Monday, March 31, 2014

A Banquette, part 1

After hemming and hawing over adding a built in banquette to our kitchen for the last 5+ years, I finally just asked a friendly carpenter what it would cost.  And its just under $400 to build something similar to these two inspiration pics, in an L-shape in the corner of my kitchen:

From Domino and Martha Stewart Living Organizing
Nope, no closed off storage or cabinetry look.   But I settled on the above examples when I thought I was building it myself--messing around with old house baseboards is not for me.  But since I (a) still don't own any powertools, despite a successful run in the Power Tools for Sissies class, and (b) get tired walking through a grocery store, I figured I might as well see what having someone else build the super simple design would cost.  And the price was right.

We will settle on the final design next Saturday morning and then he will stay and build it..and around 5 hrs later I'll have a banquette.  That simple.  Or so I hope.  

So what goes into a banquette design?  Here is what my research yielded:
  • It should be chair height (18"), and you should allow for cushions (at their compessed height)
  • It needs to be deep enough to lean back a little; I won't have cushions on the back (it is going to be tight as is) but allow for that if you like.  18" seems to be minimum depth....
  • Don't forget to have some overhang for feet kickback (bigger issue if bottom is closed in).
Better Homes and Gardens has a good article on measurements:
"For banquettes, the standard height for the table is 30 inches and for the benches is 18 inches, leaving 12 inches from the top of the bench to the table surface. Let the table overlap the benches by 3 or 4 inches on each side. For more legroom, set the benches back a few inches and add a "heel kick" on the floor below the table overlap.  Allow a minimum of 21 inches of table and seating width per person. Also allow 18 inches of seating depth, not counting the back support."

This post shared building plans, and had a 23" depth.  Ana White's free-standing bench seating is 24" (but has a big back cushion).  If you can't tell, I'm totally nervous about depth as I want it to be comfortable and awesome, but it is the pathway from the backdoor to the rest of the house and I don't want a permanently bruised hip (or, for the shorties, bruised heads) from the peninsula. 

But enough practicality.  Let's look at some dreamy kitchen banquettes that will not resemble my own.

Next week I'll chat about other DIY options, fabric and pedestal tables.  And hopefully have a completed picture....and hopefully not have to tell you that the exposed leg version is not a good option.  


  1. Juliana Margulies banquette in architectural digest is one of my favorites. I think it is the hand blown white lilly flowers in the glass light over it that really sets it off

    1. Found it:

      Yep, the light fixture is good. Inlaid chair doesn't hurt either ;)