Author Topic: Dining Alcoves  (Read 7651 times)

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Offline Daddymem

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Dining Alcoves
« on: April 04, 2005, 10:16:13 AM »
We will be meeting with a contractor soon to go over our new house floorplans and are looking for some advice on dining rooms.  The current plan has a dining area that is too small for us to be able to still entertain our long staying frequent visitors.  We do not want a formal dining room, we just want to expand the existing area to be small for everyday use by all four of us and be capable of being expanded when guests are around.  The current layout puts the dining area between the kitchen and living room so we can expand a table into the living room.

Option 1:
We are thinking of either carving out a small area and use two built in benches like Ross Chapin did on this plan here: http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pdf/Affordable_Comfort.pdf (Pages 4&6)  My wife has been in this house and said the dining/kitchen was a tiny bit small for entertaining due to an enormous island but the concept was great.  The two benches would serve as seating for our family of four, then when guest room is required, the table could be expanded and folding chairs could be pulled up to it.

Option 2:
But we also like this bumpout style like here: http://www.rosschapin.com/Plans/Cottages/Coho/coho.html (1st column, 4th row)  This looks like it would feel absolutely comfortable for all four of us on a daily basis.  An additional table could be butt up against the built in and folding chairs could be pulled up to it for guests.

The questions:
What have other people here done (and had success with) that is similar to either pod?  
What size is your alcove and should it have been smaller or larger?
Any suggested dimensions for either application? (bench widths, lengths, table widths, lengths, room dimensions or places to find that information)
Pictures anyone?
Web links to examples or other options?

I've googled but either I have the wrong terminology or the information is deep down in the bowels of the internet.  :P

Thanks,
Daddymem and Mommymem

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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2005, 11:43:35 AM »
Which plan are you trying to modify?
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Offline Daddymem

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2005, 11:56:49 AM »
Right now we are meeting with a builder to go over our options prior to plan purchase.  It is kinda interesting that both plans we like need the same thing for us to be perfect.  We found a modular that is very similar to your 2 story country farmhouse but we are not convinced to go modular yet so we are meeting with a contractor to over things in general and get us set in the right direction.  We had set the meeting with the contractor prior to seeing the modular and we were going to purchase your farmhouse plans for the meeting but it is funny how life is sometimes.  I wish there were some more photos of your farmhouse since we have been able to see the modular one in person.  I think the size of the alcove is more critical for the modular home since it has to fit with other pieces on the same flatbed but it would be nice to see one in my 3D models.  As soon as we know which direction to go we'll be purchasing plans, either from you or from the modular.  I think there are a couple of plans we will purchase from you regardless (the sunroom one for a future sunroom and the little house plans for a workshop for me  ;D).
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Offline Amanda_931

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2005, 01:02:11 PM »
I was reading a book on framing last night (not one of John's recommendations, by the way--not as good as the ones he has on the website ).

It talked about how easy it is to  frame in a cantilevered extension.  Especially if it is in line with the  regular floor joists, not hard if perpendicular to them.  With the usual caution not to go out over 1/4 of the distance that your new set of joists extend back into the house.

Only problem was, the pictures showed the cantilever as 1/3 the joist extensions.

Oh, well.  Frank Lloyd Wright had problems with his immense low-pitched cantilevered roofs.  Even on the Usonian house in Alabama, which shouldn't have gotten much in the way of snow.

Offline trish

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2005, 02:47:41 PM »
I looked at both of your links.  The problem with the dining area in the 2nd house is that the "inner" people will have to ask the "isle" people to move if the inners want to leave before the isles are finished eating.  If you want this configuration, consider a farm house table with benches that have no backs so the inners can "step out and over" the bench without disturbing those who are still dining.  You will need a minimum of 2 feet behind the bench,--but 3 is better-- to be able to set this up.

In a house we built we had a 9x9 bump out breafast room.  We put a round pedestal table in and this allowed us to have 6 chairs.  Thus, the kids to come and go with minimal disturbance to those lingering over coffee.


Offline Daddymem

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2005, 02:59:03 PM »
Quote
I looked at both of your links.  The problem with the dining area in the 2nd house is that the "inner" people will have to ask the "isle" people to move if the inners want to leave before the isles are finished eating.  If you want this configuration, consider a farm house table with benches that have no backs so the inners can "step out and over" the bench without disturbing those who are still dining.  You will need a minimum of 2 feet behind the bench,--but 3 is better-- to be able to set this up.

In a house we built we had a 9x9 bump out breafast room.  We put a round pedestal table in and this allowed us to have 6 chairs.  Thus, the kids to come and go with minimal disturbance to those lingering over coffee.



Thanks! Exactly the kind of opinion I am looking for, someone who has something that does or does not work.  9x9 would work well with your bench suggestion or maybe shorter if the table can expand into the living space.  I'll have to try to draw that one up.
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2005, 03:00:26 PM »
Trish:

Those are the dimension I would use as well. Built-ins can look lovely but restrict freedom.

In my opinion it is better to design for flexibility than perfection (this is where Ross and I disagree).

Perfection does sell better however, and gets you in the slick magazines.
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Offline trish

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2005, 08:20:13 PM »
Almost as important as the sq feet of dining space is the configuration of the furniture, especially the dining table.  Choosing a table with either a pedestal in the middle or a tressle configuration leaves the outer portions of the table more accessible.  Having legs on the outside edge or corners of the table gives you less flexibility with chair arrangement and makes it more difficult to get in and out.   Squeaking in an extra person or two becomes more difficult when you have to strattle a table leg.

Hence, my tip for maximiizing eating space is  pay close attention to the location of the table supports.

Offline Daddymem

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2005, 10:55:57 AM »
Quote
Trish:
In my opinion it is better to design for flexibility than perfection (this is where Ross and I disagree).


Yeah, Ross's stuff looks really nice, but very stuffy.  Not many of his houses look that comfortable to live in.  I see form over function in most of his designs.

Trish:  Thanks for the tips on table legs, I hadn't really thought about that.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"

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Offline chris

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2005, 06:49:08 AM »
So, I would really like to do the bench dining table built into the alcove, with a small shelf on the tops of the benches for flowers.  I'd like for it to be almost full glass.  Only 2 of us, and will be most all the time, so that's all we want.  What would be a good size for the table, and benches, and final overall size for the area???  Oh yeah, and could you go ahead and build it for me also ;)  Hey, thanks for any info....I know I'm asking a bunch here....

Offline Amanda_931

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Re: Dining Alcoves
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2005, 01:37:24 PM »
Something in the 30 x 50 (plus or minus three inches in either dimension--standard height is somewhere in the 28-31 inch range, depending on how tall you--or your chairs are.

The little dinette table in my travel trailer is  24 x 36 inches.  It would be really crowded for four, and you might play kneesies with the person opposite.

(a smallish standard tablecloth size is around 52 x 72 inches, allowing a 10-12 inch drop on all four sides.  You could come out to about 60 inch to use a standard tablecloth on your table, without folding one end.  But I'd think it would look pretty long and skinny, not to mention tend to get stuff piled semi-permanently on the inside end, both benches and table)

Not sure how much room you should allow for sitting.  I've got 21 inches from the table edge here, but there used to be a 4" foam cushion that I hated on the back.  It stuck under a little ledge about 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch.

If a favorite restaurant has booths, take a look at the measurements there.  

And make sure that the cat doesn't knock stuff off the ledge on top onto your heads!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 01:44:41 PM by Amanda_931 »


 

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