Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Snug Sleeping Quarters

Today's theme is...beds placed in alcoves. Sound a little claustrophobic? Perhaps, but it also seems cozy too. Obviously, a bed like this would only work for a single person. Imagine the person who is wedged against the wall trying to get out of the bed for a midnight trip to the loo? Way too complicated if you ask me. But for one person? Well, I think it's kind of an intriguing idea. And, as with many things, the French seem to do it best. At least, they did back in the 1950s when all of these photos were shot.

The photo at top is a bedroom in the country home of Jean Marais. I love the color combo and the slight bordello feel to that red velvet lined niche.

A niche that doesn't seem so confining. The lectern looking table is a clever addition with its bronze somno on it (Latin for sleep.)

One of my favorites. This one was slept in by designer Emilio Terry. Those sheets, however, might just be my favorite thing in the photo.

Tucked away in Toile du Jouy.

So French looking and so perfect. The bedroom of Mme Billotte as decorated by Henri Samuel.

I don't show children's rooms often, but I couldn't resist this one.

(All images from Les Reussites De La Decoration Francaise: 1950-1960)


  1. Alcoves have long been a favorite of mine and children really seem to love the snugness of them.
    Thomas Jefferson had his bed in an alcove between two rooms and thus open on both sides. Perhaps losing some of its coziness.

  2. The Childrens room came out perfect.
    I happen to think it is a great way to use a small room. Just do without a closet.


  3. I love a built in bed niche like these -however,I think my favorite is at Thomas Jefferson's monticello where it is open on one side to his study and on the other to his bedroom. Not as confining then either.

  4. So, so pretty. Love the sheets too. The children bedroom is precious.

  5. I love this look. You have security, comfort and if done well, a fabulous focal point for a smaller bedroom.

  6. I've always loved the idea of beds in alcoves--so cocoon-like :)

    The greek key detailing on the top sheet is
    FAB-U-LUZZZZ!!!! It was also my favorite element of the room --I was to replicate it asap ;)


  7. John J. Tackett10:18 AM

    I frequently employ a bed alcove, more often in a renovation rather than new construction, as a way of adding extra closet space. (But I locate the bed in the nontraditional but more practical placement with the head against the back wall). And speaking of necessity, there was an instance where I placed an emergency water closet in one such arrangement.

  8. The first photo reminds me of Cruel Intentions.

  9. With more than a bit of claustrophobia, it amazes me how I am drawn to tented spaces. By using the smallest of our four second floor bedrooms as the place to house our bed, we ended up with an intimate cocoon of a space with room for both of us to made our trips to the loo. Best of all worlds!

  10. Love all of these shots! I've always wanted an alcove where I could put a daybed and cozy up there on rainy days for reading;-)

  11. Anonymous9:40 PM

    my fav "bedroom" of all time was a strange little hall between the living room and the den -
    it had a closet and was the size of a single bed-
    and depending on season and visitors i would close either the door to the den (summer) or the door to the living room (winter)-
    it was very cozy

    john in nc

  12. Never slept in one, but they always seem like the perfect place to hide and read a book, or for children to play house.

  13. This type of bed has long been traditional, from royal France to Puritan New England; a practical choice in an era of poor heating, it was also a graceful way to tuck the bed to the side, in days when ladies frequently received quests while in bed (again, a French custom, often misunderstood as licentious by the English)

    I wouldn't want to share such a bed, but as a child's bed, a single person's bed or a guest bed, it is eminently practical and inviting.

  14. Anonymous1:07 AM

    These look so inviting and cozy. Lovely!

  15. Your book source is one of this old soul's favorites! Isn't it amazing the quantity of alcoves it contains? The50-60s were probably their last heyday, when people were still so concerned about Dreaded Drafts!

  16. We just bought a new house and I think an alcove bed would be perfect in one of the rooms! Love the look!

  17. I think the built in bed niche is perfect for guest room/office. The bed is out of the floor space, tucked away, not the center of attention....and how fun to cozy up in there!

  18. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Don't forget Jeanne Lanvin's room! The best bed niche ever.

  19. I stopped to think about the significance of alcove beds in the living space when I visited my daughter's rural Polish in-laws and their friends. The idea of a bedroom as such seems to be alien to them. My albeit limited experience of them was that they prefer to sleep on sofa beds in the living room or rooms rather than dedicating them to our idea of a bedroom. One thinks of those traditional little wooden cottages with curtained alcoves..

  20. Anonymous6:15 PM

    I have long loved french day beds and have one such bed in our guest room. It is difficult to manage when we have 2 guests, but I just turn the bed and add a nightstand and lamp to the other side.

    Charlotte Moss's Kips Bay Room last year is a great example. I often dream of such a NYC Studio apartment.