Re: Common house design
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 24 May 2015 09:31:17 -0700 (PDT)
> On May 23, 2015, at 8:11 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:
> Conversation noise is a different matter.  I don’t have much evidence for 
> this, but I think large, banquette-style tables — long rectangular ones 
> seating maybe four on each side and one at each end — discourage group 
> conversation and encourage shouting.  I am thinking that the best seating for 
> common dining, group interaction, and normal-voice conversation may be a 
> collection of 4 ft diameter round tables seating six.

In our dining room we have tables that can seat 6 but they are more often 
pushed together in a long line. People seem to like the look of things with 
individual tables but prefer to sit at long tables. It’s more communal because 
you can talk to more people, either to the right or the left. You aren’t 
“stuck" with people who don’t talk or who leave early. Or talk to each other 
and not you.

That said I can tell when I walk into the CH during a meal whether the tables 
are arranged individually or in long rows. Individually is much quieter.

Our tables are 36 across and I can’t imagine them being narrower. It would be 
harder to see people down the way and harder to have anything in the middle of 
the table. No salad bowls, candles, or flowers.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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