What do you do with all these niches?!

I admit that when I first arrived at the house in Nir Etzion, I was confused by the many niches. There were niches in almost every corner… at the entrance to the house, in the bedrooms, in the living room. The highlight was the kitchen, which, due to so many niches, ended up being a small, shell-like space. Ten years ago, drywall niches were considered the thing, but nowadays, it’s a bit passé. Especially recently, as designers, we try to thin everything out and align with zero lines.

It was clear to me that we wouldn’t use all the niches and that some of them would change their purpose. We decided to give up the decorative niches and utilize the functional ones. In the kitchen, we gave up the niche built for the refrigerator and integrated it into the tall cabinets. We kept the niche the architect planned for the kettle (weird, right?!) but added shelves for tableware and cookbooks.

In the living room, there was a niche we debated about for a long time. The niche was originally intended for a TV, but since my clients don’t watch it, it remained redundant (and not particularly aesthetic, to be honest ;-)). I thought that closing this niche could actually enlarge the living room because the wall to which the sofa is attached would extend, but in the end, it was decided to level it and leave it as a space for plants with an option for a fireplace in the future.

In the bedroom, we decided to use the large niche designed for the wardrobe and planned a built-in wardrobe there that utilized every centimeter for storage. Beyond the practical aspect, aesthetically, it is not very pleasant to see a small wardrobe in a large niche. We also used the small niche intended for the TV to place pictures and some knick-knacks (yes, yes, this is from the Nordic collection of Elior and mine), as it was not needed.

I must note that if you do place a TV in the bedroom, a niche can solve the less attractive look of the device’s sides and the power cords.

The niche that was used most successfully was actually the one that seemed most redundant to me at first. A niche in the hallway that was probably intended for some elongated decorative object, as was very common a decade ago… and now simply collected dust. We fitted it with shelves at 30 cm intervals, and my clients found a shutter door from dismantling that fit it perfectly, creating a perfect (and ventilated) shoe closet.

In the bathroom, we created a niche that wasn’t there before. The wall to which the bathtub was attached had a protrusion that was probably due to engineering considerations. To camouflage the protrusion, we added a ‘completion’ and also a purpose – for shampoo bottles and soaps. I think such niches are very practical, but I don’t always recommend them because, due to the angles, the result is not always successful with every tiling.

And finally, not exactly a niche… but when we converted the house’s storage room into a treatment clinic, an area at the entrance was left without the original flooring. As usually happens, when there are constraints, the best design ideas appear. We ‘spread’ a surface of painted tiles, which added the interior’s charm to the exterior of the house.

So what do you think about the niche issue? Essential or redundant? And if you have more ideas for efficiently utilizing niches, I’d love to hear them…

Photographed with great talent as always: Shiran Carmel.