Alcove Artistry

92ad16c6c3bb88efd2f669ea9c67e841If 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

787ac229ea64a140aed921f5333808bdb8b4127e4de3a85a2e4ec392b7da00faFabric 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.

fefad1218811826c0406496820c48ea2The 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.

f9948b2cadabf2e102886c72c6ad4845A 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.

cd8abd1d21c3bdace9afe441102fdf55194f09ca192a9de29a8f8aa9219073e3Alcoves can be just for decorative purposes, and especially useful for gaining storage space, such as shelves and cabinets.

368b36b729653b16005c2918c6d9e258This 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?

82256b01732e1ec58718fa46af5fbf6fMy love of alcoves started as I was looking for a way to install a soaking tub that we have purchased for the new many ideas, but only so much room!

83d2c88070fc3edc354a6d7fc1823d83Alcoves are not just limited to French decor. I even found one that would be perfect in a log cabin.

7949fefe2cbf9ddbc20bcc29f5d931acAn empty space in a Tudor home attic became an alcove for one very lucky avid reader.

So creative!

cbe3a757bf0ebc4adb9db22f28dd027aThis one reminds me of a Swiss chalet. The detail is impeccable!

4d89837647b34d8c1f6811279082dc1bSome more examples of the Chalet style complete with old original hand painted designs…

e77cba4ad12b86f90650e92f7f0b4cce….even for a baby’s crib.

f2b785362cde75543ffcde0e3e6088efThe 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!)

34a6f996cb3c74622cba888eea649187straight with rounded corners,

28b1080d1f34aef3d15b75ff0bbe6983heavily draped and detailed,

98cf5bca492fc4cfd7e8bcee909ad6ccor hand painted instead of fabric.

03e06fc7161e1266924b25cd742bd98d0bd422317db0d2dcd622bb7f03a85132I 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.

94066615ac95b3786d11414120545917I just can’t decide which gown to wear!


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