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Breakfast nooks, benches, and seating for tall people

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We have a 5ft by 8 ft built in breakfast nook with an L shaped bench. One 8ft side is open to the kitchen. The other 8ft side and one of the 5ft sides has the bench. The other 5 ft side has a railing. This means the seating area is accessible from only one side.We currently have a 4 ft by 30 inch rectangular pedestal type table. With this small table, we can have chairs at two sides of the table and one person can sit on each bench (family of 4).


The built in benches are beautiful and match the cabinets perfectly. I know they were custom built buy previous owners. They seemed like such a great use of space when we bought the house and each bench has storage beneath it. Unfortunately, we all dislike sitting here for meals. Getting in and out of the benches is awkward and they are down right uncomfortable even with an assortment of cushioins and pillows.


Any thoughts on how to make this area more comfortable? I keep thinking how I'd love to tear the whole thing out, but that would cause wall and flooring problems and DH would need a whole lot of convincing. :D


I am considering a round pedestal table that can extend into an oval shape. This might make it easier to get in and out of the longer bench area. I also wonder if we need significantly higher cushions or maybe even a counter height table. Which brings me to my next dilemma.


DS is over 6 ft tall now and sitting in any chair is extremely awkward for him. DH is also tall and seems to cope, but both of them try to go and eat in the living room chairs when I am not around. We have wooden dining room chairs with seat cushions. I am wondering if we need more substantial or at least taller chairs. I think the breakfast nook is aimed more at a group of small children. I can imagine a row of little cuties sitting on the benches! But for tall gangly teenagers, it doesn't work.


I have considered turning the area into a small office for me...but do not know how to do this and still leave the benches in tact. Plus, there are no outlets in the area.


Help! What would you do?

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