Re: Dining room tables
From: Patterson, John Seymour (jsp1psu.edu)
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 18:15:20 -0800 (PST)
At Burlington Cohousing, where we’ve been up and running since November 20007, 
we’ve taken a very different approach to furnishing our common areas, including 
our dining room — where we routinely schedule a common meal on every 
even-numbered weeknight.  All of our dining room tables, like our other 
furniture as well as the cups and saucers and knives and forks and dishes we 
use, has been donated or loaned by community residents.

Our tables vary in size and shape.  They definitely aren’t stackable and some 
of them (like the chairs) are pretty heavy — something that I’m very aware of, 
since for years I’ve had the chore of mopping the dining room floor.  Certainly 
this isn't  “convenient.”  I imagine there are some folks here who would be 
happy with sturdy, light, stackable tables.  Still, we’ve found that without 
too much trouble our tables can be rearranged in a wide variety of ways that 
seem to fit the moods and wishes of diners.  

Moreover, at least from my angle of vision, there are other attractive aspects 
of using our own tables.  For one thing, it involves no additional community 
expense.  Beyond this, however, I believe it’s fair to say that quite a few of 
us feel that sharing pieces of furniture that have had real meaning in our past 
lives actually helps to weave us together: every table and chair has a story — 
and sometimes savoring those stories from the past can strengthen our sense of 
community in the present.

John Patterson
Burlington Cohousing
Burlington VT


> On Nov 20, 2019, at 2:44 PM, Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah <welcome [at] olympus.net> 
> wrote:
> 
> At RoseWind Cohousing, in Port Townsend, we have the same array of tables as 
> we started with 19 years ago, and it works quite well. We have one old oak 
> dining table, round, or oval with its two leaves added, and 8 IKEA tables. 
> Those are 48"x33", lightweight hollow wood w laminate tops (once renewed) in 
> a neutral blond wood-grain pattern, with a cylindrical leg at each corner. 
> Each, alone, seats 6; in pairs 8. They don't fold, but stack by twos, or with 
> some forethought even threes. Light enough that one strong person can pick up 
> a table alone; two people can move a table, or flip it to stack, easily. No 
> tablecloths are necessary, though occasionally cloths are used for special 
> occasions.
> 
> We often rearrange the room, for dining, meetings, dances, concerts, so this 
> ease of moving is very helpful.
> 
> The rectangular shape lends itself to many possible combinations. A single 
> table may choose 4 chairs instead of 6, or groups of tables may make a large 
> or long rectangle for many.
> 
> A surprising discovery is that we can use the tables as easels in meetings: a 
> second table is set on edge, atop a bottom one, with the upper table's 
> surface facing the group. Big easel pages are then affixed to the tables, 
> allowing eye-level display of several sheets at once.
> 
> I was on the original table-research team. If making a custom table, I'd make 
> it a little longer than our 48" ones, to more spaciously fit two chairs on a 
> side.
> 
> We have an adjacent outdoor patio, on which we use those round Lifetime 
> plastic folding tables, folded away in winter.
> 
> Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
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