I’ve always loved breakfast nooks, I find them so charming. I wasn’t sure if I would find a house that would have space for a breakfast nook in addition to a formal dining area, but when I walked into my house for the first time I saw this corner by the oversized window, letting in all of this bright light and thought it was made for it.
I know it’s been really on trend for years now to have an open concept and pretty much everything in one big room, but I actually love houses with formal rooms. A designated space that can be purposefully catered to whatever activity will take place in that room (I think this style of house is called closed-floor plan…pretty literal). Although my house’s first floor is a big open space, I wanted to try and make it feel less of one area and more of multiple places in one space. Does that make sense? I feel like Dr.Seuss with all of the rhyming.
One way I did this was divide my first floor into a (open) formal dining room, a living room and a breakfast nook. Do you remember when eat-in kitchens were the norm? Not a kitchen island with stools, but actually a big ole dining table with chairs smack in the middle of the kitchen? I’ve always loved this, as it feels so homey and welcoming. Maybe this is still a big thing in other places in the country, here in Miami you rarely see it. And many times when a house has this, the house will also have a formal dining room somewhere else. This is my kind of vibe. So it’s been special to have both a formal and informal dining space (albeit my formal isn’t really fancy-formal at all).
Besides being charming, I also find breakfast nooks nostalgic. Not sure why, the space just gives me those warm and familiar feelings when I see one in a home. Because of this, I wanted to add art to the area that embraces the same feeling. My heritage is Cuban and since this space is for enjoying meals, coffee, entertaining etc. I searched for vintage photo of places in Cuba like El Floridita (an over 200 year old bar Hemingway would often visit), The Tropicana Club (the infamous 1950’s open air nightclub with a casino that saw the likes of Carmen Miranda and Nat King Cole perform until shutdown by Fidel Castro), another bar with focus on the historic architecture and a view of The Capital from a table at a café. You get the theme? Most are from the 1950’s, when all of my grandparents would’ve been in their 20’s and 30’s living in Cuba.
After purchasing one of the original photos, the seller wrote me a note to notify me the photo of The Tropicana Club has a young Celia Cruz performing on stage- it was a wonderful surprise, I had no idea when I bought it.
It’s been a real treat bringing in meaningful pieces and decor into my home. Over a year later and I have lots of bare walls still, because I really wanted the art on my walls to have meaning and be originals or prints of originals purchased directly from the artist. It’s been one of my favorite aspects of this newish chapter of having a house. As for the rest of my breakfast nook decor, I kept it simple and neutral with pops of black, just like the rest of my house.