American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

Dining banquettes are among my favorite pieces of built-in furniture. They can range in style from simple, cozy nooks that duplicate the everyday practicality of the traditional diner booth in your kitchen, all the way to long expanses of luxuriously upholstered seating that recreate the glamor of a great Parisian restaurant in your dining room. Here are three variations on the classic form that demonstrate why a built-in hardwood bench can be the best seat in the house.

All the woodwork in this Snoqualmie, WA, kitchen by Thielsen Architects is clear-finish maple. Photograph by Art Grice

All the woodwork in this Snoqualmie, WA, kitchen by Thielsen Architects is clear-finish maple. Photograph by Art Grice

 

 

 

It would be difficult to find a better designed and executed example of the archetypal kitchen dining nook than this little gem in a Snoqualmie, WA, house by Seattle-based Thielsen Architects. Tucked into a corner at the end of the main kitchen counter, and constructed in the same clear-finish maple as all the other cabinetry and millwork, the booth is perfectly integrated into the space both functionally and visually. Cantilevered from the wall, the table has no legs, making it easy to slide in and out of the banquette seating. Designed for two people, but capable of accommodating four, the nook is raised a few inches above the floor to allow occupants an unobstructed view of the wooded landscape outside the window. The honey-color wood is complemented by a simple materials and color palette: earth-tone ceramic-tile flooring, brown leather seat cushions, satin-finish stainless steel countertop and hardware, frosted-glass Shaker-style cabinet doors, and white matte-finish painted walls.

 

 

 

In Seattle, WA, designer Nancy Burfiend and architect John DeForest created a calm and light-filled breakfast nook for a pair of avid readers. Photograph by Benjamin Benschneider

In Seattle, WA, designer Nancy Burfiend and architect John DeForest created a calm and light-filled breakfast nook for a pair of avid readers. Photograph by Benjamin Benschneider

Comfort is the order of the day in this expansive kitchen nook in Seattle, WA, part of the renovation of a Tudor-style house belonging to a couple of avid readers. Interior designer Nancy Burfiend of NB Design Group, working with John DeForest of DeForest Architects, installed a pair of long corner banquettes—deep leather cushions on sturdy white-oak and steel frames—where the empty-nester homeowners can stretch out with a good book or spread the newspaper on the round marble-top Eero Saarinen table. The leaded-glass windows provide not only a great view of Lake Washington but also ideal daytime reading light, while at night a central pendant supplemented by carefully positioned recessed ceiling fixtures keep the space well illuminated. The sense of contemplative calm is increased by the subtle repetition of quiet materials here and in the rest of the house, most notably the consistent use of rift-sawn stained white oak for all the cabinetry and floors. But the peaceful corner works equally well as a bustling casual dining area when the couple’s children and grandchildren gather round the table for convivial family meals.

 

In the dining area of a Remsenburg, NY, weekend house by D'Apostrophe Design, Tom Dixon pendant lamps and Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs join a custom-made American walnut table and banquette.

In the dining area of a Remsenburg, NY, weekend house by D'Apostrophe Design, Tom Dixon pendant lamps and Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs join a custom-made American walnut table and banquette.

Northern European restraint, plainspoken Yankee style, art-furniture aesthetics, rustic simplicity, and Hamptons glamor all come together seamlessly in a weekend house in Remsenburg, NY, designed by architect Francis D’Haene, the Belgian-born principal of Manhattan-based D'Apostrophe Design. This winning mixture of honest materials, straightforward forms, and ultra-sophisticated tastes achieves its maximum effect in the rural retreat’s elegantly austere dining area. Much too sleek and low-slung to be described as a “nook,” the set-up comprises a custom-made American black-walnut table and banquette joined by a trio of Hans Wegner’s iconic Wishbone chairs. Dark-stained and burly, the built-in seating has the powerful impact of a Donald Judd sculpture, while its slab-like backrest with an unfinished natural edge recalls the furniture of George Nakashima. Plain white cotton-covered seat cushions and throw pillows not only add a welcome degree of comfort to the pew-like benches but also soften the rigorous, almost monastic, visual composition.

 

Thielsen Architects
720 Market Street, Suite C
Kirkland, WA 98033
thielsen.com

DeForest Architects
106 NW 36th Street
Seattle, WA 98107
deforestarchitects.com

NB Design Group
1932 First Avenue, Suite 826
Seattle, WA 98101
nbdesigngroup.net

D’Apostrophe Design
392 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10013
dapostrophe.com

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American Hardwood Information Center

The American Hardwood Information Center (AHIC), located at www.HardwoodInfo.com, provides advice from industry experts on decorating, care and maintenance, design trends, as well as flooring, cabinetry, furniture and millwork product information and specifications, to assist with building material selection for both residential and commercial applications. Step into the world of American Hardwoods and understand why products made from this sustainable and exceptionally beautiful material have been treasured for generations.
American Hardwood Information Center
American Hardwood Information Center2 days ago
Is it time to upgrade your kitchen? A #RealAmericanHardwood countertop can take the design from ordinary to extraordinary.

Counter and photo by Hardwood Lumber Company | #hardwoodlumberco #AmericanHardwoods #counter #kitchencounter #walnut #countertop #countertops #kitchens #kitchen #kitchendesign #design #interiordesign #designtrends #kitchentrends

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