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What to do in our dining room...
megmci
January 28, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Room is 14' x 15'. Three windows, three doors. The table and chairs shown are NOT staying. I'm interested in:
1) Ideas to have there be a sitting area, that takes advantage of the fireplace, in addition to a dining area; or
2) If there isn't enough space for #1, ideas for some bench/sofa-style seating (with a back) along one side of the table. How deep should the seat be so it's still comfortable for eating? In this scenario, given the size of the room, how long can the dining table be?

Thanks for your input!
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mpoulsom
Could you just do a round table by the windows, or long rectangular table by the windows, and then do a separate love seat or 2 large chairs facing the fireplace with a coffee table and or small table between the chairs? Not sure how many people are in the house for regular dining? That will help to know! Love the room, even though the layout is unique!
January 28, 2013 at 3:01pm   
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megmci
Good question, thanks for asking! We don't eat in here every day. This would be more for holidays, etc. The most we've had thus far is 6 people. I like your idea, but wonder about how to size all that furniture so that it will fit in the space, leave room to walk, etc.
January 28, 2013 at 3:38pm   
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hollymahler
Love this room and armoire! I would also add more lighting though. Just move the table down turn it ,then move the Armoire to the fireplace side and add 2chairs and a small table with maybe a area rug ...you could open the armoire doors and stage it really pretty with quilts ,books and if there is room maybe a small lamp(if its safe to do so)
January 28, 2013 at 5:04pm     
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Danielle B
Interesting room... the location of the fireplace speaks to the functional purpose of the fireplace as a necessary source heating. In my home, the fireplace is located between the dining room and living room, so it is difficult to arrange furniture in a way that allows my family to enjoy it, as you can judge from attached posts (we are in the midst of a reno too...).
For a while, the solution for us was to place an overzised ottoman in front of the fireplace, as an transition area. In your case, I am concerned with the close location of the kitchen entrance, making it a little dangerous to place any kind of furniture in front of the fireplace.
If I were you, I would push the dining table to the side and test various options with other pieces you have around the house for a week or two, and see if you can get used to it and not trip over it all the time, before you make any big purchase.
If you can get used to having a set of armchairs, chaise lounge, or ottoman, then consider moving the dining table closer to the window. I like mpolsom's idea of a round table, another option if you prefer a rectangle table is to have a banquette against the wall.
January 28, 2013 at 5:07pm     
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PRO
Maria Billingsley of J Hettinger Interiors
I think you should make it into a two in one room. These are the pieces you need to achieve that.
1) A flip top table which acts as a sofa table and dining table
2) 3-4 individual ottomans
3) 2 slipper chairs.
4) Bench sofa

When not a dining room. The flip top table is across the wall window, the sofa is in front of the flip top table, the 3-4 ottomans are directly under the hanging fixture and the slipper chairs are on the other side of the ottomans. So here is your seating area.

When a dining room: Center the flip top table under the light, the bench sofa goes on the opposite side of the fireplace, the ottomans go on the opposite side of the bench sofa and the slipper chair on the two ends.

See a two in one room:)
January 28, 2013 at 5:24pm     
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PRO
Maria Billingsley of J Hettinger Interiors
flip top table
January 28, 2013 at 5:25pm     
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Rhonda Bland
A round clear table I think would help, round would create a better flow of space and clear top would give the look of more space. Is this right or not.
January 28, 2013 at 7:10pm   
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Darzy
You could do something like this, using your own furniture but adding a bench seat against the window. Then, a couple of chairs/ottoman for fireside sitting.

January 28, 2013 at 7:24pm     
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Darzy
I think this is what Maria Billingsley had in mind (great idea)! Drop leaf table as coffee table and dining table when needed. With her better chair suggestions!

January 28, 2013 at 7:27pm     
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mveasey
Is there another window next to the armoire? Are the split doors cupboards (next to the fireplace)?
January 28, 2013 at 7:29pm   
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mveasey
If this would be my room, I would have it as a dining room, but with either built in sofa-style bench under the window with chairs or oversize living room style chairs for dining. If you choose a lower table, it can do double duty.
I love the second photo. If the chairs could be on tiny, durable casters, you could swing them around perhaps? Maybe this is stretching it to far... Not sure how level your beautiful floor is, for something like that...
January 28, 2013 at 7:44pm     
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megmci
Thanks everyone for the great ideas! A flip-top or drop-leaf table sounds like a brilliant idea for the space.
January 29, 2013 at 9:14am   
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megmci
@Maria - who makes the table you posted?
January 29, 2013 at 9:22am   
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Maria Billingsley of J Hettinger Interiors
You can purchase it from Century Furniture. We carry that line if you would like a price. https://www.bobtimberlake.com/catalog.cfm?prod=15031&sid=98&name=Winemaker's+Flip-Top+Console+Table
January 29, 2013 at 9:33am   
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bubblyjock
Search Craigslist and junk shops for a nice older round table with a pedestal base and a couple of leaves, or a wake table.

Couple that with a few, say 4-6, open-arm Georgian chairs, and you'll give yourself a room with multiple uses, and furniture that's age (style) appropriate for the house.

Pedestal table like this (pedestal means no-one has to sit at a leg, so you can cram more people around the table for a dinner party):
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_TatPpSnJCYc/Sp-kckcidBI/AAAAAAAAEI4/3kEfZKFGuek/s400/jonwatkins.com

Wake table like this (folds long and flat against a wall, but you do have to argue with the legs):
http://www.elisabethjamesantiques.co.uk/new/productimages/e1160%207ft%20x%206ft%20oak%20gateleg%20dining%20table%20a_1305539012.jpg

Chairs like these (don't choke on the price, lol - you can find them WAY cheaper if they're not the genuine article; the style means they're very comfortable either at table or for flopping in front of the fire, and they're not bulky):
http://www.lyonandturnbull.com/asp/fullCatalogue.asp?salelot=374++++++189+&refno=++163488


The reason I made these suggestions is we have the same room size in an old house, those table shapes/styles, and the chairs, so I know whereof I talk, lol.
January 30, 2013 at 6:34am     
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Alfieri Design
Lots of great ideas, but the ones which resonate are the built-in benches under the window with storage below (I would take it into the corner), more lighting, dining room table appropriate to the corner.... I love the armoire, but it's fighting with the fireplace as a center, and is weighting the room down. I'm confused about the beams..are they two different colors or different beams? I would like to see them all one shade in a more unified conversation with each other. The fireplace wall needs a large mirror centered to the fireplace itself, and appropriate decorations centered around the use of the room...plates, food etc. The two side cabinets are perfect for dish display or collections ...just add glass doors and shelves with interior lighting, and voila'! A few comfortable chairs easily moved from mid room to the cornered table. Center your dining light to the table, and be sure to add spot lighting for the fireplace.....One giant question, is the fireplace actually used as a fireplace, and is it gas or wood burning?
January 30, 2013 at 10:59am     
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megmci
@Fab Brandt...thanks for all the input. The beams are all the same, wood with no finish (they're very old so I'm sure there's some variation in shade at this point). The lighting in the picture is poor, which is probably contributing to them appearing different. There is a mirror over the fireplace, as well as recessed lights (such lights are not my fave, but they're staying for now). The fireplace is wood burning, and we do use it frequently. It's one of the reasons I want the room to be more than just a dining room, which we won't use often.
January 30, 2013 at 11:26am     
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Danielle B
Built in benches are a great idea if used for formal dining, select a design with an upholstered back, which will provide better back support than a straight bench with decorative pillows.
January 31, 2013 at 6:07pm   
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seathis
lovely home, Fantastic floors.

I would like to suggest turning the table so it lines up with the fireplace. This will bring focus to the fire place.

Also, the mirror over the fireplace should be centered over the black area of the fireplace, not the wall.
In doing so, you reduce the many different angles, and keep reinforcing the focus on the most beautiful thing in the room - the fireplace. The space on the right side of the mirror can show a collection of prints, candles, etc.
February 3, 2013 at 12:33am   
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PRO
Alfieri Design
I do love the old beams and your fireplace. It's a must to have comfortable seating based around the fireplace....If you wanted, you could place a flat screen above the fireplace, a corner low back sectional sofa against the windows with a dining room table, and the use is guaranteed...two adaptable easy chairs facing the fireplace that can be easily moved around as you like?
February 3, 2013 at 6:50pm   
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megmci
Thanks so much for all the input. Now we've changed things up a bit. My other half correctly pointed out that we don't really need to make this a dining room for the 2-3 times it will be used each year. We have a farm table on our enclosed porch that could easily be moved in here if we need a dining room.

So, with that in mind, now this only needs to be a sitting room. Need help with choosing furniture and where to place it. Everything currently in the room can leave. I love the armoire, but it can be used elsewhere if necessary.

I like this collection from RH.
http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/category/products.jsp?link=DeconstructedERA&categoryId=cat1760078
February 4, 2013 at 8:41am   
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megmci
I have a hard time picturing how to place furniture near the fireplace and have it look balanced...since it's so close to the door, tough to imagine a layout that works.

The room won't have a tv, so that isn't a consideration.
February 4, 2013 at 8:48am   
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Alfieri Design
In that case, I would use an el shaped sectional that could double for dining room seating (not too low, your armoire can then stay where it is....simply measure the fireplace wall to the door, and minus 3 feet for walking distance around the sofa, voila, sitting room. Bring in a floor lamp or table lamp or both, or if you have the space, a sofa table for in back of it. Be sure to move the mirror directly over the fireplace, or put an inspired piece of artwork in the same place. Make it an icon of the room, whatever you perceive it to be....I prefer larger scale pieces as opposed to many small ones, but even those can be placed in such a way as to enhance the wall space....two chairs on the window wall with a small side table, and one for the sofa...to set your drinks, books, computer etc, maybe two depending on the scale. I'll post a few inexpensive pieces shortly to look at. Good luck.
February 4, 2013 at 11:24am   
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