redefining dining

May 1st 2012 Comments: 5 Topics: , ,

“You can put the dining area in a more vulnerable setting than any other room, because when people gather around a table, their circle creates its own enclosure. They could sit down to eat in a busy intersection and make their own space.” -Bobby McAlpine – The Home Within Us

The dining room. It’s the space we were traditionally made to sit up straight and behave for a few excrutiating hours during holiday dinners.  It’s also the room we couldn’t wait to leave.  I think it’s because we seldom go in there; it’s simply not on our daily radar. Sometimes the neglected dining table becomes a vast slab of a desk destined for paying bills or organizing tax receipts. This hardly makes it a place of happy respite.  Often, out of desperation, the ignored dining room is painted  bright red, meant to induce warmth and conversation. I think this represents the hell awaiting when you are forced to enter its stale bowels.

When we design or renovate a home, we strive to make the dining experience a graceful part of everyday life.  One way of accomplishing this is by locating the dining room or table in an untraditional location.  Seating diners in the center of a grand salon, in the warmth of a book-lined library or nestled into a bay window breathes life into the once-staid experience.  We’ve found, if your dining table is located in the path of your everyday walk, it eventually becomes accustomed. It’s no longer unapproachable and strange but a welcome member of the family.  Meals are had.  Homework is done.  Sunday papers lie strewn.

If your dining table has fallen, neglected and dusty, out of favor, fall in love all over again:  plop it down it in a favorite space in your home and rekindle its purpose.  It’s just furniture; it doesn’t require the stigma of being in the “dining room”. Joyfully circle ’round with friends and family, reconnect and feed your soul.


  1. EMILY says:

    This dining characteristic has always been one of my most favorite things about your designs. Yours houses are designed for people to live in them….every inch of them. And there always seems to be a table placed so conveniently for people to gather. You just make it more stylish. Well, I guess that goes without saying.

  2. Doug Davis says:

    I absolutely love the David Braly-illustrated room (wow!) where the pair of chairs is at the fireplace rather than pulled up to the table. Genius!

  3. I must agree with Doug Davis’s comment , fabulous room !!! and those walls are phenomenal !

  4. Jarod Manke says:

    i have some hardwood dining tables in my home and i really love it. ^

    <a href="Our new website

  5. That’s a beautiful quote and so true! I love the idea of making the dining room a place people don’t want to leave!

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