Window seat attractive option for design, storage
By Bob Karlovits
Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
For as simple as they are, window seats draw admiration in many ways.
Architect Gerald Lee Morosco calls them both a “perch” and a “punctuation.”
Homeowner Chris Pietrandrea says the window seat in her Wexford home has made the kitchen “warm” when it could be “big and empty.”
Designer and home builder Don Horn has used them to change the proportions of rooms.
Interior design Cecelia Staniec says they provide space, and “any time you can add storage and don't, it's a big mistake.”
Offering seating, storage and even a strong element of design, window seats provide a variety of reasons to be there. Design can be as plain as a straight line or can add curved lines around a round window.
They can be as basic as adding a bench between two free-standing bookcases on either side of a window.
“They do a lot for as simple as they are,” says Horn from Sewickley, best known for his designs of historically accurate colonial homes. He works with Jerry Horn Construction out of the same borough. “We try to do them as often as we can.'
Ron Virtes from East Hills Cabinet in North Versailles can understand why a designer or homeowner would want one.
“They are simple to make both new and in renovation,” he says. “You have a seat and you can create a storage space easily with a lid top or some doors below and just a little hardware.”
He also says they can make good covers for radiators, giving old houses new looks.
“They can create an alcove,” says Morosco.
While the seating and storage elements of window seats are the obvious advantages, Morosco looks to the role they have in defining an area.
The South Side architect is a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright. He says the design of window seats can help to blend the outside and inside elements of a building. If a seat is surrounded by cabinets, it “enhances the space” by “creating a pocket” that draws the eye.
That action then focuses attention and pulls in the outside, he says.
Elizabeth Albright says that definition of the area is exactly what happened when Morosco added one to a revision of three small rooms into a kitchen.
“I was suspicious of the idea and reluctant,” she says of the work in her home in the Schenley Farms area of Oakland. “But I have grown to love it.”
She says her eyes always go to that window, but the seat defines the area in a practical way, too.
“That is where the table is and that is just where the table needs to be,” she says. “And I can squeeze a few more people in on the bench.”
The seat in the Pietrandrea home offers the same sort of practicality in addition to changing the proportions of the room.
“It fills up the space in a useful way,” Chris Pietrandrea says. Besides seating, its drawers provide storage space.
The window seat was part of a extension to the house that enlarged the kitchen, and has provided enough space that the room has become comfortable in its role as a gathering spot for company.
All of those benefits make window seats almost a mistake to pass up, say the designers and crasftsman Virtes.
“It is pretty easy to do,” the woodworker says about making them. “It is really easy to build a box that is 18 or 24 inches deep.”
Most times, the creation requires only some simple woodwork, he says, although when a window seat covers a radiator it requires some insulation.
The simple project can make a space usable, Staniec says. She recalls adding a window seat to the kitchen in a small vacation home that allowed a table to be put in the room because it eliminated the need for separate seats on the one side.
Morosco says the use of a window seat becomes a “punctuation” that gives almost an inflection of voice to the design of a room.
That change in style can accomplish a number of things. Besides seating, storage and design benefits, some clients look at them as “a cozy place to read a book,” Morosco says, thus calling for a deeper space that also will accommodate pillows and cushions.
That sort of design is not difficult either, simply more demanding in the space it asks.
The window seat, Morosco says, is a way of creating a “pocket” that didn't exist in a room.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NHL suspends Penguins’ Engelland 5 games
- Penguins’ Malkin to miss next two games
- Lawsuit claims Squirrel Hill rabbi botched 8-day-old’s circumcision
- Pirates talk to Mets about trading for first baseman Davis
- Mother accused of attacking Pittsburgh elementary school teacher
- Former PSU lawyer: Administrators failed to turn over key Sandusky documents
- Pitt scientists help discover ‘hijacker’ mechanism deadly viruses use to suppress immune systems
- Murrysville Golf Course being sold to preserve it
- Penn Hills accident injures teen
- Steelers face decision on Woodley’s future
- Penguins’ youngsters Samuelsson, Despres show lots of promise