Two aspects of built-in alcove beds fascinate me. First is the old-fashioned concept of an architectural plan that leaves a space just large enough to contain a bed that is closed in. Second is the way these awkward spaces are embellished and often made into special nests for guest or kid’s rooms. Difficulties changing sheets and making the beds don’t seem to be obstacles.
Alcove beds can be modern as our first Cozy Bed Alcove post showed. Or they can be as eccentric as Stephen Shubel’s whimsical black and white curtained affair [top]. Set high on a cabinet, with storage drawers below, the bed requires a step stool to get in and out. Graphic striped curtains on a track make it fun though with modern heating those are more a conceit rather than a barrier to cold nighttime room temperatures.
A mountain cabin in Norway features a kid’s room with beautifully crafted alcove bunk beds. There are with morgue drawers below and an adjacent closet in a handy spot. Even with the sweet bracketed tops they could not be simpler. Thick pads covering the decks are topped by featherbeds – so wonderful – keep things comfy. I can just see little kids in footie pajamas loving this room.
Old European homes often elaborate moldings like this one with peaks that suggest an Oriental influence. So lining all three sides of the niche with suzani fabric creates a handsome backdrop and supports the exotic flavor of the niche. What’s interesting here is the way a single bed alcove was repurposed for a double with extra space filled by practical floating corner shelves that support boudoir lamps.
The great English designer Nicholas Haslam gobbles up a double bed in this similarly exotic niche. But the treatment is so much more elaborate for a grand London flat. In traditional French style, the walls, headboard, curtains and deck are covered in the same small-scale print. Lighting is built in overhead. Bed curtains are tied back, not designed to function. And a fur throw makes it even more luxe.
All white is so safe. Change the quilt and you change the mood. These curtains may or may not function so it was wise to keep them short to help soften the lines of the woodwork. And this paneled, double-bed alcove would be easily to duplicate — even with the arching top.
(Source: Stephen Shubel, domoweinspiracjeiplany, frenchprovincialfurniture, NicholasHaslam, It’s All in the Details)
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