Why a Booth is Better

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   Booths are some of the most delightful and hardworking square footage you can design into a home. The New Urban Guild’s Project:SmartDwelling initiative, as you’ll recall, is all about building dramatically smaller and smarter. Nothing accomplishes this better than a booth. Here’s why:

   If you want to seat 6 people comfortably in a conventional dining room, you need about 180 square feet. If you want to accomplish the same task using a booth, you need about 36 square feet, or 1/5 as much area. Yet ask yourself this: when you go to a restaurant, which tables do you notice filling up quicker? The booths, of course! They’re cozy and personal, whereas a table in the middle of the room is... just a table in the middle of the room. Not so special. So a booth delivers what most people prefer, but in only 1/5 the space... what’s not to love about that?

   But there’s more. The booth pictured above is in the 2011 Coastal Living Idea House in East Beach Norfolkwhich Wanda and I are designing. The booth is at the heart of the house; the wall of glass to the left looks into the Great Room, the Kitchen is just above, and the windows just below the booth look out into the Hearth Garden (more on that in a later post.) As you can see, it’s an L-shaped booth, rather than the conventional booth with two benches facing each other. By itself, it can seat 4 people comfortably. Pull up chairs to the two open sides, and it can seat 8.

   It’s not just a dining booth, either, as you can see. It doubles as the kids’ homework station, where they can spread out and work in the evening, just across from the kitchen so they can get help from Mom (or whoever the cook is in the family.) It also makes a great home office workstation as well, where you can set up with your laptop and work in an airy, light-filled environment with a view to the garden. Just below those windows, in a band of trim just above the top of the booth’s back, is a row of several plugs to accommodate whatever you or your kids might need to charge as you work.

   And it doesn’t end there. SmartDwellings don’t waste space. There’s a little space in the seat back against the Great Room wall to the left, so we’ll carve into that for some narrow shelves. Below that, under the seat, there’s much more room, so we’ll slide some cool-looking wicker baskets under the seat from the Great Room side. We’ll also slide a long basket under the garden-side seat from the Garden Entry.

   Like it? Keep checking back... there’s lots more where this came from. 

   ~Steve Mouzon

Legacy Comments


Love it. Talk about making that space earn its keep...!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 10:23 PM

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