Window Seats: The Best Seat in the House
by Alexa Brazilian, WSJ Online
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Whether I’m snooping around an old hotel, flipping through an interiors magazine or fantasy-browsing real estate online, I always gasp when I spot a window seat. I get excited about these built-in perches the way most people do about original floorboards, walk-in closets or working fireplaces. It’s true they’re typically little more than a bench incorporated into a bay window, but to me, these nooks-with-a-view represent the simplest pleasures of home life: spending a lazy September Sunday reading on cushions warmed by the sun, or watching a wild rainstorm unfold while wrapped in a blanket.
Window seats have a practical side. In addition to being spatially economical, they can conceal air conditioners, radiators and power strips. Earning its keep, a U-shaped seat in a window bay can play host to a card or breakfast table. These benches can also turn windowed stair landings into more than way stations, creating a spot ideal for conversations.
If you’re thinking of adding a window seat to your existing house, remember: Where there’s a window, there’s usually a way. The key is to incorporate the seat into your architecture; match molding materials, paint colors and upholstery fabrics to the rest of the room’s décor. Window treatments should also be in sync—or completely absent if there’s a view it’d be a shame to obstruct. “The designer trick here is to get the seat height right,” said Boston-based designer Gary McBournie. “The seat, including the cushion, should be the same height as the surrounding chairs.”