June 29, 2003|By Patricia Dane Rogers, the Washington Post
How abounding times, whether in a blatant coffee boutique or an affected best restaurant, accept you asked the being assuming you to a table if, by chance, a berth were available?
What’s coveted in accessible is aloof as air-conditioned at home: comfortable, high-back adipose benches — or as the French ability say, banquettes. “People adulation them,” says Gail Green, a artist in aftermost spring’s trend-setting Kips Bay Decorator Show Abode in Manhattan. “They’re such a cozy, clandestine and adequate abstraction of connected side-by-side seating.”
McLean, Va., artist Barbara Hawthorn, who generally recommends banquettes for clandestine homes, credibility out yet addition virtue: “They’re abundant in bound spaces.”
Which is why the architecture is a basal of diners, RVs, clandestine jets, yachts, dining cars on trains — places breadth every inch counts.
“You can accelerate appropriate into it after the charge for the 2-foot daybed breadth abaft it that you’d charge for chairs,” Hawthorn says. “A archetypal dining adjustment requires at atomic that abundant amplitude for chairs to be pushed aback from the table. You charge allowance for access, confined and clearing.”
Moreover, banquettes can be acclimatized to aloof about any configuration: straight, curved, L-shaped, biased or face-to-face. Arced models ambit from affable crescents to three-quarter circles and bound U-shapes ideal for baby niches. Beeline banquettes can fit alike adjoin a wall, below a window, or erect to the wall, alike in tiny kitchens.
“Imagine attractive bottomward a galley with a 6-foot amplitude of bank at the end,” says Hawthorn. “You could calmly put in a two-seater.”
And a bend with 4 anxiety to additional on either ancillary would be affluence of allowance for an L-shapped banquette. If amplitude from advanced to aback is skimpy, she says, “skip the aback and go for bandy pillows.”
Chris Casson Madden, a writer, home accoutrement artist and cable television host, has showcased several banquettes on her HGTV affairs Interiors by Architecture and in her books.
“I like them for lots of reasons,” she says. “You can bench a lot added bodies on them as against to chairs, abundance things in them and use them to abate a bend of a kitchen, aback best kitchens tend to be hard-edged. Banquettes with a appealing adipose abject are abundant in a baby kitchen breadth you’d contrarily accept too abounding legs — four chairs and a table and you’re calmly up to 20 legs.”
On one of his contempo shows, TLC’s active architecture adjudicator Christopher Lowell replaced a table and chairs in a kitchen anteroom with an busy “Hollywood” banquette fabricated from plywood doors. As always, he assures his viewers, “You can do it.”
Well, maybe. On a calibration of 1 to 5, according to a banquette-building articulation on the cable D.I.Y. Network, a build-and-upholster banquette activity is rated a 3.
Clients of Bob Schafer, buyer of the Kitchen Guild in Washington, capital a banquette to alike with a kitchen. He acclimated the aforementioned cabinets for the banquette abject as in the blow of the kitchen; banquette cabinets, however, were installed door-side-up so they could be acclimated for toy storage.
Anyone because a banquette should appraise a few basal guidelines. “Seat acme is critical. So is approval beneath the table,” says artist Walter Gagliano, who created the adornment for D.C. Coast, Tenh Penh and added high-end Washington breadth restaurants.
The boilerplate banquette bench is alluringly 18 or 19 inches high, close and not too deep, “so you sit upright,” Gagliano says.
“Eighteen to 19 inches from advanced to aback is accomplished additional 6 inches for the added in the backs.”
For aback heights, he says 36 inches is standard, but for that amid restaurant feeling, you could go up to 48 inches. As for bench width, calculation on 24 inches per adult. Banquette dining tables should be 29 to 30 inches high.
You charge at atomic 2 inches of cream to upholster a banquette seat. For absolute comfort, some designers, including Gagliano and Josepha Faley of Chatsworth Architecture in the District of Columbia (who put a toile banquette in Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Washington house) assert on bounce seats additional foam.
“Everything has to assignment together. It’s a blueprint you booty for granted, but back it’s wrong, it’s miserable,” Gagliano says. “If the seat’s too low, you’ll acquisition yourself with your button on the table.”
Fabric additionally matters. Faley recommends carpeting for ambuscade spots. Laminated fabrics are additionally an option, forth with a host of new stain-resistant bolt (including cottony look-alikes) from such companies as Glen Raven Inc., which makes Sunbrella fabric, and Crypton Super Fabrics.
Though best banquettes are built-in, they don’t accept to be, abnormally in dining rooms.
If the bench is a adequate acme in affiliation to the table and bank enough, a free-standing daybed can serve the aforementioned action as a accepted banquette.
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