Time To Reinvent How We Entertain for the Holidays
December 6, 2016
Several years ago, a book was published entitled Life at Home in the 21st Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors. Its authors, a group of UCLA anthropologists and archeologists, followed 32 ordinary families as they went about their days. They were trying to get an accurate read on exactly how the typical American household lives its life. One of the more interesting sections of the book involved how people use their homes. The authors tracked the family members’ movements throughout the day, and a graphic featured in the book represents those actions with red dots, each dot indicating 10 minutes spent in a particular location. What the map shows is a huge concentration of dots in the family room and kitchen. In fact, of the roughly 1344 square feet of this fairly typical ground floor (median house size of a new single-family home is around 2400 square feet), about 528 were used. The large living room, and most notably, the formal dining room were virtually dot free.
If the authors mapped the homes during the holidays, the dot distribution would likely look very different. People use their formal living and dining rooms the most when entertaining during the holidays (though anecdotally speaking, preparing to entertain, which represents the bulk of the day, is often spent in the kitchen and family rooms). The holiday map might look more polka dot than the red cluster blob of the daily map.
Part of the problem, as blogger Pam Kueber told the Huffington post, is historical. “In the early 20th century and prior, many homes had servants. The kitchen was their separate domain, while the family ate in the dining room,” she said. As servant duties were handed off to the heads of households —made easier by modern appliances —the kitchen became a social gathering place, not just a food-making factory. The eat-in kitchen, as the Life at Home map tests, became a primary point of congregation for most homes. The dining room relegated to being a showpiece, rather than an active space.
While it’s great to have the ability to host large, formal dinner parties for the holidays and other occasions, maintaining rooms specifically for those events —rooms that might take up 20-50 percent of your available floor space yet are used less than one percent of the year —is a questionable cost/benefit proposition. When families decide to buy a home, how much is it worth to have a large dining room you may rarely use?
Resource Furniture offers several solutions that allow you to have your turkey and eat it too. For example, our Goliath table starts off as a 17” deep console, but with the addition of leaves, expands to 115”, providing seating for ten or more.
Want to know the true value of saving space? The Goliath saves 27.306 square feet, so by using the average sale price per square foot, it amounts to savings of $38,911.05 in New York and $26,159.15 in LA, for instance. Wow!
We offer a number of other tables such as the Passo and Cristallo, which start as standard sized coffee tables, but transform into full sized dining tables for eight or more. We also offer seating options such as the Pocket chairs, which fold down to ¾”, and easily stash away, should you not need them most of the year.