What ever happened to breakfast nooks?

The breakfast nook

If this isn’t the breakfast nook to end all breakfast nooks, I don’t know what is.

Have you heard about the time-capsule home? It’s a Toronto house currently for sale (for a mere $699,000) that has, as the realtor blurb puts it, been “Lovingly Maintained By The Same Owner For 72 Years!” But not only has the owner lovingly maintained it; he/she has also lovingly not changed it a bit. It is perhaps the ultimate period piece, and I gather it’s really been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter as a result. (My thanks to my friend Melshean for drawing this bit of social-media whimsy to my attention.)

You can get a bit of a sense of the place from the basic listing here; but do yourself a favour and also click here (or on the Virtual Tour link when you’re on the main listing) and check out the full 33-item photo gallery. It’s eye-popping, I guarantee.

Time-capsule living room

However, I can’t quite put my finger on what time this time capsule is from. I mean, 72 years ago would be 1942, and the decor is definitely not that. Fifties? Sixties? Yeah… ish. I guess it looks to me like all the puffiest and most ornate things from the ’50s, ’60s and maybe even ’70s are all still in this house, in utterly pristine condition. It’s quite something.

But I’m not here to talk about the decor in general; I’m here to talk about the one photo in the Virtual Tour that really grabbed me. The breakfast nook, people! I knew what it was the instant I saw the photo, which is atop this post – as did you, admit it. “Self,” I said to myself, “that is a breakfast nook. And hey – what ever happened to breakfast nooks?”

Well, do you have the answer to that question? I sure don’t.

Doesn’t it kind of make you nostalgic for the midcentury days when people thought there was enough space in their suburban houses to have a whole separate place (okay, “nook”), complete with small table and puffy banquettes, to eat their breakfast? (As opposed to any other meal?) And isn’t it charming that they thought this was such a desirable thing, a separate place to eat one meal of the day? Perhaps it made those 1950s young marrieds feel like their newly purchased (and mortgaged to the hilt) split-level really was a castle. (Probably minus any servants to bring toast done to just the right shade of brown and a freshly ironed copy of the Telegram.)

I’m sure it goes without saying that the Manse, built in the Victorian era (and thus well before post-World-War-II upward-mobility striving), has no breakfast nook. And probably never will. But as I’ve been looking at that breakfast-nook photo over the last couple of days, I have to say I’ve been feeling kind of nostalgic about the whole idea. What do you think?

12 thoughts on “What ever happened to breakfast nooks?

  1. Wow. This is really something. The house is in immaculate condition, and in a very nice neighbourhood. I wish it could stay like this, but the people who buy it will likely do a reno and remove all trace of the current design. Some of that furniture screams “Eaton’s” — and did you notice the pink dial telephone in the kitchen?

    As for breakfast nooks, I’m afraid they’ve been passed over in favour of islands with bar stools, and family rooms that flow from the kitchen.

    I can’t imagine there is a speck of dust in that house. The people who own it have maintained it in great style. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but when was the last time anybody saw something like this? Can’t you imagine the “lady of the house” removing her apron and saying cheerily, “Honey! Breakfast is ready!”

    • Wow. All I can say is… wow. Actually the 52 (or whatever it was) high-res photos in the gallery kind of overwhelmed our poky (tonight, anyway) internet, but I saw enough to get the picture. And: wow.

      • Okay just after watching this you really have to go to Holland!! And if you can stay in a place called the Giethoorn. It is west of Amsterdam.. And you must see Amsterdam. And Delft.. lol O I could go on and on.. 🙂 Utrecht and Naarden is the most beautiful fortress. And you must go in May. The best weather ever. April 30th or May 5 is many happy celebrations. Texel an island in the north. You take a fairy to it. Lots of sheep.. Or you can visit Bij de Boerin or Boerderij Honswijck.. Which is Jos’s family B&B family farm not far from Muiden. Then you must see the Muderslot Battle Castle. Drop by we will give you links.. lol

      • I haven’t seen nearly enough of Amsterdam, and have never been to Delft, and – oh, I would love to go! We will most definitely pick your brains for ideas when we do, mk and Jos!

  2. We have a “gathering table” (bar height with stools) at our window overlooking the Black river and we call the space the breakfast room, even though it is used for most meals of the day when we are not entertaining. Perhaps your solarium could include a breakfast nook!

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