Sunday 23 March 2014

Corners of my Home

I'm taking a theme from Sian over at  Geek is the New Chic and chatting about various little corners of my house.

This is one of my fave spots but it may take some explaining -

See, I told you. It's actually a huge kitchen window. Like many houses in Chicago, we have a basement. It's actually about two thirds underground and the top of the wall (left in photo) that you can see there is ground level. As you can imagine, it gets a lot of light and is great for plants. This winter however, has been so cold that I've had to move a lot of the plants away and into the warmer regions of the house. Windows conduct a lot of cold.

The window looks like this from other angles -

This is when I'm' standing in the kitchen looking at it. (Can you see the new dusting of snow on the window? In late March!!!) If you stand outside in the back garden, you'll see those windows rising from the ground to join the back wall. They're about three feet high.

And this is what the whole thing looks like from further back in the kitchen. The stairs lead up to the back door and then up to the dining room above. The shelf thing that you see (with rubbish on, waiting to be taken outside, I do beg your pardon) is actually where the original basement floor used to be. Given that we have family members over 6 feet tall, a 6 foot basement ceiling wasn't going to work really, so we had to dig down. The shelf thing is actually reinforcement, which we had to do all around the perimeter of the house. It comes in handy but, as you can see, is often a staging area for bits and bobs. 

When we built the window like this originally, it was with a view to the kids (then 10, 7 and 0.5) using it as a reading nook. I was going to put large cushions in there etc. - but once we moved in, they showed no inclination to use it. (Probably because there's no TV or outlets there.) So now it's a plant place, as well as a means of spying on the dog when she's out in the back! 


  1. Very cool windows! And yes, it is the perfect place for plants.

    But I'm confused - your kitchen is downstairs? And the dining room is upstairs? Isn't that inconvenient? Curious minds want to know...

  2. I love this part of your house - and the fact that you adapted it by digging down. I can't imagine anyone doing that where I live in the UK (although I've always thought about it).

    And look at you mentioning the weather again...

  3. Gigi - Yes, the kitchen is downstairs but connected to a large family room where we spend most of the time anyway. Typically in these Victorian row houses, you'll find the main floor has a formal living room, dining room and kitchen at the back yet the families tend to spend a lot of time in the family room. When we moved in here I had two small kids and a baby so there was no way I was having a kitchen that wasn't right next to where they would be. It works really well We eat at an island in the kitchen and usually only use the dining table when we entertain or at Thanksgiving etc.
    The other advantage to having a basement kitchen is that when we have parties, people actually use my proper rooms and don't all huddle in!

  4. Oh and I put in a dumb waiter (food elevator) that goes one floor up from the kitchen to the dining table to we just pile all the stuff on and pull!

    Nickie - .. but now you see proof of the crap weather here!

  5. That is so cool. I'd love a basement.

    Is that snow outside??

  6. Ooh how fab to have a neb around a little bit of your house. And you've got a dumb waiter too! We live in our kitchen too around the island - it's a magnet for everyone.

  7. I love the quirky little things on your window sill and I saw the police man peeking out. What's his story? Is he keeping an eye on you?

  8. Clippy - It's actually made of sour dough from some little gift shop back yem. It used to have a police woman too but one of my snot-nosed ones dropped it! Sob!

  9. Trish, in our last house the kitchen was HUGE and part of the family room. This one's deliberately smaller and has doors and walls - I got fed up with watching TV or reading while looking at piles of dishes. Not civilized.

  10. What a brilliant idea showing us the lovely corner of your basement. I love it! Seems to be plenty of space. The window ledge is ideal for plants. Love the snow on the outside. Looks sort of cosier inside because of it!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May


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