Everyone eats

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Remember Christmas dinners at your aunt's house, where the kids ate at the children's table in the family room, while the adults took their sumptuous feast in the formal dining room?

That separation might have served to soothe the adults' nerves and let the kids be rambunctious, but it also broke the connection between old and young.

In the spirit of joining the generations and fostering conversation between tables, many home designers are providing home plans that include multiple dining areas in close proximity to one other. This home's formal dining room has a second eating area within earshot and tucked into a bay with windows that overlook the back yard.

Many home plans place a nook near the kitchen, with the formal dining room adjacent, for a trio of convenient mealtime spaces.

Some plans separate the kitchen from the dining areas with a snack-bar island, which serves the dual purpose of buffet bar and eating spot.

Still other designs do away with separate eating areas altogether, providing instead a multipurpose room, such as a great room, that serves as a casual and formal dining room, a family room and a living room.

This trend away from segregation of the generations has been gaining momentum for the past decade, as more American families turn toward a less-structured lifestyle that can still accommodate formal events.

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