before/after and DIY: upstairs window nook

Hi guys! I wanted to share a project we recently completed in our new upstairs space!

A quick backstory on our upstairs space: we moved into our home in October 2018. The upstairs was broken into two rooms – one small one with a funky layouts and two poorly constructed closets you walk into from the staircase, and one larger room off of that first room. The first room’s floor was painted brown (WHY???) so the first project we did even before moving in was having a floor guy come and strip that paint and refinish the floor so it matched the larger room’s floor. At that point, we just planned to keep the upstairs as-is. We used the first room as a den with our couch and TV and the second, bigger room as our guest room and mini office. It looked like this for a year! We decided last fall to renovate the upstairs and it’s been such a great decision! Here’s a lot of videos/photos showing the before/after and renovation process. The final upstairs remodel included a bathroom (!!) and making the overall space an open concept layout. This large space is multi-functional; we have a window desk for an ‘office’, a guest bedroom area, a family room area with a couch and chairs, a workout area with our Peloton bike and now, this new cozy window nook!

Previously, this dormer window area had a window AC unit and was just dark and basically wasted space. We knew that after the renovation wrapped up that we wanted to have Eric do a DIY and turn this empty area into a cozy, window nook. We wanted this area to be a comfortable, cozy place to hang out – whether for taking a nap, reading to Lucy, working on computer, whatever! It overlooks our backyard and greenhouse and really is such a delightful spot.  I LOVE the way Eric’s DIY project turned out! Below, I’m sharing how Eric built the window nook and a little bit more about our custom cushions from Tonic Living!

I first discovered Tonic Living a few months after moving into our house, when I was looking for custom cushions for our L-shaped kitchen seating area. We ended up ordering custom cushions in a mali mud cloth fabric fabric from there and were blown away with the quality. They are comfortable, hold up well to kids/pets/stains, and look so good! And, they were made precisely for that space and fit perfectly. You can find photos of our Tonic Living custom cushions in our kitchen here and here. I’ve since partnered with them to highlight their throw pillows – like these blue ones in our bedroom and the black and white ones in our family room. Anyway – we knew before Eric built this window nook that we would order custom Tonic Living cushions for this space because we’ve been so happy with our experience so far.

We opted for the black and white Avalon Stripe in Ebony fabric, which is perfect for hiding stains (toddler + pet life!) and also ties into some black hardware and accent pieces in our upstairs space. We measured the area and worked closely with their team to ensure the dimensions were perfect for this nook. We decided to go with TWO cushions rather than one because the front part of the nook area opens for storage) and we wanted to be able to easily access without having to move a massive cushion. Tonic Living ensured the two cushions lined up and truly, we are so happy with how it turned out! I moved some pillows up here and just love the way they look! I have this gray graphite pillow, this creamy striped pillow, two black and white block print pillows, and one gray patterned lumbar pillow.

Okay, here’s more info about how Eric built the dormer window nook and a few more photos! Thanks for reading!



    • 3/4″ sanded plywood (for top and front)
    • 2 by 4″ (for sides and cross beams)
    • 2 by 4″ joist hangers
    • 3″ Screws
    • Continuous hinge and right and left lid support for storage opening
    • Finishing materials – caulk, paint, finishing wood and trim boards

APPROXIMATE PROJECT COST: $150-200, not including cushions


  1. Cut 2x4s to size along the space. One should be mounted on each of the three sides. Use a level and stud finder to screw the 2x4s into the wall.
  2. Cut 2x4s to mount between the new studs on the walls. Use joist hangers to mount. Ours are spaced evenly 2′ apart and allow for opening the storage part underneath
  3. Cut sanded plywood to fit over the structure. We used three. One for the back top (permanently screwed to the studs in place), one for the front top (connected to structure via continuous hinge and lid support to open to access the storage) and finally one for the front.
  4. Cut & nail trim boards and caulk gaps. Paint to finish!
  5. Attach continuous and lid support hinges







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