Design Dilemma: The Case of the Kitchen Sofa

If the kitchen is the new living room, shouldn't it have a sofa? The owners of this Peninsula home, Steve and Sharon, posed that challenge to architect Andrew Mann, and the result is a built-in window seat on steroids that works like a sofa, provides extra storage and looks fabulous.It started when Mann visited his clients' home to discuss another project. During the meeting, Steve (last name withheld) mentioned that the problem with the house, which Mann had worked on previously, was that there was "no comfortable place to sit down and read the newspaper."

The comment set architect and homeowner on a search through the home to find the perfect spot. Mann discovered it here, in the kitchen.

"They had been using a bay window as a breakfast nook," says Mann. "But there was adjacent floor space that was wide open and not being used for anything. We pulled the table away from the window and decided we could make better use of the space."

Mann helped design a large window seat that makes a comfortable—and central, which is great for a family home with two adults and two kids—place to relax, read or do homework. As a bonus, side cabinets and under-seating drawers provide extra storage.

Mann made the lighting work by moving the central ceiling fixture to the middle of the room, keeping it over the dining table. He replaced it with can lights above the seating area and table lamps on the side cabinets, making the spot appropriately lit for reading or studying. "You definately do not what to read by a overhead light," Mann says.

The orange-colored upholstery and yellow and green pillows fit perfectly with the spice color palette interior designer Martha Angus established in an earlier remodel. You can see more of this house, and the many design solutions it holds, in the November/December issue of California Home+Design, available November 11.

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