July 8, 2016
The Kitchen Banquette
Commonplace in restaurants and other public spaces, it is now the ‘benchmark’ for banquettes to be adopted for use in the home, and it is easy to see why. A banquette offers an alternative way to provide extra seating when space is limited. They can be cozy, warm, and inviting. They are a place for a splash of color and are versatile. Not to mention, their space-saving qualities allow for seating when an area is tight.
A well-placed banquette can serve to delineate space, opening up a room. Although the breakfast area pictured above is large enough for a table, the flow to the English gardens through the French doors as well as the opening to the family room would be interrupted if the table were in the center. While off to the side, the banquette creates ample room to flow from one space to the next, offering good communication to the cook, and a beautiful view outside.
Our goal in this beautiful, historical home in Darien was to remove the walls of several smaller rooms, opening up the space to a lovely view of Long Island Sound. The light streaming in through the new picture windows and transoms maintained the architectural character of the home. The shape of the banquette separated the kitchen work area from the eating area defining the space.
Custom millwork allowed for the display, as well as hidden storage of cereals and jams.
The height of many banquettes stops somewhere mid-back. This can be uncomfortable for taller clients. An upholstered back certainly is preferable, preventing the finish cap rail from pressing into one’s back. One must consider all of the family members when designing the back of the banquette. The image pictured above is from a kitchen I designed some time ago with interior designer Brian McCarthy and architect Fairfax and Sammons that was originally featured in Elle Decor. The high back you see in this photo prevents the finished cap from disturbing any of the family members sitting there.
It is key to select a table without cumbersome corner legs as these will get in the way. Rather, I suggest some sort of pedestal table like the one pictured, which gives a great enough allowance for resting your own legs comfortably. I recommend a round table or a surface with rounded edges; this provides better maneuverability because there are no sharp table edges.
Brian added some fabulous cushions that really liven up the space. The banquette really brings in the color! The personal touch and aesthetic of the homeowner can be expressed here. Never forget that the most beautiful of fabrics can be used, as long as they are treated. A waterproof coating can be added and no one would ever know. This keeps the fabric looking beautiful and protected from spills.
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Sarah Blank Kitchen & Bath is a bespoke design firm specializing in custom kitchens, master baths, and architectural interiors for fine homes. For questions regarding your next project, please contact us at 203-655-6900.