Gift Wrapping Supplies Station.
The top drawers are for gift bags, ribbon, tape and supplies, and the bottom drawer is for wrapping paper. Perfectly accessible whenever I need them (which is fairly often actually).
There is also an electric outlet at the back of the bottom shelf in the nook for a charging station for iPads, e-readers and phones.
We repurposed a decorative book as a charging station and keep a variety of charging cords on hand there. This is very popular when we host family events.
The chandelier proved to be a slight challenge because the light fixture was originally a closet light with a pull chain to turn it on and off. My chandelier was vintage and there was no pull chain.
I didn’t want to take away from the authenticity of the look by running cords down the wall, etc.
We explored options like installing a remote, adding a pull chain, and installing a light switch. Each of these had their own drawbacks. At this point, we actually consulted with an electrician and he suggested that we go with a switch just outside of the nook with a dimmer built in. It’s perfect and has a pre-set setting that makes the perfect lighting when I switch it on.
So, there you have it: my perfect cozy, hand-crafted reading nook that used to be a boring alcove, that used to be a simple coat closet.
Total costs were about $1200 including labor, materials, chandelier, blankets, pillows, bear, etc.
What do you think? Have you ever dreamt of having a cozy reading nook? Is there some area of your home where you could create one?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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