Built In Place Multitasker: The Window Seat

Growing up in Mumbai, one of my hang-out places was sitting at a window seat in my friend’s house. She lived on the 10th floor and had a view of the surroundings. It was not iconic beaches or fabulous skyscrapers but just generic cityscape. But it was not about the view. What I loved was sitting on the cool stone seat with a cup of tea and chatting with her while the sun went down and lights came on. We discussed boyfriends, movies, projects since we worked together and many other things.

The built-in seat, broad enough to sit cross-legged and low enough to be able to lounge is a wonderful addition to any space. It creates a space which can be used by a single person or by a group of people. It’s a great multi-task design feature with many variations in size and shape and can be added to any room of the house.

In the family room, it can unify and create focus. Think of a wall with a T.V. and fireplace. A long ledge will unify all these elements. If it’s wide enough (at least 16”), it will be able to able to seat extra guests and hold all the audio-video equipment.

In the kitchen, it can be the breakfast nook and replicates the banquet seating at a restaurant. It can be along one end or L-shaped and if space permits, U shaped. The bonus storage can hold that large platter pulled out only on Thanksgiving. Or the storage can be open cubes to stash board games and coloring books.

Without a doubt, storage is a key feature. If it’s closed, drawers work better than lift ups. Drawer fronts which extend an inch or so, will act as pulls while maintaining a clean look. Not having knobs knock on the back of your knees is beneficial too. In one of our current MAK projects, we are adding a seat which is deep (30”) to enable comfortable seating but have drawers only 24” deep. This is enough for easy access and not lose the special DVD of the last family reunion.

If the built-in seat is by a window, it’s a magnet for conversation or quiet time. Making the seat padded and with cushions makes it very comfortable. In my house, I have created a window seat by placing two chaise lounges foot to foot. Adding a window seat to a bay window turns the classic and seemingly outdated element into a focal point of the room.

More houses are built or remodeled with the concept of a combined living-dining-kitchen public space. All kinds of activities from boisterous birthday parties to quiet Sunday morning coffee with newspapers (or tablet) takes place. The window or built-in seat can be a wonderful addition to your home!



Ask the Expert 2022 – Matt K.

MAK's own Matt K. was featured this year as SacTown magazine's construction expert. Read an extended version of his expert advice here!

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