Spaces within Spaces
Thoughtfully designed nooks offer refuge and comfort in the hustle and bustle of larger rooms.
Synopsis: Architect Mark Hutker provides several examples of small, cozy spaces that provide sheltering nooks within much larger rooms. He also gives four design touchstones to keep in mind when designing such spaces: scalability, adjacency, material and thematic connection, and right-sizing.
The houses we build are meant for family gathering. Increasingly, that means creating hybrid spaces that can accommodate large groups when the whole family is present but that also feel comfortable for just Mom and Dad. The key is to create spaces within spaces — nooks and recesses with their own unique attributes that create intimacy in bigger rooms.
Inhabiting these spaces can be very pleasing. Being half in and half out of a public space fosters the feeling of being connected to people and activities while experiencing the shelter, relative privacy, or utility of a smaller, customized haven. We often make desirable berths out of edges and corners of rooms that might other wise be underused, turning them into breakfast spots, window seats, and even playful hideouts for children. Purposeful lighting, custom cushions, and built-in storage bays are little luxuries that enhance the specific identities of these alcoves.
The clients who commissioned this great room wanted a space that would be comfortable for both large family gatherings and intimate weekends. Vaulted ceilings and two stories of windows bring light and openness to the living room, making it a dynamic space for entertaining. A lower, wood-paneled ceiling gives the dining area a more intimate atmosphere for meals. The built-in bench nestled between the living and dining areas takes this intimacy to an even smaller scale, providing a harbor that’s perfect for a nap or additional living-room seating when needed. Clear wood trim helps to link all three spaces.
Cooking and eating
This farmhouse kitchen is broken into…