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windows, built-in, window seat, architect-on-demand, advice-without-strings

I’ve written extensively about a collaboration with a wonderful client while designing an in-home child-care facility. We successfully got the project approved by the City of Santa Monica. You can read about our process here, here, and here. Finally, it’s under construction; the client is selecting/purchasing windows for a built-in window seat at the moment.

She writes: “Went to the salvage yard today and it sounds like metal window sizes were usually standard and do not conform to our desired measurements.”

Window seat and the bathroom are the only two areas she needs to buy windows for. We are using recycled aluminum window panels she inherited from a friend throughout the rest of the space.

She would rather build the window seat exactly the way I’ve drawn it originally. She calls it “Alla’s Jewel Box.” However, the elevations she is working off of show the intent, not a particular pre-selected window model. They serve as a diagram providing guidelines on how the existing panels and new window components work together and align.

At this point in the project, it’s not feasible to go with custom windows. We can preserve the logic of the original design while working with what’s available.

I’ll handle all of the details based on the exact dimensions of the windows that can be bought off the shelf without paying extra for anything custom. The client is going with vintage steel casement windows from Freeway Building Materials.

windows, built-in, window seat

I don’t have exact heights yet, but am using standard 6′ & 7′ wide windows to revise the floor plan. No need for a complicated post in the corner any longer. My thinking is that we can use straightforward stud construction to achieve desired geometry. Simplifying is a good thing!

This alteration is a step in the right direction. Our built-in window seat will not be compromised.

windows, built-in, window seat

As soon as my client gives me exact dimensions, I will revise the elevations accordingly. Also. Now is a good time to consider all the uses for the window seat. Inviting and functional, it should feel separate, yet integrated into the space:

  • Lounge area where kids could gather for a story.
  • Wall-hugging banquette with roomy built-in drawers (easy reach) that will stow away toys, board games, and books.
  • Sunny enclave with a view of the garden accessorized with pretty, plush (easy to clean) fabric cushions.

Once we settle on the windows, we’ll have an opportunity to design the built-in window seat as well as double-duty free-standing furniture. I like the idea of a rolling ottoman that transitions between additional seating and a landing spot for a serving tray. And since it’s on wheels, the ottoman can always be where it’s needed.


  • Mia S Kazovsky
    August 1, 2018

    “Alla’s Jewel Box” I love that! Built-in window seats have always fascinated me. They are a perfect place to get lost in a good book or lost in your own thoughts and daydreams, so “Alla’s Jewel Box” is an extremely fitting name!

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