Nooks for Built-Ins: Beds, Benches, Stairs, and Attics


Transcript of Video:

This is Nathan Harrison for Here’s a little puzzle for you. It’s very unusual to find a kitchen like this with truly built-in cabinets into a wall with part of the kitchen cabinetry. But how can you explain the position of these built-ins? We have wall cabinets, then an oven cabinet. But there’s something strange about their positioning. Any ideas? Well, the answer will be a little bit later.

If you’re going to live somewhere, you might as well make it beautiful, make it something that you love. And so we’ve been talking about finding nooks for built-ins. The goal is to creatively find or generate cavities, or dead, useless spaces in the house and turn them into very high value storage or display space.

One fairly obvious area we have not yet talked about is fixed furniture or features of the house that we can nestle built-ins against, inside of or under.

If a bedroom is such that the bed can only have one position, why not make it a built in bed and put in some of these wonderfully huge drawers that go in the base of the bed?

Or how about a custom headboard? This creates potentially a lot of storage.

If the table for your breakfast nook is always going to be in a certain location, why not put a bench on one side of it that usually has some kind of storage (usually lift up top storage) beneath the seat.

This breakfast nook has very long, large capacity drawers inside of the seats.

Moving now to fixed features of the home that create dead spaces: stairs are an obvious choice. There’s a door here and here. Or, what about stairs made completely from cabinetry? And remember, even if the stair is not exposed, it doesn’t mean there’s not space under here. Here we’re putting cabinetry just below ascending stairs.

And the answer to our puzzle: this cabinetry is avoiding a descending stair going down to the basement.

Another great opportunity for built-ins is what I call rafter pits. This is where you have a room, probably a finished attic where the rafters are coming down and would eventually meet the floor. But of course, the room never gets finished all the way out to that point because it would not be practicable. And so at some point you bring the wall down, straight down to the floor, and that creates a void that’s almost useless. But it can be used for built-ins.

Here’s a rafter pit – beautiful. Here’s a shoulder rafter pit at a dormer. You can see the framing is being prepared for built-ins.

This built-in bookshelf makes use of only a small amount of the potential space in this rafter pit. Here’s a tip: when you have a dormer like this that’s cut in the middle of 2 rafter pits, as this one is, you can make use of both the walls toward the house, and also, this wall inside of the dormer for built-ins. We could have a small built-in down on this side that would use the tail of the rafter pit.