Nooks for your Books

Nicole Marine
There are many options for nooks in the home.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

For years I thought that having my own home would mean having a big bay window with a soft, cushioned bench where I could curl up with my book and read as the sun went down. As a kid it was my duty to find the perfect nook, and I tried everything, including converting my closet into my own personal space with blankets and pillows. Now, as an adult, I find myself still in search of the nook of my dreams.

The reality of nooks

Unfortunately the style and design of the giant bay window and cushioned seat I’d always imagined is beginning to be one of the past. Is there still hope for me? Will I be able to obtain my dream of the perfect reading space?

My first thought was that I could add on such a space to my already-existing apartment, but Tristan Mulder of Legend Home Improvements in Breckenridge took that idea off the table.

“You can’t do it yourself; it’s all part of the framing,” Mulder said, though he added, “If you’re doing an addition and adding a wall in, that’s a different story.”

Working with Legend Home Improvements for two years, Mulder hasn’t seen a lot of spacious alcoves like the one I’ve described. He’s seen more of that on the East coast. The main reason these giant bay windows are limited in our county is simple — exposure.

“It’s cool,” Mulder said. “You’d have to insulate it really well and it’s not enough space to put in insulation and it’d be an extra place for air to get into your house.”

The limited nooks and crannies that are here in Summit County are for decorative purposes instead of lounging, meant only for books or plants, to make the actual living area more appealing to the eyes.

“Out here it’s usually a love seat with cushion pillows and throw pillows,” Mulder said.

Space is key when it comes to any kind of alcove you want to spend time in. Although the journey to finding the perfect piece of tangible solitude seems difficult in the High Rockies, it isn’t impossible. There are certain tips and tricks to obtain the perfect space in your own home.

Creating your nook

Just because it’s basically impossible to add in a giant bay window to an existing building doesn’t mean the building itself doesn’t have potential. A certain creative spin can give way to nooks hidden all over your home, or even next to your home.

By looking at the pure volume of the house, interior designers like Tracey Egolf of Egolf Interiors can see where there’s extra space lingering about unused, and turn it into the perfect place to escape.

“I’ve carved out some under-stair space. Those become wonderful fort and play rooms where the kids can go,” she said. “One had a bookcase that rotated from the family room. It looked like the bookcase but if you pulled a latch it opened and you could get under and could exit into the closet of the neighboring bedroom.”

When Egolf steals existing space, she makes sure there’s enough light to focus on whatever task, or leisure, that may be at hand.

“The distinction might be: are you reading off of a Kindle that has back-lighting or are you reading a book?” Egolf said. “You have to tailor the light levels to the type of space that you have.”

Every time I think of my perfect nook, the image is the same: I’m sitting next to a large window, the natural light is shining on me, I’m warm and I have a book resting against my knees. The nook is perfect just as it is. Realistically, that may not be ideal. My nook serves no other purpose than as a reading spot. Egolf has a different idea when thinking of creating these comfortable spaces.

“I try to never have a space only work one way,” she said. “I try to have it be multi-purpose in some way. If I dedicate this to one interpretation, that’s very limited. I try to keep in mind that people might have multiple uses for things. I would make sure it was not a single function space so it would soothe a variety of people and I’d try not to connect it to bigger, larger rooms.”

Create a nook with potential, one that could be a quiet reading space where you can escape into a story or an artist’s retreat where you can get really creative. Perhaps it’ll become a safe, controlled playing space for the kids and then a study after they’ve graduated and you finally decide it’s time to write your novel. Whatever your niche, your nook should reflect it. It could be anything and anywhere that will make you the most at ease. For Egolf, her nook isn’t for books but a creative space where she can experiment with her art supplies.

In the meantime…

Luckily, such places as the Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco exist where I can borrow their comfortable reading space until I have one of my own. It’s comfortable, not too loud and there’s a coffee shop attached where I can grab some joe as I push past my need to sleep to read one more chapter.

Whatever type of nook you choose, I hope it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

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