|Common House Tables||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Joani Blank (jeblankic.org)|
|Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 15:05:05 -0600|
I have a lot to say about common house tables but little time to go into it in detail now. Chuck (Durrett) and I have been talking about co-designing the :perfect common house table. We should be able to do this because we eat at the same common house tables frequently, because he knows a lot about cohousing--duh, and because--some of you don't know this--Chuck is also a furniture designer. My opinion, based on visits to about 16 cohousing communities is as follows: 1. Definitely start with new your own extra odds and ends to see what feels good. (unless you are really rich and haven't had unexpected construction cost overruns--sure). Even if you can afford to get all new tables at the beginning, proceed with caution; that is, unless the perfect table has been designed before you get to the point of buying new ones. 2. Round tables are definitely a no-no in my book. They look nice, but as others have pointed out they are conversation killers on several counts which I won't go into now. Also, even if they are relatively small (six maximum), they take up a lot of room (relatively). Remember you have to have space behind each chair for getting in and out, just like you have to have 24 feet of backup space behind every 20 foot deep parking place (learned that just this week from Katie). 3. I want cohousing dining tables that will seat four, six or eight designed so that as many as four conversations could conceivably be happening at once, but so everyone is close enough so that one or two conversations happening at once feels fine as well, and doesn't contribute substantially to the overall noise in your common dining area. I thin the perfect table will be no wider than 34 inches wide and 60 inches long, but I want it to have curved flaps at the short ends that can be raised to make a curved end at one or both ends of the table. Then up to four more people can sit at the ends as long as the table has either pedestal legs (2) or trestle table legs so that you can pull chairs in anywhere around it. (Then the two people at the end can actually have part of their place setting off the flap).If legs are not at the edge of the table and there are some curved edges the you have more flexibility, meaning you can pull in a high chair, or even an extra chair or two when a person not seated with you wants to bring his/her coffee or desert over to your table at the end of the meal, or so that one extra person doesn't have to sit by him/herself at dinner. It won't surprise anyone to hear that custom made tables would be very expensive, even more so if people care that they be gorgeous. But I am talking to a couple of restaurant supply houses that could make decent looking tables for a reasonable price. Stay tuned. Joani Blank Doyle Street CoHousing (currently) and Old Oakland CoHousing / Swan's Market (future)
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