When I was living in Chicago, I’d had an honest-to-goodness dining room, which was the site of many a dinner party and lively gathering, and I’ve sorely missed having a space to really host and entertain since being in Toronto. As such, one of the big selling features of this condo was finally having an actual dining space.
Before starting the condo renovations, I dreamt of creating a banquette—that is, upholstered seating along the wall—with a long dining table. I could just imagine all the friends and feasts to be had. However, when the pandemic hit, I found myself using the space for a variety of different activities, from dance classes to furniture assembly. I realized that I liked having a versatile, open space, able to be adapted to whatever I might want to do. Moreover, while it’s a fairly long space, it isn’t terribly wide, so it wasn’t really practical to have a full dining table and chairs in the space full-time, as it would making getting to and from the den a bit cumbersome.
This then ruled out a traditional dining room setup. I still wanted to be able to have a dining table, but something that would allow me the flexibility to move things around and use the space. Rather than just a traditional extendable dining table, where you still need to start with the basic table shape and add leaves to make it longer, I wanted something that would actually get narrower.
I chanced across an ad for Transformer Table, a Canadian company out of Montreal, that makes dining tables and benches which extend from 18″ to 118″. What was appealing to me was that, in its 18″ format, it could be pushed against the wall as a console table or just pulled out as a nice little table for one. Or, of course, it could be stretched out with multiple leaves for a full dining experience. I chose American Mahogany, made of chestnut hardwood, to tie into the dark brown leather seats in the den and the walnut accents in the kitchen. I love being able to switch out the space in 10 minutes, converting from a dance-workout-solo dining-cocktails at the kitchen counter sort of space to a full dining room setup.
When the table is in its smaller state, the table leaves (of which there are 5 in total) make their home tucked under my bed, as they’re supposed to lay flat when stored. The two CB2 dining chairs bounce around the condo depending on my mood–sometimes they’re out, and other times serving as a plant stand in my bedroom or stashed in my storage closet.
As I mentioned in my post on the kitchen renovation, I was original leery of having the countertop extend too far into the dining space, as I was very conscious of trying to keep that space as open and expansive as possible. Thankfully, I ultimately decided on a bit of an overhang to allow for stools, as I just knew that people would naturally gravitate towards hanging around the kitchen. It’s in our nature—we can’t not be near the kitchen! I think it’s just to always be in close proximity to food, which I can’t fault anyone for.
To keep things light and open, and to let the art pop, I painted the space a bright white. The long expansive wall running opposite of the kitchen just begged for some kind of interesting feature. I toyed with doing floor-to-ceiling board and batten along the wall to create some architectural texture, and indeed, I may someday try it. For now, I’ve opted to keep things relatively simple and purchased two beautiful pieces of abstract art canvas prints by a Spanish artist on Etsy. Each piece is 32″ x 40″ (which cost an arm and a leg to have stretched onto frames), so as to take up a large-ish portion of the wall. What I love about these pieces is that they’re fairly minimalist but convey the wonderfully rich colours—greens, blues, and pinks—that connect with the rest of my home.
As the most versatile space in the condo, it will continue to evolve over time, as I figure out new uses and optimal configurations of furniture. For now, I love the thought of all the activities that will go on here—from dinner parties to dance classes.
Dining table: Transformer Table, “American Mahogany”
Dining chairs & chair pad: CB2
Light fixture: West Elm
Art: VictoriAtelier on Etsy
Paint: Benjamin Moore, “Chantilly Lace”