Built-in Beautiful

Call me practical, but the thing I envy most about the old homes I see in magazines isn’t the large wraparound porches, leaded windows or fancy woodwork – it’s space. 

Not any ordinary space, mind you – I mean the space achieved with artful built-in furniture, like the kind that was all the rage in arts and crafts and Victorian architecture at the beginning of the 20th Century. 

Photo from GTM Architects/This Old House

Seriously, whatever happened to built-ins? It’s like some mid-century architect decided that, rather than waste time crafting cabinets and cubbies, he’d just make the whole house bigger. Hello walk-in closet, goodbye yard space. 

But you just can’t beat one-of-a-kind furniture that comes included with your house. That’s why I dream of window seats, under-staircase storage, breakfast nooks, bookshelves that flank the fireplace or kitchen sink and an entire wall of mudroom storage (OK, I’d be happy just to have a mudroom). 

Photo by Helen Norman/This Old House

Photo by Nathan Kirkman/This Old House

Photo by Julian Wass/This Old House

This Old House

Old House Journal

Photo from Arciform LLC/Old House Journal

So far, the closet we’ve come to adding a built-in is pulling the warped door off a strange, narrow cabinet in our office to create an open shelf, which we’re currently using to store baskets of CDs.

The idea is to paint the shelves, frame the entire thing with a nice molding, and attach key tags marked with the genre of music – it just hasn’t happened yet.  This photo was sort of our inspiration – obviously ours is a work in progress.

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn/This Old House

 I’d better get it together soon, though – I’m running out of space. Maybe I should start studying carpentry.

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1 Comment

Filed under interiors, old houses

One response to “Built-in Beautiful

  1. Nadia

    Great idea! Once finished it will be even better than the photo.!!

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