Design for downsized dining area
Custom-built counter table maximizes space
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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