Move over dining chairs, the kitchen banquette is back. As kitchens evolve into the hub of the home, homeowners are rethinking the standard dining set for their open plan spaces. From a functional perspective, banquettes offer an efficient use of space. Built into the wall, banquettes keep pathways open and seat the same number of people or more. Often built into a corner in a U-shape or L-shape, banquettes at home have the same allure as booths in restaurants. Cozy and intimate, banquettes relax the atmosphere. For this busy family of seven, a casual space for dining while maintaining open pathways to their outdoor living area was top priority. As a place to do homework, play games and have a family meal, the banquette is where it all happens.
For his custom furniture building expertise, Nabil Fayad from Alexandria Fine Furniture was hired to custom build this nostalgic, diner-style banquette in this modern Fairfield duplex. “We didn’t give him an easy task. Nabil came up with a design from the two different diner photos I had and we couldn’t be happier with the final product,” says Audra Fayad.
While planning their move to Victoria and exploring the various areas to live in, Audra and Jahmil Fayad came across a local building with ‘Maison de Fayad’ inscribed on it. “It was an amazing discovery; we haven’t come across the name Fayad in Canada before and ironically, like my husband, Nabil is a furniture designer.” Once the Fayads moved into their home and had some areas that needed finishing, they immediately thought of Nabil. “I am drawn to his creativity and the texture and colours of his work,” Audra states.
Starting as he always does with measurements of the space, Fayad then broke down the structural layout on paper before diving into the build. Constructing the banquette from a pattern, Fayad broke the design into four separate segments that fit together perfectly. “All of my designs are about comfort and quality. I build things to last,” states Fayad. Requiring a lot of back and forth exchanges on design features, Fayad didn’t outsource any of the work and took the entire build on himself.
“I knew it would be a challenging project, but Nabil provided us with a few options and definitely spent more hours than we know getting it just right.” Audra adds that “it was a start from scratch type project; no computers, just ideas and swatches. With all the angles and particulars of height, stitching, width, piping, fluting, it wasn’t a simple job. What I love most is that Nabil is creative and didn’t seem to mind taking on a project that wasn’t defined by a particular style,” says Audra.
Redefining the rule book of interior design, the clients boldly marry antique furniture and decor with modern architecture to create an eclectic design that is livable and stimulating. Bucking all trends, the home boasts a layered look that radiates a unique richness and character. “Audra came to me with her own sense of style, she had definite ideas about colour selections for her banquette,” Fayad states. The family needed to economize on their kitchen’s compact square-footage so Fayad knew he had to create a banquette that would bring more breathing room to the kitchen which would expand the flow to the outdoor space. “I created more freedom to maneuver, plus it seats more people than a dining table could have.”
For this high-traffic seating area, Fayad suggested commercial grade leather over fabric for its durability and longevity. Washable, restaurant-grade material can be wiped clean and you don’t have to deal with custom cleaning fabrics and cushions. “There isn’t a day we don’t all sprawl along the booth enjoying its comfort and contours.”
Adding to the home’s inviting feel, Fayad also revived two unfinished benches in both entryways. Adorned in bold red velvet with decorative nail-heads for punch and personality, Audra states that “Nabil’s work brought a richness and texture that our white-walled space was missing.”