dream house: dining room conundrum.
by victoria comment

6/3/15

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

c home.

so, a bunch of you have asked to see a floor plan of my new dream house, and i just happen to have one that i sketched up when i bought the place. man, it looks tiny on paper! but it’s not that small — 1,200 square feet and plenty of room for me and my pup. plus there’s a balcony that runs along the front of the house, and then about 3,500 square feet of backyard to take care of — gulp. but i relish the idea of gardening back there — it’s what i’ve been missing for oh so long. but i digress — i come to you with a conundrum.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

i have big plans for the place, but one step at a time so i don’t get too house-poor! one challenge you can see from this instagram, and the floor plan, is that you enter into the house and right into the dining area. it’s a tad awkward, but i’m playing around with it, trying to decide if perhaps instead of my rectangular dining table, i need a round table, so i’ve been looking around a for a few i love. the saarinen tulip table always calls my name, but maybe something a little different — ideally, one that came with a leaf to spread out at the holidays. any thoughts on this? i’d love to hear your ideas!

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

mimi giboin photography for domaine home.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay
grey and scout.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

apartment therapy.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

sköna hem.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

apartment therapy.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

seesaw.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

sharyn cairns photography.

dream house: dining room conundrum / sfgirlbybay

jeremy bittermann for the the new york times.

37 responses to “dream house: dining room conundrum.”

  1. If you do end up with a round table sans leaf, here is a solution that works at our place. Cut plywood into huge half circles and add plugs to notch them together. Place them over the existing table and add a tablecloth for larger gatherings. Suddenly, you have an 8′ round table that seats LOTS of people.

  2. IRL thus may not be doable, but looking at the plan: why not tuck your rectangular table up near the Master Bedroom wall and make your living room one long space at the front of the house?

  3. It’s kind of hard to imagine the space, but my first thought was to put a see-through book case next to the front door so that it delineates the entry but you don’t close off the space. Then put a small round dining table in that corner where the kitchen and master bedroom meet. Agree with the first commenter who suggested a temporary topper for the table for those occasions.

    And potentially move the door to the bedrooms from the LR so that it’s closer to the office. Then you could put the table in that upperlefthand corner (again it’s hard to see without exact measurements). How fun!!!

  4. Did you say your house was spanish style at one time? If so I think the wood pedestal table just below the home layout would look perfect! It’s my favorite of the tables you show, but I love all of these options! I have a house about your size and I also have a round pedestal table. They definitely save space! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress and I’m glad you’re taking your time with it!

  5. Our first house had this EXACT same entry – boom – suddenly everyone was in the common space with no sense of designated entry or separation from the living room. A good thing to know is that walls are super easy and cheap to add. You can basically create your own entry area by putting up a partial wall from just to the side of the entry door partially into the dining room, and then make your living room a shared dining/living area. I also think that the number of times people come over is so much less than the pleasure you derive from the smaller table, so I wouldn’t fret the smaller table. Plus you’re in Los Angeles now!!! No more Mr Karl the Fog. Invest instead in a larger outdoor table for dinners with friends al fresco :)

    • I agree! A partial wall extending a few feet makes a great divider. You can have the wall going up to the ceiling or just to waist height if you want a more open feel. My mother has a similar layout and has this in her house – voilà, instant entry.

  6. P.S. I remember your ceilings are beamed at an angle, so you can either run the partial wall up to one of the beams at the top and at the same angle OR choose a partial height with an open transom or clear glass transom to keep the entry area nice and light. A lot of mid-century homes have this. Good luck, Victoria :)

  7. If you do go with the classic tulip table, the 60″ is a nice size. It can comfortably seat 6, maybe 8 in a pinch, but looks perfectly lovely with just four chairs around it. Or, you can store the chairs elsewhere and use it as a spot for beautiful books and a vase of flowers and it will feel like a grand entry. If you become set on an expandable table, there is this one which goes from round to oval but is still modern:
    http://www.dwr.com/product/odin-round-extension-table.do?sortby=ourPicks

  8. you could keep the rectangle table and set it lengthwise against the wall, then pull it out when you have guests over. alternatively, use it all the “wall” separating the living and dining areas by floating it right between the two.

  9. I do love that first wood table. The unique base just says “craftsmanship” to me, and that’s really appealing.

    Good luck with everything as you go about figuring out how to live in your new home!

  10. Love it Victoria!

    You’ll just have to come and visit me in Provence, I’m good friends with Fidel, the son of designer Pierre Chapos who designed the beautiful wooden table in the second last photograph. His son manages his archives and gallery in the next village over from mine and he is restoring vintage pieces and making faithful reissues of his fathers designs!
    Ruth
    @familleribeaucourt

  11. I have a very similar house to yours. I am lucky that I have a sister with a very good eye and she snagged me a Hans Wegner rectangular table & four chairs from the salvation army for $100.00, refinished it and gave it to me when we bought our house 15 years ago. I know, lucky me. The table pulls apart and has sections under neath that enlarges the table. Nice to have the larger table for dinner parties, but you will be entertaining outside most of the time, so maybe this is where you will want your larger table? I know that you are used to living in vintage houses but I just want to add that the scale of the furniture is a big deal in these older house. my house is a 1947 modern, so it can be tricky. also, forget the separation wall between living & dining room, it works so better when the space is open. good luck.

    • that sounds ideal – i need a larger outdoor table and a smaller, round one indoors. there’s no room at all for a separation or divider – it’s just too small and awkward an area to do that. thanks!

      • Congratulations on your new home, Victoria! I have a similar home in that our entry opens up into the main living area. We’ve tried having a dining table in the main space, but it wasn’t optimal. When entertaining larger parties for dinner, we’ve come to prefer using our outdoor seating. Even on a chilly San Francisco night. ;-) For you, I’m imagining a super large outdoor table and intimate seating for yourself and perhaps another guest inside. I recently saw a pull-out table from cabinets on AT that looked like a great solution. Something like this:
        http://www.thekitchn.com/a-smart-dining-solution-for-tiny-kitchens-a-pull-out-wooden-tabletop-hidden-in-the-cabinets-small-ki-175135
        Additional cabinets to the right of your entry would also provide some nice storage and help to create an ‘entry zone’. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    • This is a great idea! Being from the polar vortex I forget that some people can live outdoors year round. You’re very lucky! Definitely take advantage of it! Especially with a yard that size.

  12. I have a similar problem living in a small one bedroom apartment. The living area is a decent size – but it needs to include the sofa, bookshelves, TV, a dining table, and the fridge as the kitchen is too small to fit it!! We’ve played around with a few different layouts but the best one has the dining table a few feet directly in front of the front door. Somehow it still works though and you get used to it! At least in your room the table is off to one side, and I agree that a round table will help. We have this artek table http://hivemodern.com/pages/product3937/artek-alvar-aalto-table-90a and I love it.

    The biggest challenge will be to train yourself not to dump all your stuff on the table when you walk in the front door!

  13. In Norway, we never enter into the living room and I’ve always thought that this is such a peculiar room plan. Where do you hang your coats and your shoes — do you walk all the way to the bedroom with them? Unfortunately, we have a lot of bad weather and walking through the house with snow and dirt on your shoes and a wet coat is just not doable. I wish I lived in a place where I didn’t have to consider bad weather, though!

    When I first moved to Oslo I was also contemplating buying a round dining table and I liked the look of the round Piet Hein Ellipse table with an extra leaf for dinner parties. I can’t find a photograph of it online, but you could ask at a design store.

    Anett | Tall Girl’s Fashion

  14. Hi Victoria, I vote for the last two shown here as I think they are more living room friendly. The tulip table always feels breakfast roomy to me. Fabulous space!!

  15. I am currently renovating my new house that has a similar living space layout to yours. We’re adding a dividing wall directly in front of the front door that you can partly see through, and a wardrobe on the right for jackets, shoes, etc. For the table – I love Bauline’s “Adagio” table which is a modern take on an oval table (which before seeing this one I would have never considered). It extends when required. Bauline’s “opera” table isn’t bad either, it’s round, but I’m not convinced of how it looks once opened (the center leg is quite ugly). Anyway, those are a couple great options in addition to what the others have written. Note – I don’t work for Bauline or anything, but recently discovered them and think they have great solutions! Good luck with the house! Can’t wait to see how it all comes out!

  16. What about a bench along your master bedroom wall in your living area? You could use it as living room seating on a regular basis, as well as push a dining table up against it when you’re hosting a gathering.

    • I really like your idea, Heather. A round table with a chair or two around it by the kitchen could be used like a desk or landing strip for the front door on ordinary days, then moved to the bench for bigger groups. And the bench could be used for storage, too.

  17. I have a round teak table like the seesaw table. It has 2 leaves that make a large oval that seats a huge crowd. But as a regular 60″ table it is great. You can comfortably seat 6-7 people. And it fits the mid-century style so well.

  18. Have you considered an extendable oval table like the Catalina extendable dining table from Copeland Furniture on http://www.allmodern.com – .it goes from a small oval with a modern base to quite a bit bigger with extension and can be small when it’s just you or a few getting bigger for larger parties!

  19. I normally prefer rectangular tables, but in this case I would choose a round one; I think it makes easier circulation in the area. I woudn’t build a wall, it would cut visual connection; have you considered a small cabinet or something like that? Not sure about it, it doesn’t seem the plan is well scaled.. About your rectangular table you could use it as a working one in your office

  20. I see what you mean. Round table probably best – the image from Skona Hem gives a very informal feel to it. Perhaps you just need the table to be “a table that goes in a room with some chairs round it” rather than a dining table which implies dining room, and if you put a lamp and plants on it, that would help it fit into an all purpose room. Can it go into a corner at all? Do you need one up all the time? You could have trestles and a top and put it together when you needed it. Tulip table – dream buy.

  21. Love all the white and those floors…and I love round tables! They make everything look elegant. Personally my table (its a knock off ikea, the Docksta) works great for tight spaces and I always get compliments on it (our table is about 15 feet from our front door). It always seems to make a lasting statement on visitors. A tulip table would look amazing. Best of luck! I’m constantly inspired by your blog and can’t wait to see what you do. xoxo

  22. i would suggest adding a room divider that still keeps the space relatively open but at the same time, divides and conquers.
    for example, you could create a small entry pathway that leads you towards the living room then more directly into the kitchen.

    also, have you thought about enlarging the living area to spill over into the dining and possibly have the dining behind the currently designated living room? this way you can have a long rectangular table for the holidays! the space simply calls for it!

  23. I have had a round table for years and have loved it. I feel like round tables are more conducive to conversation and eliminate any hierarchy (there is no head, after all). Unfortunately we are selling it because it doesn’t suit our new space. But, if you are looking for a pre-owned option take a look at it here: http://revolvingdecor.com/shop/product/?id=4266 It extends from 56 inches to 72, but stays round rather than becoming an oval. There is another round table for sale on the site as well. Good luck with your search.

  24. I think 1200 square feet (+outdoor space) is a great size. My house in Nashville is 1324 sq. ft )plus a deck and huge yard) and I sometimes feel like it is too much for me to care for!
    As far as furniture options go, you might search online for convertible furniture meant for “tiny houses.” West Elm makes a few cool pieces, as well as other companies.

  25. When the money comes pouring in from your SF book, and the next one you’ll have to do about LA, you can put french doors where the living room window is and enter there.
    John

  26. I’d create a wall perpendicular witht he kitchen out of wardrobes, so there would be closet/ storage and it would funnel the entry traffic into the living area. The other side of the wardrobe/ wall would be a great place for art.

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