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The banquette idea: built-in seating makes good use of space and adds style to the kitchen. (Home).

The banquette--built-in booth seating that's a standard feature in diners--is moving into more homes. Its advantages are many: it doesn't take up much space, the upholstered seat adds comfort, and storage can be incorporated. When you sit at a table with chairs, you need to be able to push your chair back at least 3 feet to feel comfortable. Not so with the fixed seat of a banquette, which makes it a good solution for small, empty kitchen corners.

"I think people like banquettes because they are great for casual, intimate meals," says Danville, California, architect Philip Volkmann. "It reminds them of bygone eras and dining in restaurant booths."

Storage possibilities

Taking cues from yacht interiors, interior designer Gregory Carmichael included extra-long storage drawers under this L-shaped banquette (above). And he used marine hardware to let the tabletop slide three inches in any direction. "This allows you to adjust the table as you need it, since you can't move the table base or seating," he says.

On one side, this banquette has a bamboo-paneled back; on another it becomes a window seat. "To sit here and enjoy the view, you just need to turn your body," says Carmichael. "It's much easier and more comfortable than repositioning a dining chair."

DESIGN: Gregory T. Carmichael Interior Design, Seattle (206/623-2002), and Geoffrey Prentiss, Prentiss Architects, Seattle (206/283-9930)

Window seat

When architect Lane Williams remodeled this ranch house in Washington, he used a banquette (right) to give its inhabitants a light-filled place to sit. "The house tended to be dark, and the family felt like they were always chasing the sun. We relocated the kitchen to the south side of the house, giving them plenty;" he says. "For seating, we pushed the wall out, surrounded it with windows, arid tucked in a banquette. It was the ideal shape." The scale makes it cozy. "The banquette gives the family a more intimate place to eat together," says Williams.

DESIGN: Lane Williams Architects, Seattle (206/284-8355)

Updating the booth

Phillip Volkmann's clients, who both enjoy cooking, wanted a simple seating area for casual meals beside a built-in pizza oven (right). That meant making a tight space work as efficiently as possible. He updated the traditional booth to suit their taste. Spare lines and light wood make this banquette decidedly modern.

"This is a quiet, cozy spot where they can have breakfast together," Volkmann says. 'A regular table wouldn't fit in this small space. You would have to use a tiny bistro table. Here, we have a full-size table that accommodates more people."

This banquette has evolved beyond an eating area. Ifs also a place for reading the paper, relaxing, and doing homework.

DESIGN: Phillip Volkmann, Barry & Volkmann Architects, Danville, GA (925/837-1422).

RELATED ARTICLE: Hardworking fabrics

On a banquette seat you slide and eat, so the fabric has to be bulletproof. We asked designers for fabric suggestions.

* Vinyl. Williams used vinyl for his banquette seat because: "It looks a lot like leather, and it's only a matter of time before it has red wine spilled on t."

* Leather. Carmichael likes leather because it's easy to care for and move around on.

* Synthetic. Carmichael maintains that synthetic materials, such as polyester, look and feel great. You can treat them to resist stains, but the treatment wears off over time and must be reapplied.

* Cotton. To minimize staining and wear and tear, Carmichael chooses cottons with a tight weave and a pattern.

NOTE: Avoid velvets and chenille, or any fabric that catches on clothing and makes movement difficult.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bowling, Mary Jo
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Words:592
Previous Article:Sliding shade. (Invention).
Next Article:Table tale: a young couple's coffee table changes along with their tastes. (Home).
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