Are formal dining spaces really necessary these days? My husband and I didn't think so. We live in a modest 100+ yr old Brick home in Chicago. We remodeled it a few years ago and made sure to maximize every corner of space with functionality and style. One of our key concepts was in creating a dual purpose (work space + dining room).
As more families and couples use the dining room in a less formal setting, we maximized our small dining room design, by turning it into a workspace. It's a place where we might sit down to work on the computer or spread out our latest art projects. It is a creative space for daily use and when the tables are put together, it makes for a traditional dining area. It's super cozy corner channeling a morroccan lounge, teasing you with throw pillows to come in, relax and stay for a while.
Cafe Workspace : BY DAY
On most days, this room acts as a workspace for us. We had custom tables built to act as "cafe tables" by a designer in Chicago who re-purposes the bases of Charles and Ray Eames' pieces. When separated, they become a his and hers workspace. We find this to be most convenient and functional for our everyday lifestyle.
To give it that inviting and cozy space you might never leave... add small touches of vibrant bud vases with fresh flowers, favorite mugs, and soft neutral pillows with accents of color bring out the cheer. Wood tables made by hand evoke a sense of warmth, counter balanced by clear barely-there chairs.
Building in a few secret compartments in our bench seating, and it becomes a fully functional office space as well. In the drawers, we have hidden and housed our office supplies, file cabinets, and even our printer!
Lounge Dining : BY NIGHT
Push the tables together, add an additional chair at the end, a center piece and other ambience making details...and voila! We are ready for entertaining!
For more background on our design, head over to our feature for --> About.com : Home
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Light fixture & pillows: West Elm, Pottery Barn
Mid-century mirror: An Orange Moon
Tobias clear chairs: Ikea
Mid-century Teak Shelf : Broadway Antique Market Chicago
Built-in Cabinetry : TriStar Custom Cabinetry