An abundance of bay windows can be too much of a good thing.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

An abundance of bay windows can be too much of a good thing. Lynn TAn discovers the myriad ways of adapting them for practical use.

"The wall separating the living room and kitchen was demolished and replaced by a bar counter to open up the two spaces."
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Bay windows are a welcome feature in homes, because they brighten the interior with natural light and afford views of the surroundings. However, when almost the entire perimeter of the home is surrounded by bay windows, the lack of usable wall space becomes an issue.

That was exactly the problem faced by homeowners Boris Tolesnik and Carolyn Tham-Tolesnik, and figuring out a solution to it was one of the key considerations in their brief to Lawrence Puah, design director of Akihaus Design Studio. “Bay windows lined the entire apartment - from the entrance to the living room, the bedrooms, and even the kitchen. So, one of our main design focus was to incorporate interior elements such as consoles, storage, counters, study desk and even a bed over the bay window ledges in order to reclaim precious real estate,” says Lawrence.

Here are some examples of how Lawrence, with designers nur ‘Ashiqin and Jenny Phumthida, transformed this apartment, designing usable spaces that complement the bay windows and which are flawlessly integrated with the interior design concept.
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A console, complete with a mirror and full-height storage, was built over the bay window area without obscuring all the openings. In this way, the foyer still gets natural ventilation and light.

The feature establishes a sense of arrival upon entering the apartment. The console provides a place for the homeowners to stash their keys and shoes, while the mirror is a useful tool allowing them to check their appearance before leaving home.
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To avoid a cramped living room, a decision to convert one bedroom next to the kitchen into the dining area was made. The setting has an American-diner feel, complete with a booth seat built over the window ledge. Its depth was extended so that its proportions become more like those of a daybed – this is handy when there are guests staying over.

The raised platform is an important detail. In order to avoid a situation where those sitting on the booth seat have their legs dangling above the floor, the floor level had to be raised, explains Lawrence.
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A couple and their two young children HOME A four-bedroom condominium apartment in Mandalay Road SIZE 1,850sqf


A bay window that runs the length of the living room has been turned into a feature wall that houses the television console, storage cabinets and display shelves. Builtin storage running horizontally across the top and bottom not only conceals unsightly audiovisual boxes and cables, but the beam as well.

The central section of the feature wall is designed as a solid backdrop for the television. It helps to prevent a backlit TV screen, and also blocks the less-than desirable view of the facing block.

On either side are open metal shelves whose visual lightness provides an interesting contrast.
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Space was a constraint in the kitchen, especially with a bay window along one side. In order to allow sufficient circulation space, Lawrence designed a countercum-storage to be built over the bay window ledge. The depth of the ledge was slightly narrower than that of a standard kitchen counter, but widening it wasn’t an option as that would encroach upon the circulation area.

“Conventional sinks would not have fit, so we selected two medium-sized sinks and installed the mixer on the central divider between them, instead of the usual position behind the sink,” says Lawrence.
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Bay windows make up the L-shaped facade of the master bedroom. Had Lawrence gone with the typical arrangement of positioning the bed against the main wall, the remaining space between the edge of the bed and the bay window would have been too narrow, so he proposed that the bed be built against one row of the bay windows. The side tables provide extra storage and also house the audiovisual equipment in the bedroom.
My Reading Room

Every inch of space along the bay windows has been put to clever use, such as into a display case here.

Lawrence erected cabinets parallel to the bed, in order to make use of the length of space in the corner column.