By Kate Riley August 3, 2011

I love my house, I really do. Nothing feels more homey to me than my spaces filled with all my people and my treasures.  It’s cozy, it’s comfy, it’s my sanctuary.  I could die in my house, I love it that much, and I am grateful for each day I live in it. 


I have thoughts of building again. I harbor them deep in my soul, and it keeps me awake at night. It’s why I continue subscribing to all those shelter magazines, tabbing all the ideas for my ‘next house’.  Confess, I know many of you do this too. You have  pages torn from magazines of the things you’d include if you ever build a dream home. I have many images stored in binders and also online, it’s why I’m a Pinning fool.  

One of the things I will have many of in my future dream house on five acres with a botanical garden and lavender field that I may or may not ever have the fortune to plant and build someday is a . . . nook.  Well, not one nook.  Several.  Many.  Many nooks would make me very happy.  The world needs more nooks, don’t you think?

I shall definitely build a sunny breakfast nook.

southern living kitchen nook via hookedonhouses

Southern Living


round banquette

via Kitchen & Bath Ideas


breakfast nook in kitchen

via The Simply Luxurious Life


bhg nook

Better Homes & Gardens


I shall tuck a secret nook under the stairs too.  It will make a great space for impromptu puppet shows or mid day cat naps. 

southern living reading nook

Southern Living


nook under stairs



My future fantasy home needs several window nooks too, a place for me and the dog or the cat and a good book. 

window nook

La belle vie

country living window seat

Country Living


 window seat house beautiful

House Beautiful


And I simply must have a built in reading nook in my fantasy dream home. This image below reminds me so much of the built-in bed in the house I grew up in.  It wasn’t white like this at all, in fact, it was all dark wood. Our reading nook was tucked away in the corner of our living room just like this, next to big bright windows, and my sister and I would curl up in in for hours, me with my Nancy Drew and she with her Anne of Green Gables.  We laid there toe to toe for hours, it was perfect.  

built in daybed

My Ideal Home


I love this one too, for its bold color and pattern medley. 

vintage chic nook house and home

House and Home

Here’s a fun colorful version, perfect for a kid’s room.

reading nook

Boston Design Guide, Fallon Homes


Of course, I’ll need several for all my grandbabies.  Yes, I think about my grandbabies, I must have many of them too.

sleeping nook built in

 BPC Architecture


childrens loft southern living

Southern Living


bunk room nooks



Nooks.  I need ‘em.  I need several of them in my fantasy dream home. 

If you could build a house from the ground up, what’s the one thing you would include?  Are you a nook obsessed like me? 





  1. Kate, I totally agree with you on nooks! I love em too! I often try to think of ways of incorporating them into my home but realize it’s probably not possible. Except maybe in our basement, although there’s not much natural light down there.

  2. Love the nook too! I have quite a few pinned myself. If I ever got to build a house I would have a giant craft room and my hubby would have is own, insulated, recording studio. : )

  3. Gorgeous spaces – I love the idea of curling up into a comfy nook to read for hours. Don’t think that will be in my near future yet though!

  4. We made a reading nook out of a too small dining space in our little house last year. Just tonight, one of my girls said that she loves our “library.” She says it sounds like we’re rich.

  5. Oh to have a nook … they don’t build them into Australian houses much but I use to see them on tv shows and think one day I’d have a house with one! It would have to be near a window that basked in sunlight and a mountain of coushins to sit on like the House Beatiful one!

  6. One of the most awesome homes I was ever in (home of my former boss, a talented interior designer) had a built in trundle bed in the kitchen. It combined the best of all of your photos, an awesome cozy reading nook, a built in for eating breakfast (all while regally perched like the Princess and the Pea) and extra sleeping in a pinch (though sleeping in the kitchen always seemed a bit weird, perhaps a dream for some foodies). I most definitely have a plan for some nooks in my dream home.

  7. Now that we moved and have extra space I can have a sewing room all for myself. I like it. A lot!

    Those nooks are all amazing. I didn’t grew up with one, but they always fascinated me in decor magazine.

  8. My dream house would have a fabulous front porch…preferably a wrap-around porch! (Think the house in The Big Chill.)

  9. YES! I have always, always loved breakfast nooks and am determined to incorporate that design somehow into my next home. But I am also drooling over the multiple nooks seen in kids bedrooms. I would love to have something like that since my kids share rooms. I must steal all of your inspiration photos.

  10. I would love a window seat nook. A sunny one with lots of throw pillows and great textured blankets. My dream home would have lots of natural light. That’s probably my biggest wish. I love high ceilings and chunky white crown molding and creamy beadboard and chair rails too… My bedroom would have a high enough ceiling for a canopy bed with billowing sheer fabric and there would be room for a reading nook next to a fire place. Oh and every single room would have a chandelier. Every door would have a crystal knob. Oh and closets! My dream home would have lots of closet space. And a great room with windows facing east and west so i could watch the sun rise and set. (There would, of course, be a window seat for each side ;)

  11. Ooo, I heart nooks and window seats! We have the perfect space for a little window seat in one of our guest bedrooms (whenn I finally get to decorating it!). In my dream home, I’m allll about a private porch off of the master bedroom with a nice cozy furniture set. Wouldn’t you love to start your morning with coffee on the porch in your pjs!

  12. I also like nooks, specifically window seats. I’ve always wanted a room with one.

    I really like my house, but would love to add a 4 seasons room and a finished basement. I’d also make my kitchen larger!

  13. I was so tickled to see this blog on nooks! I am a huge fan of them, and thankfully my husband and I have just bought a beautiful old home that has several of them in Camden South Carolina! I will have to have you over sometime Kate!

  14. Now you’ve got me thinking about nooks! I’d definitely have a breakfast nook – and I LOVE the nooks under the stairs – and in attics – and near windows! Ugh. Love all the pictures :)

  15. I, too, love nooks. Oh, how I crave them. But I do crave another thing more. Something secret. That only me and the people I love know about. A secret drawer, maybe, or a secret room. Oh how I wish that I could build my own house – I would certainly build a ‘secret’ room that only had access to it through a big, old armoire, or a functional bookcase. Sigh. I am so in love with that idea! :) Thanks for posting all the lovely photos!

  16. A nook would be lovely. Not common in Florida so sadly I’ve never had one. I love our house. When we are done with the renovations it will likely be our forever home. The only things we’ll add to make it fully dream worthy would be a pool and the addition to the art studio for the hubby. Maybe when we add that on we can do a nook ;)

  17. I love nooks as well, I would definitely have a reading nook, and a window nook, as well as a wrap-around porch and five acres with a self-sufficient homestead. Also a sewing/craft/music room or shed where the whole family could be creative together. (And not have art supplies/fabric/guitars all over the living room like we do now sometimes!) However, I guess that’s what living rooms are for, right? Living in! So for now, I will be content with my small, cozy house. We do currently have a nook of a laundry/sewing room that I enjoy quite a lot. :)

  18. I love it! Unfortunately, you and I are both victims of the “in my next house” syndrome. Sigh. However, my next house will need about 12 staircases. You and your nooks. Me and my staircases. :)

  19. Kate,oh yes adore nooks of all kinds they make even the largest home more cozy and comfortable!!


    Art by Karena

  20. All are so beautiful! We bought our house new in 2009 and I really, really love it, but it could definitely use a few nooks. I really wanted to add on a four season porch but we installed a deck instead.

    Reading nooks are now high on that list too.

  21. I love nooks as much as you do!! They really add so much character to a home. I really wish I had something like that in my home, but alas, until I own a place of my own! Lol!

    Btw, I was going through some of your DIYs for your home and amazing work! :D

  22. i’m obsessed with nooks too! we finally have some in our new house, but not enough! ;) is there ever enough nooks? i’ll continue to pin my favs! great post!


  23. I am fortunate to have 3 built-in seats in my house–2 window seats and 1 seat in a hallway. The hallway ‘nook’ is my favorite place to sit and have a quiet moment. It is around the corner from the family room and I often sit there and listen to the daily noises and activity of my family. That makes me happy! It reminds me that what matters most really is the small and simple things of life.

  24. What a timely post. We are getting ready to start the process of designing and building my dream home (modest sized as I subscribe to the not-so-big house philosophy). I am so overwhelmed by the many choices . . . mic-century modern, Victoria, farmhouse, bungalow.
    My one must have is one room with double built-in bunk beds with trundles underneath. Will be able to sleep all my future grandkids . . . or a lot of guests.

  25. Wow..those nooks look great… !!there were a great many nooks in the old houses my parents grew up in a days no one things of building many nooks..

    I think those give a house great character… I have a bay window nook now.. but so far I have no made it cozy… your post has inspired me… so as soon as I’m done, I will post abt it …thanks…

  26. I have two window seats in my dormer windows. Unfortunately, they aren’t big enough to stretch out and read in. But I live in the woods and the view is tree tops so it is like being in a tree house. I also have a wrap around porch. Completely fitted out with wicker rocking chairs, a wicker swing and a tiny bistro table and chairs. Lovely to sit on when it is softly raining. The only thing I wish I had was a screened in porch. The porch is great, but quite buggy most of the time. I fell in love with a screened sleeping porch in a Southern Living show house in Big Canoe, GA. It is my dream house.
    Love your photos all the time!

  27. I especially am loving those bed nooks :)
    My dream home would be a big, rambling mid-century modern rancher, with a deck on the back surrounded by woods. And it would have a sunken living room with a stone fireplace. I guess that’s kind of a nook – in it’s own way.

  28. I don’t think we’ll ever build (we just bought our 2nd and it’s supposed to be our “until the kids are gone” home). There are SO many things I’d include… I LOVE the idea of you and your sister snuggled up in a nook reading – I’d have loved to have been in there with you!

    I have several rooms pinned for grandbabies!!! I already told my husband that though we may only have 3 bedrooms in our retirement house, one of them WILL be filled with beds for slumber parties! I can’t wait and my babies are only 3 1/2 years and 4 months. :)

  29. Kate I didn’t know I wanted nooks until you mentioned it :) Ihad a bed nook growing up and it was the best. It was what I asked for for Christmas, I had a funny shaped room and it was perfect!!! In my next house….carera marble, white subway tile backsplash, hardwood floors in the kitchen!!!

  30. Think you’re on to something with the nooks. I’m all about the wrap around porch. Always have been. Hope to build one in the next few years, or so. If and when that time comes, I’ll throw in a nook or two in honor of you! ;)

  31. …oh, and dormers, too. come to think of it, what about making them true dormers and incorporating nooks in each window? Rather than building dormers for the sake of adding interest to the front elevation, I’m thinking window seats in the rooftop windows sound inviting. Three for each of my kids. Ahhhh, yes…

  32. Hmmm. We had one of those breakfast nooks at our old house (it’s in my house tour on my blog). I hated that nook. It was a total waste of space, and I found we just didn’t go in there. Ever.

    If (and that is a big *IF*) we ever build another house, I would fill it with custom storage nooks.

    Now, that’s my kind of nook!

  33. Oh Elizabeth, now you have me dreaming of a secret closet too, you know the kind where you pull the mystery book and the bookcase opens to show a secret hideway, fantastic! Like something out of a book or movie or dream!

    And Robin, I’m with you, courtyards are so enchanting! Just the other day, we were having lunch at the El Dorado Hotel & Restaurant in Sonoma, they have an amazing courtyard filled with trees and tables, it had me dreaming of one of those too!

    Kate :)

  34. Your nooks are lovely. But there are two things that I want, after having raised a family. A large, airy laundry room/sewing room adjacent to the bedrooms…where you make the laundry! And, mudroom at the back door, with an attached lavatory. All of this with 1950 size bedrooms! :)

  35. A mudroom! We built our custom house in 1998 and didn’t think of a mudroom, a nook, a shower in the garage or having two ovens, other than that it is perfect. : )

  36. Yup, I do that too. But I don’t think my limestone tower (that’s actually a gigantic walk-in stone shower in the huge master bathroom) is going to happen in this house or any future houses. Lovely breakfast nook photos. It would be a lovely space to have, in any home.

  37. OMG do I love a nook!! Seriously, could have written this post word for word! I love our home, but I am constantly fantasizing about another dream home – one that is filled with nooks, esp a breakfast one:) Love your blog!

  38. I’m definitely obsessed with nooks, especially attic nooks. It makes me think of “Little Women” and how they played in the attic. I was about to show you a Pin of one of my favorite attic nooks and it took me back to one of your posts! Ha! So I guess you already know about that one.

    If I built my own house, I’d definitely go for a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of windows… bay windows, dormer windows, french doors, huge glass walls. I love windows.

  39. My “the house we will build” board just grew by several pins. The reading nooks are the best!

  40. My “the house we will build” board just grew by several pins. The reading nooks are the best!

  41. Bay windows! I can’t get enough of them; and if the view from the window happens to be a sprawling ocean, then that is paradise! Nooks are fun too, growing up it seemed like all our family get togethers ended up with the women in the kitchen and the men at the table gossiping like the “hens” they made fun of. Funny how a grandpa can know just as much about the goings on as the women. :) Nooks and bay windows always seem to bring families together.

  42. Dreaming is what keeps us alive… I’ve had to resort to helping friends remodel to get my fix. My husband told me yesterday to get a contractor’s license…

  43. Oh, man, nooks are the best. I loved the idea of window seats, of cushions tucked under large, bay windows — the kinds of things one only sees in plantation houses, not the modular suburban home stylings I grew up in. The one with the bold mix of colors is fab!

  44. I love built-ins. No matter where I end up, I will include built-ins somehow. Whether in the form of bookshelves, a bed, a nook, a window seat. I think it makes a room so charming. My brother’s old home has wall to wall bookshelves and it is so lovely and makes me nostalgic thinking of my grandfather who was an English professor. Come to think of it, I’m fond of having a library room. That would be in my dream home.

  45. Gorgeous! I loved, loved, LOVED Nancy Drew as a kid. I think I read every single one of the books.

  46. I love nooks too! I’ve been trying to figure out how to put one in my house for years now! Thanks to these ideas I may have just figured it out. And, at first glance I could’ve sworn the first picture was from your house!

  47. Nooks are great, and I’ve always dreamed of having one. I thought of making one under the stairs, but it is such a dark place that I opted for a more reasonable idea, storage. However, I still dream of having my little reading nook, and I know I can make it happen if we install a bay window in the living room. I would fill it with handmade cushions and a few potted plants, and would plant hydrangeas and roses outside in front of it. Dreams…

  48. Oooh, I am SO nook obsessed! Like you, I definitely want a lot of them in my future home! Mostly for reading books, of course :) But is has been a dream of mine, ever since I was very young, to someday live in a house with window seats.

  49. I know the real reason you chose the first picture (Southern Living) — the backsplash! Sorta looks like the one you did in the dining room. I like yours better, though, for the record :)

  50. I’ve always wanted a cozy reading nook under the window, with lots of textiles…drapes, pillows, throws, cushion. The dream house would also have to have built-in bookshelves and storage, a large airy laundry room, and a dining space large enough to fit a table for at least 10!

  51. we will definitely try for an under the stair nook (i have the plans for my new house tucked away in a file)…and for one in baby boy’s room as well.
    i am bookmarking this page!

  52. I love nooks! My parents have had a breakfast nook in their house that they built over 50 years ago and it’s always been the favourite gathering spot in the house. A couple houses ago, we had one in our house on 2 acres and I loved it. Hopefully someday I’ll have one again. And a porch swing. :)

  53. Ever since I was a little girls I have loved nooks! They are the best place to sneak away and curl up with a book, a magazine, or art supplies! I especially like the bed nook you have shown via My Ideal Home.

  54. Love these and your new page look! I have that same file (next to the last by Southern Living) in my future plans as well:)

  55. I think there’s a nook in your future. Come on, YOU can figure out one (or two) in that house of yours. Think hard!!!!

  56. Those really are lovely. :) I’m going to build in nooks wherever I can. They’re the people-sized crannies that make you feel sheltered, cozy, and safe. I wish I could have an Inglenook . . . that’s my biggest fantasy. But, so far, I haven’t been able to figure out how to add one of those . . .

    Oh, and btw . . . nearly ALL of the nooks you posted up there can be added to existing rooms. Soooo . . . what are you waiting for? ;) lol

  57. Love the little nooks :) I am embarrased to say that , until 3 days ago, I didn’t even know what a blog was until I stumbled upon this site researching “star wars” bday ideas. I am a stay at home mom and love to decorate and DIY projects. Any suggestions on how to “stay organized” with all these wonderful blogs! YIKES…..I am so overwhelmed! Love your site Kate :)

  58. Window seat nooks are my very favorite. I’ve always wanted one. But my REAL dream is Secret Passages!! I either played too much Clue or watched too much of the TV show Webster as a child. Both made me really want a house where a painting or a grandfather clock swings out and takes you down a dark hallway to another part of the house!

    Secret Passages might not be the most practical thing to have in a house, but I still love them!

  59. Maybe we should all get a DNA test…..we must all share a special gene. I too have a dreams of one day having a NOOK. Mine will be in my baywindow…I have sketched it with LOTS and LOTS of pillows, storage underneath…..I just need my husband to build it. That’s another story!

  60. LOVE this post! But, you forgot the halfway up the stairs nook that sits just under a window. In all of the Victorian-era homes around here and they are lovely!!

  61. I’ve always wanted a comfy window seat that I could read a book. My best friend said she wanted one with a big curtain, like in Victorian homes. She said she would hide from her children in there. We were fairly young and I thought it was funny. She grew up in huge house with a lot of kids and I grew up in a 50’s modern house, which I loved dearly (of course my family made it home).

    I also want a nook for the kitchen/dining table. I’d be even happy with a bench on the back side to save space and give extra seating.

  62. I love nooks, too! I always fantasized about having a reading nook/window seat when I was a little girl. Now I’m thinking of ways to make some sort of nook in my house!

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