Call it the grown-up version of being hidden away in a top bunk, tucked under the covers with a flashlight: Alcove beds achieve a sense of blissful sequestration, managing to tuck a lot of style points into abbreviated spaces. Here, we deliver a master class on how to transform forgotten corners into cozy cocoons that deliver nostalgia and charm—and even provide space-saving solutions.
A Little Greatness
Carved out of a grand room in the Château des Ravalet in Normandy, France, this hidden nook conjures a sense of welcoming intimacy beneath a scalloped pediment and a soaring frescoed ceiling befitting a 16th-century French Renaissance-style castle.
Lined with paneling painted a silvery blue and fitted with a bed built for two, this compartment feels like a ship of dreams. Designed by S.R. Gambrel, it has just enough amenities – reading light, storage shelf, tidy and ingenious privacy shutter – to feel like a complete suite.
In his Paris apartment, designer Alain Demachy hung a curtain that can be used to cordon off a nook in his living room to create a private bedroom retreat.
By setting off a sleeping area with weathered boards and a deeply colorful, slubby silk curtain, James Thurstan Waterworth transformed a cramped space in England’s Bradley Hare inn into a beckoning bolt-hole.
Pushed to the end of a narrow room to make the most of limited square footage, this bed designed by Veere Grenney appears properly canopied thanks to a pair of curtains and a valance in sumptuous cashmere, which frame the space and create a sense of architecture. Rope detailing on the ceiling further defines the area.
Katie Ridder turned a snug recess into a visually spacious hideaway with the elongating lines of a ticking stripe. And since every surface is wrapped in the pattern, it resembles a gift box—one that Ridder neatly tied up with a red ribbon.
The addition of a cosseting sleeping compartment means that Philip Mitchell‘s dressing room can do double duty as a guest quarters, too. Beadboard painted in a deep teal unifies the space and makes it feel like it’s been there forever; the curtains add a folkloric touch.
Outfitted with curtains and elaborate molding, this guest bed designed by Nicky Haslam feels like a stage set for turn-down service. A matching pattern on the headboard, walls, and curtains plays the neat trick of making the eaves recede, enlarging the space.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE FALL 2022 ISSUE OF FREDERIC. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE!