Ideas for Exposed Brick Recesses?

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Q: I recently bought my first house and am trying to figure out how to deal with some of the more unique details that the previous owner left me with. The first floor of the house is completely open, but the ceilings are low. More importantly, though, there are these recesses in the walls, with exposed brick on the back side.

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The first photo I'm attaching shows three such examples (the door in the photo is the front door). The second photo shows the same brick recesses, but skinnier, on the upper floor in the bedroom. I'm not exactly sure what to do with these. Turn them into shelves? Ignore them? Cover them up completely? Use them to hold my shoes by the front door? Paint them? Leave them as is? I would welcome any ideas! Thanks in advance!

Sent by Katy W

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(Image: provided by Katy W)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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