Already this year clients are asking me about Dining solutions mentioning that their New Year resolution as a family was to spend more time together and that included eating together. We constantly seem to be dashing from one meeting to another during the day and eating on the hop and then in the evening its home work, house work and bed time. Time together seems to be last on the agenda, but an evening meal is one essential.
Re-modeling to eat happy
One client wanted to know the best way to re-plan their living space. They live in a typical 1930’s property with a small kitchen and separate lounge and dining room. They could see that they had 2 options, but did not know which one to go for.
Knock the wall down between the lounge and the existing dining room to create an open plan lounge and dining space, which is a common solution for this style of property; or knock the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room, which would create a large family room suitable for cooking, eating and lounging. The later option with this family property meant that the new kitchen and family area would open out onto the garden with large folding glass doors, creating a sense of inside outside living. Once I demonstrated how the new spaces could be utilised more fully as a family they were in favour of the later option.
Another family came to me with no budget for alterations to their home but desperately wanted to create family time around the dining table. The children however wanted TV diners in the lounge or their own rooms. The dining room remained empty and unused.
Now many will throw their hands in the air at the suggestion I made, but bear with me.
“Put a TV in the dining room”. It does not need to be big – a 19” should suffice.
Once everyone is in the habit of sitting around a table eating and watching TV, turn the TV off and put some music on. Conservation will start to flow after a while – it may start with a discussion about a TV programme or the latest craze for a type of music, but you will all be talking.
For the last few weeks my clients have worked hard at ensuring all have their meals are together and in the dining room. To suit everyone in the family they have one night with TV and the following with music. They are talking about school projects, family issues and planning for the future. The future includes a new colour scheme for the room, with co-ordinated soft furnishings and new artwork. Everyone wants to have their say about the design and its implementation as they now consider this room integral to their family time.
Its never easy balancing meal times, getting the family talking and spending time together, but how you use the spaces within your home will have an affect on the behaviour of those within it.
As a Designer this is one of my foundation quotations.
“ Behaviour not space is enclosed by architecture. No dwelling, building or city is planned to be empty. In order for the planners or architect to know the purpose of his design, he must know thoroughly the behaviour he will enclose. The study of behaviour is not a simple intuitive thing known to everyone. It is complicated and requires long discipline. But once the behaviour is understood, the design process that follows is even more satisfying than the design of empty spaces” Bechtel, Enclosing Behaviour, 1977