De­sign for down­sized din­ing area

Cus­tom-built counter ta­ble max­i­mizes space

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

Q: We are look­ing at a big move from a house to a newly built con­do­minium and are strug­gling with de­sign ideas for the com­bi­na­tion liv­ing-din­ing-kitchen area. We en­joy cook­ing and would still like to have a few friends for din­ner

A: Din­ing is more re­laxed to­day, and you can uti­lize ta­ble and seat­ing op­tions in your new space that en­sure you and your guests feel pam­pered and spe­cial.

You don’t re­quire a large kitchen to en­joy cook­ing if both you and the space are well-or­ga­nized. Think about the out­put that short-or­der chefs han­dle, or the mouth-wa­ter­ing meals that are stirred up in a tiny boat gal­ley.

You might have to pare down on ex­tra ap­pli­ances that take up a lot of room; the same goes for dishes. Be ju­di­cious about your re­quire­ments now that you will be cook­ing on a smaller scale, and make the most of avail­able counter space for prepa­ra­tion.

Many con­dos have a large, pass-through or win­dow-style open­ing to the din­ing area, which is a clever way to keep guests out of the small kitchen area while you are pre­par­ing food, and also presents a prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion for seat­ing.

In­stead of the tra­di­tional din­ing ta­ble, opt for a cus­tom-built counter ta­ble that sits flush to the wall as shown here in Neil Kelly De­sign’s well-planned condo space (neilkelly.com). This plan in­cludes stor­age un­der the counter for wine, and from the kitchen side, a large cab­i­net for pantry items. (Omit­ting the wine stor­age would pro­vide leg room for a fourth chair.)

The slightly oval shape al­lows for an­gled views that keep ev­ery­one in touch with each other and fac­ing an open space rather than a wall. The light­ing was planned so that pen­dants fo­cus on the counter — sleek and sim­ple.

Plan to seat four to six peo­ple com­fort­ably in the liv­ing room space. Se­lect love seats and small oc­ca­sional chairs to make up the group­ing. Ot­tomans work well as ex­tra seat­ing, stor­age and table­tops. If the fur­ni­ture is stream­lined you won’t feel crowded. Take ad­van­tage of ceil­ing and wall light­ing to free up more space.

Q: I’m won­der­ing if I can mix two large, armless, wing­back din­ing room chairs with two smaller-armed din­ing chairs around the ta­ble. There is a dif­fer­ence in height of 10 inches. Thank you.

A: Mix­ing and match­ing din­ing chairs is a very pop­u­lar so­lu­tion for seat­ing to­day. In fact it gives you the ad­van­tage of us­ing chairs in both the liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas.

Your ar­range­ment will work if you place the larger chairs at the ends of the ta­ble and the smaller at the sides. The size of the chair backs can vary, but be sure the seats are the same height so ev­ery­one is sit­ting at the same level.

Choose a fab­ric or de­sign for the chairs that links them in some way, ei­ther by colour or mo­tif, to con­trib­ute to a co­he­sive style through­out your rooms. Keep in mind that din­ing chairs should of­fer good, solid sup­port; it is dif­fi­cult and un­com­fort­able to eat in a lounge chair.

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