Before and After: {Cozy} custom window seat

cozy custom window seat

I have always loved window seats. Whether it’s a place to just look out at nature or curl up with a good book, I think window seats add so much character and functionality to a space. Five years ago, we decided to transform our living room with some custom built-ins. Our living room is open to our kitchen and eating area, and it’s not very big. We lacked seating and storage, and so a window seat was the perfect solution.

We happen to have a fabulous friend, Jason, who is an all-around handyman. Seriously, this guy can do it all: from fixing cars to creating custom cabinetry. It was the perfect job for him to tackle. (You can check out photos of some of his work here.) Because he actually has a full-time job, this project took him about two months to complete, but it was totally worth the wait. Take a peek at the before and after. (Just as a side note, my friend, Misty (Jason’s wife), and their then-newborn happened to make the cut, since I had no other ‘before’ photo! Can you believe it? Too bad I didn’t know I was going to be doing a blog in five years!)


This whole project started thanks to that cabinet in the corner. We bought it at IKEA, and it seemed like the perfect storage unit for that space. If you look closely, though, you can see it was totally falling apart.

before Ikea video cabinet

The “drawers” tilted open, and they held videos/DVDs. My kids, who were quite young at the time, would open it up, choose their video, and let it spring shut. Unfortunately, the drawers were held together with plastic hinges, which easily broke. The worst part is it was bolted to our wall.

I started dreaming of what would work in that space. With nine-foot ceilings, we had a lot of  height that wasn’t being used, and whatever we did needed to center around the window. What you can’t see in the before photos is on the left side of the window were three floating display shelves, which featured a collage of black and white photos from some of our vacations. I wanted to incorporate room for displaying those too. And then it came to me: a window seat!

I showed Jason a photo of what I what I wanted and he came up with the actual design. He is a perfectionist {yay!}, so not only did he create the boxes for the built-ins, but he had to move the heat runs to be centered on both sides of the unit and run the electrical. Here’s a photo of what it looked like before it was painted. Fortunately, we were away on vacation when our living room was enclosed in plastic and the wood was sprayed with enamel. That stuff really stinks!

window seat transition2

I remember wondering if our space would feel even smaller, since were were actually losing a couple of feet into the room for the built-ins. But with the functionality of extra seating and all of the drawers for storage, it not only added space but actually made the room feel larger! The total dimensions of the window seat/bookshelves are 14′(W) x 9 ‘(H) x 21″(D).

The drawers hold DVDs, blankets, games and crafts. And with their soft-close hardware, the drawers gently close with no slamming!

We also had a bookshelf added underneath a window on the other side of the fireplace for added display and storage.


living room after

Our window seat has become one of my favorite features of our home. It seats extra company when we need it, and is a perfect spot to read a good book and enjoy some sunshine streaming through the window!

Happy designing!

Julee sig 2014_pink_xoxo-1_edited-1

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1 Comment on Before and After: {Cozy} custom window seat

  1. the cape on the corner
    May 13, 2015 at 9:59 am (3 years ago)

    that looks great, i’ve always wished for a window seat. it’s the perfect little nook for reading.


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