Continuing our series on DIYs from Saint John’s Opera Bistro makeover, today I’m going to show you how to use a nook to offset an open-concept space. One of the potential problems with our culture’s current infatuation with open-concept living is a certain lack of intimacy it engenders; too much space, or space without balance and proportion, can undermine the space’s sense of shelter. Nooks are an easy way to add warmth to a large room. Here’s how to create a nook without needing to rely upon the recess or corner placement that these spaces-within-spaces typically require. All design ideas were conceived and carried out by Punch Inside, Creative Director, Judith Mackin.
Warm, inviting, intimate: Opera Bistro’s new nook. Photo by Hemmings House.
Prior to Opera Bistro’s renovation, there were no real ‘nooks’ breaking up the large space. To give the room more character, we created a distinguished area that has it’s own unique look, and helps to make the rest if the space feel cozier.
• A distinctive, warm light. For the Opera Bistro project, we chose a Norm 06 (size: large) by Normann Copenhagen (available through Tuck Studio)
• iHanna Bird Hangers (available through Tuck Studio)
• Eye-catching placemats. For the Opera Bistro project, we chose a "Silver Tuxedo Stripe" Chilewich table runner (available through Tuck Studio)
STEP 1: The Lighting
When it comes to distinguishing a space, choosing the right “statement light” is very important. Whatever purpose your nook serves — eating (as in the case of Opera Bistro), reading, or simply a place of refuge — proper lighting is a make-or-break. The light must be functional and, in terms of design, both unique and sympathetic to the larger space of which it is a part.
Warm and distinctive: the “Norm 06” light. Photo via Normann Copenhagen.
STEP 2: The Art
In the Opera Bistro makeover, the wall treatments and light work together to create a cozy, sheltered feel. Treat your nook almost as you would a discrete room, by adding art. To create a little graphic intrigue, hang a few wooden iHanna Bird Hangers in front of your created backdrop or wall. NOTE: The steps for creating backdrops in everyday materials will be outlined in an upcoming blog in this series.
Unconventional graphic: the iHanna Bird Hanger. Photo via iHanna.
STEP 3: The Accessories
Make sure that every element in your nook ties together. As we were creating a dining nook for Opera Bistro, beautiful placemats were a simple, obvious and altogether appropriate choice to finish the look of the table. We used Chilewich’s Silver Tuxedo Stripe, for their lovely sheen and texture.
Sheen, texture and irresistible beauty: Chilewich table runner. Photo via Chilewich.
One last bit of advice: Don’t be daunted or intimidated by “too much” space. The beauty of nooks is that the larger the space, the greater the opportunity for the art of “nookery” (my own term!) to work its magic. By following the simple — and, better yet, easy to adapt/personalize — steps outlined above, you can create your own cozy little respite. Have your space, and nook it, too!
Next in Judith Mackin’s DIY makeover series: A creative way to frame found objects
Judith Mackin is founder and creative director of Punch Inside, an interior design firm in Saint John, New Brunswick. You can follow her regularly updated blog on JudithMackin.ca. Her design and décor studio, TUCK, is slated to open in June 2012. [Photo credit: Kelly Lawson]