Problem Spaces Ep 4 Recap – A Tale of Two Nooks


Window seat nook design

As someone who designs homes for a living, I’m a sucker for good architecture! I love non-traditional homes and cookie-cutter homes with quirky or unique details. I instantly light up and wonder what the space looks like behind the drywall.  

The problem is that those unconventional designs often make for problem spaces.  

While the exterior may draw all the eyes on the block, they’re most likely creating inconvenient rooms for the homeowners who live there. And if you watched this latest episode of Problem Spaces, you’ll know that that was the problem I tackled.  

From an oddly shaped living room nook to a literal turret in a house, a long road was ahead of me. But if you didn’t get a chance to watch, let’s recap the nook design ideas I came up with to turn those unusable spaces into fairytale ones. 

Wherefore Art Thou…Office? Meet the Hopkins Family! 

Do you ever picture a turret when you think about your dream home? For most house shoppers, a turret in a house probably isn’t on the “must-have” list. It sure wasn’t for Reese and Sarah Hopkins. But when they moved into their home eight years ago, the unique romanticism and historic medieval designs were too gorgeous to pass up—even passersby stop outside and admire it! 

But while this unique structure captured their hearts, they realized they’d bitten off more than they could chew. On the inside, the turret connects to the primary bedroom and hosts a wide peek-a-boo cutout that opens over the main staircase. With three kids, this meant less privacy and constant noise coming through the opening.  

Turret Office Nook Design Before

Additionally, there was a Juliet window on the other side of the cutout. While that space should have been peaceful, the noise from the staircase disrupted it, and the current storage window seat had too many oversized pillows for anyone to sit there.  

The other problem was the turret itself. While it stood as a gorgeous round room with high ceilings, the problem the Hopkins ran into was that the room felt overcrowded and unwelcoming. With an ill-fitted square desk, blue curtains that didn’t adequately block out the sun, and tough carpet that left everyone tripping, the turret’s interior didn’t match the stunning appeal of the exterior view. 

It was clear that Sarah and Reese needed this space to reflect the love felt in the rest of their home by making it enjoyable to work, plan, and live in. Of course, my mind was already racing!  

The Solution 

I knew I’d need to get creative to tackle this turret. While I’d never taken on a curved room, I was up for the challenge! My immediate thought in solving this dysfunctional space? Custom-made solutions.   

Wall patch to cover window

The first thing to tackle was the hallway and Juliet’s window. To give the main bedroom some privacy, I had our construction crew close up the patch in the wall. After that, I removed the oversized pillows so the Hopkins could access their storage. To dress up the area and complement the Victorian-style architecture, I added crown molding to the walls for texture and layers. Then, I painted it a beautiful, moody, chalky blue. With the easy part done, I moved on to the turret!  

With the room’s unique shape, I knew we wouldn’t find a desk to fit it, so I set out to create a purposeful design instead. I sketched a gorgeous curved desk that would work with the room rather than against it. I also drew up some plans for ceiling-height shelves.  

Custom Curved Desk Design

To make the custom work come to life, I passed my sketches over to my go-to custom builder, Carlos, and even asked him to add a special pull-out piece to the desk for Reese’s workspace. Once Carlos understood my vision and got to work, the crew and I started on the other details.  

We removed the carpeting and replaced it with gorgeous LVP flooring. We also removed the blue blinds so all the natural light could flood in, and we painted the room the same color as the hallway to make the smaller space feel bigger. 

Once Carlos brought in the customized desk, I added the finishing touches with a few eclectic pieces. This included a print hanging on a vintage easel, a tapestry from Pakistan, and other accents to add to the romanticism of the space. I also scattered family pictures throughout the hallway and into the turret to make it their own and bring even more love into the room.

Custom design nook

All in all, I’d say I succeeded in turning the space from awkward and impractical to magical and functional. 

Turret House Project - Problem Spaces

What Light Through Yonder Nook Breaks? Meet Rohit and Radhika! 

While working on the turret for the Hopkins, I also had the pleasure of working on a living room nook project for Rohit and Radhika. Like the Hopkins family, Rohit and Radhika had already spent so much time and energy putting love into their house, but when it came to this one area, they couldn’t get it to function as they needed it to. Radhika felt it was awkward and admitted to rearranging it multiple times without ever feeling satisfied.   

Designing Awkward Spaces

This area is attached to the main living space, so they needed it to be functional for entertaining guests and their daily lives, both for themselves and their daughter. But even with a gorgeous window area, the awkward jutted-out structure proved challenging to style and function with. Again, my mind began racing with nook design ideas when I saw it! 

The Solution 

My main goal with this nook was to make it blend seamlessly with the rest of the main living area. Although the pre-built structure made it look out of place, I needed it to look completely natural.  

Achieving this meant that, once again, store-bought solutions wouldn’t work! I needed custom ones. I designed floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving on one side (with hidden storage), a connected lower section bench on the right side that doubles as seating for an entertainment and storage area, and a classy raised ledge. 

DIY Window Set

Before installing my designs, my crew and I removed all the trim work to ensure the elements flowed together. After installing the cabinets, I added some color by painting them a timeless green. Check out the full episode here to see the drama with finding the right color! I also added a cabinet to store their daughter’s toys when she isn’t playing with them.  

As always, dressing up the space lit me up! My biggest decorating advice is to start fresh with a clean palette. To bring it to life, I got to work mixing textiles, textures, and metals to add contrast and drama.  

Window Seat with Built In Shelf

I called a close friend to get some handcrafted fabrics so we’d have a beautiful arrangement of throw pillows in different sizes to put on the bench. I went outside to pick some gorgeous foliage and potted it, which added length and warmth to the customized ledge. Finally, to make the space cozy and inviting, I used the shelves to display their memorabilia and other pieces to give the room a high-end feel while also being functional to their needs. As Radhika says herself, the outcome was gorgeous!  

Design Your Own Tale 

Taking on these unique nooks reminded me of something: for any problem area, there are always custom DIY solutions to turn a nightmare space into a fairytale one!  

You’ll find a million-and-one nook design ideas on Pinterest, but nothing will feel quite as right as one tailor-made to your needs. I hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing, but I also hope they encourage you to make them your own! 

Want to discover more purposeful design ideas to use throughout your home? Follow me on Instagram and be the first to get inspired!  


This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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