If you happen to follow me on Facebook, you might remember me posting this photo as a beautiful way to enclose a tub. Another name for this enclosure is an alcove.
Alcoves have been used in homes for centuries. One of the original purposes was for sleeping with insulation from extreme temperatures
Fabric played a significant part in finishing the alcove. Lush drapery was not only for decorative purposes, but also served as protection from the cold or perhaps early morning sun.
The above picture is a perfect example of an older beautifully detailed alcove. The delft tiles probably are a clue to it’s origin being somewhere in the Netherlands. The bottom is hand painted in very traditional blue and white. The doors add extra privacy and also a way to conceal the bed when not in use.
A bed that is set into an alcove is similar to what a “Murphy Bed” would look like when open, but on a permanent basis. Daybeds or twin size are commonly used in alcoves because they are easy to conceal on all three sides.
Alcoves can be just for decorative purposes, and especially useful for gaining storage space, such as shelves and cabinets.
This alcove is from a room in Versailles. The detail in this room is so perfectly French. Tassel trim, gilding, crystal chandelier and the intricate wood parquet floor (also known as the “Versailles” pattern) are all typical of the period….perhaps Marie Antoinette read in here?
My love of alcoves started as I was looking for a way to install a soaking tub that we have purchased for the new house.So many ideas, but only so much room!
Alcoves are not just limited to French decor. I even found one that would be perfect in a log cabin.
An empty space in a Tudor home attic became an alcove for one very lucky avid reader.
This one reminds me of a Swiss chalet. The detail is impeccable!
Some more examples of the Chalet style complete with old original hand painted designs…
….even for a baby’s crib.
The main focal point of an alcove is the archway that surrounds it. It can be cut into custom curves, (although I would have used different artwork!)
straight with rounded corners,
heavily draped and detailed,
or hand painted instead of fabric.
I am planning my bedroom alcove and want to have overhead lighting for reading and switches on either side so there is no argument about who turns it off. I also will make room for two small night stands and then have closets built in on both sides. I am excited to see the finished results.
I just can’t decide which gown to wear!