Alcove Wm


I’m at a loss to know what to do with this window in the dining room. My first inclination would have been a roman blind, which would cover the frame but leave the look uncluttered and the architectural features exposed.


Window opening Wm


The problem is the window. It really isn’t the type of window you’d expect to find in a centuries old house. But to replace all the windows is just not affordable at the moment and so it will have to stay. I just wish it didn’t open inwards and tip. It rules out any possibility of a blind.

Perhaps a portiere, or shutters that fold back to the wall?


Niche Wm


Well it might just work, if the profile were extremely slim, but then when pushed back they would cover the lovely wall niches on both sides of the bay.


Window wall Wm


Perhaps a curtain that falls from behind the first beam to the lower window sill? It’s tricky to see from the photo but the curtain would mostly end in mid air. The L-shape of the sill restricts its fall. I reckon the only practical option is a floor length curtain that pulls across the whole alcove. A shame because it is one of the main features of the room. What would you do?

We propose moving the radiator and therefore the sensitively positioned pipes. The woodchip paper will go too. And the carpet, which covers an original brick floor. Yet more beam stripping (or painting) to do. When all that’s done, I thought I’d make a bench cushion for the lower sill. It’s the perfect place for a window seat.


2017-11-10T17:18:55+00:00March 13th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Anne March 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful corner – apart from the pipework. A window seat will be perfect.
    Why not leave the window unadorned? ( I always look for the very easiest option.)

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      It’s tempting Anne I must admit.
      The windows just look very bare at night – big black holes! It’s difficult to get the room feeling cosy.

  2. domesticali March 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    I vote bare too – spent a great deal of money on huuuuge curtains for our very wide windows, only to discover we never ever use them as we’re not overlooked there! You could have a little pellet frill sort of short window dressing, if you really feel the need to adorn the space, but I love love love it in it’s simplicity.

  3. domesticali March 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    pellet? I meant pelmet. Damn autocorrect.

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      I’d agree with the simplicity.. if I did do anything at all it would be white and very clean, minimal impact.

  4. Em March 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    I see the problem. Very difficult and I think your floor length curtain idea is pretty good. If it’s a nice fabric, you’ll get a kind of attractive soft pillar between the two windows in the day. You’ll be heating less of the room when it’s closed at night too….just trying to see the positives!

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Heat insulation is an issue in the alcove.. it’s the one place where the wall is quite thin.

  5. haggiz March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Would it be possible to attach a small blind to the top of the window, rather than the frame so that you could still open it? It is such a lovely feature it would be a shame to cover it up. The window seat idea sounds lovely. Julie x

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      The prospect of a window seat was one of the things I liked when we first viewed the house.

  6. shaz March 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    What about a set of cafe curtains on rods/wires attached to the window? I have a tricky kitchen window as the sill is right behind the sink and this is my solution…….if I ever find the right fabric!

    The room looks lovely 🙂

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Shaz!
      I’m not sure whether I could drill into the window to fix the rods. It’s plastic (uPVC).

  7. Claire March 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful room. How often would you need to open the window? Could you hang a roman blind and attach the wood mount against the ceiling slightly away from the window so you could open the window a crack if you needed to? I’d probably just treat that window as fixed and decorate accordingly (although it does look beautiful unadorned)

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Claire and welcome to rusty duck!
      Mostly I open it to clean the other side, which is an advantage of inward opening windows, but could still do this from the outside with a ladder. It would make sense to hang the blind just far enough away to allow the window to tip for ventilation.

  8. Jill Chandler March 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    First off , sorry you know your own window, but are you sure it doesnt openlike a ‘proper’ window? Ours look like that and moving the lever makes it open inward, not tilt. Second I wouldnt cover up such a lovely feature, but to appear cosier what about 2 hooks into ceiling with likea panel of fabric threadedthrough thin pole, even a garden cane, hung on hooks, you could remove it in the summer, roll it up with ties during the day in winter. Depending on the fabric used could be a nice feature , say a tapestrey type panel, or whatever you fancy. If none of tnis makes sense email me!

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      Exactly the same – it does both, tilt and open inward.
      It makes absolute sense Jill. Thanks!

  9. Wendy March 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    This is a lovely feature of the room, but I can see your dilemma. I’m not sure what I’d do, but I would probably explore shutters (although I take your point about the wall niches). I guess a compromise has to be made somewhere, but it does seem a shame.

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      It isn’t an easy one for me. I feel the cold acutely and need to feel cosy at night. But that alcove is just too good to lose!

  10. Denise March 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Stained glass. Without a doubt.

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      It would look perfect wouldn’t it. How awful if that’s what came out to accommodate the uPVC.

      • Denise March 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

        The walls and window have a spiritual softness about them which what brought stained glass to mind. Imagine the colours playing on those walls when the sun shines through!

        • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply


  11. Annie @ knitsofacto March 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    I’m another who would leave as is, particular if the radiator is going … that corner of the room has a beautiful simplicity.

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      The comments have certainly got me thinking Annie. It would look better left.

  12. Sarah March 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    It is such a beautiful window it seems a shame to hide some of it. I have a window that just has some bunting across it.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      That would certainly soften it..

  13. Anne March 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I’ve just nipped through to the kitchen to take photos of the cafe curtain – I’ll email them to you!

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anne!!

  14. Judith March 13, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Plenty of excellent suggestions. I would leave it bare, but thoroughly understand the need for cosy-have that here too. How about a folding screen you could position wherever best created the cosy/private feeling? With your handyman you could probably make one and use fabric you really like to cover it.

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      That’s a good idea too Judith. Thanks!

  15. snowbird March 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I think it looks gorgeous as it is….If you don’t need a curtain or blind for privacy I think a pastel shade of voil surrounding both windows on the walls around them would look lovely and dreamy. I think the bench cushion for the lower sill is a good idea….I’ll look forward to pictures of your solution ….xxxxx

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      That would look good too..

  16. Rosie March 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Our bedroom window opens like yours – inwards at the top or fully open to clean so there is no way we can fit a blind and have to have curtains. Having said that our window is nowhere near as attractive as yours and I love the idea of a window seat, it would look best left as it is if it isn’t too much of an issue with keeping out the cold, perhaps you could hand a long curtain for the cold winter months and remove it for the rest of the year?

    • Jessica March 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Another great idea!

  17. Jessica March 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Your wonderful ideas are giving me so much to think about..

  18. elaine March 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    I am going to be no help whatsoever – I haven’t a clue what you should do – but everyone else has been very helpful – if you cogitate for long enough the answer will come to you I’m sure.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 9:18 am - Reply

      I didn’t know what to do either, and am discovering another of the delights of blogging. Lots of ideas to cogitate over now.

  19. CherryPie March 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    The room is sheltered by the trees outside so I would leave them bare too.

    Maybe for that night time cozy feeling you need something like the concertina style screens below:……0.0…1c..5.img.g-oKWqE33Y0&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43287494,d.d2k&fp=62901f147d56a76a&biw=1680&bih=925

    The screen could be put to one side during the day…

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 9:23 am - Reply

      You are right Cherie, it’s the cosy feeling I’m after. Privacy is not an issue. I like the idea of having something I can move out of the way when not needed. Thanks!

  20. Josephine March 14, 2013 at 1:34 am - Reply

    Yes, a lovely covered window seat, and maybe a beautiful piece of hanging stained glass in the window ?
    Such a pretty alcove !

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Thanks Jo. The stained glass would look lovely! All those constantly changing patterns on the wall.

  21. BadPenny March 14, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Leave it as is – gorgeous ! Is the window ledge deep enough to make a seat ? I would leave that as is too – such a pretty corner.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

      It’s just about wide enough. It’s not somewhere you’d spend a comfortable afternoon, but maybe perch for a cup of tea! It’s more a case of adding to the look I think.

  22. Heda March 14, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

    It’s a beautiful corner. My vote is for the hooks and curtain on a rod to hang each evening in winter and remove completely during the day. I have a glass back door in the kitchen and have been doing just that for years. There is very little effort involved in putting it up and it quickly becomes just part of the usual evening ritual.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Heda. Where do you store it when not in use?

  23. 1gus1 March 14, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

    It is a lovely window. I haven’t anything useful to add – everyone else’s ideas sound quite splendid and I’m sure whatever you decide will look just perfect.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks.. a bit of experimentation I think!

  24. Anny March 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Another vote for the ‘leave it as it is’ brigade. Such gorgeous spaces – no need to do more.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anny.

  25. Simone March 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I would leave it. If you are looking for privacy though, maybe you could put some extra tall/wide plants in front of it or even a couple of stuffed pheasants!

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      No pheasants!!!! 🙂

  26. Sue March 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    If you need the cosiness at night I would plump for a curtain that drapes and covers the entire window area but that you can pull back completely during the day to expose the beautiful window alcove.

    I know too well the feeling of those black holes when you live in the middle of nowhere, sometimes it’s nice to be able to curtain away the world.

    • Jessica March 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      As a stop gap I’ve been using a table lamp in the window, which creates a soft pool of light and mitigates the black.

  27. rachel March 19, 2013 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Tricky with such a tight fit; I’d treat it as a window that doesn’t open, and have a blind. And if insulation is a problem, a padded blind at that….. My sitting room windows are somewhat similar, although they do open outwards; they have blinds, and the curtains that go across their recesses are never closed, but are simply there to soften the look. Such lovely features need to be seen, I feel!

    • Jessica March 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      It is tricky.. I’m currently trying to find a pole that is stout enough (without having a huge diameter) to cover the whole wall span with only a bracket each end and one between the two windows. Then I could have a curtain which will pull back completely and leave the alcove clear. You are right.. it needs to be seen!

  28. Abby March 19, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Hi – well, you’ve had lots of suggestions! I think I’d leave it pretty bare – I like a cool, open look – though the window seat sounds a good idea. What about a large plant on the left, to cover up the pipe and add a bit of interest / greenery? Abby x

    • Jessica March 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Hello Abby and welcome to rusty duck!
      The cool open look is my favoured one too. We’ve a long way to go here with so much painted black but we’ll get it eventually!
      A plant is a good idea. In the sitting room we had one that sent out a climbing shoot and got all the way to the ceiling on the pipes there! Hopefully sooner or later the pipes will go. There must be a more aesthetically pleasing way of dealing with them in this day and age.

  29. elizabethm March 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I am a leave it bare vote too. I love the idea of the window seat. I have one in our kitchen. I wouldn’t sit on it for hours but it is a good place for a cup of tea and a look at the paper in the morning when the sun shines in. Old houses like yours and mine need you to make use of where the light comes in I think.

    • Jessica March 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      I’d agree. Light is certainly a valued thing in an old house. The deep window recesses and overhanging roof don’t help either. The price we pay for character.

  30. My Life In Sweden March 23, 2013 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I think your idea sounds really good. And so cosy to have a window seat there.

    • Jessica March 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alex, it seems a reasonable compromise.

  31. steph March 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    love the clean bare look, too—-I thought I had a unique idea until I read to the end… Abby, I think on the nights you want to ‘cozy’ up the space—you could plop a big plant on the window sill, one that could live on the floor other times!

    • Jessica March 25, 2013 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Thanks Steph. Getting in more plants will be no hardship!
      I’m enjoying reading about your London trip.

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