Seat at the High Table

Get your furniture made to fit your chair, just like you’d get clothes that fit your body.

Problem

Can’t fit a powerchair under a dining table.

Solution

Have a taller table made and cut down bar chairs to fit.

Recipe

  1. Carefully measure the height to lap while sitting in the desired dining position in the chair. Add on 5cm for clearance.

  2. Now measure the reach from lap to footrest. You need to move the table supports in that far at minimum, so you can’t crush your toesies.

  3. Draw a plan showing your chair and the important measurements. The plan shown above is for a Puma 6. You are welcome to use it. download pdf

  4. Submit to your carpenter and await delivery!

More

So, our first go round with this idea was, we got a handy man to screw 4 wooden blocks to our table legs to raise them up. You can get elephant feet to do this also, and we have some of those to hand anyway, but wooden blocks screwed on looked 1000% more awesome. The only problem was that then the table is hilariously too high for people sitting on normal chairs. Everyone ends up looking five years old, propped up on their elbows and peeking over the tabletop. Being housebound frequently for long periods, we do most of our socialising at home round our kitchen table, so it was important to us to have one that Stuart could sit at properly, not set apart from everyone else. We really prioritised this. When we moved to our new flat, we had our Christmas dinners with our family, friends, AND STUART for the first time in five years. It was absolutely brilliant.

Paul and Nina

I found a seller on eBay who makes tables and chairs to order. There are actually loads of these guys, with very varying price ranges. Our table cost about £300 + delivery (in 2013), which I think is pretty good for a solid wood hand made table, and I do recommend them. Paul and Nina’s Country Kitchen. They offered to build the extra heights for no extra material cost after I sent them the plans, which was really kind and unexpected. Good people!

I picked them because they already offered a table that seemed easy to modify… Sorry, it is impossible to link to their website but they call it the “Henry the Eighth” table. I asked them to move the supports in so that Stuart could (a) easily sit at the head, foot, or sides of the table and (b) he couldn’t bash the legs as he manouvered. The company moved the supports in as much as possible - any further in would have been completely unstable, and met all my asks. As it is, you can use the table perfectly well, but you can tip it a fair bit if you push really hard on the edge/ jump as you press down (all children do this!).

We got a couple of benches made at the same place, with the height sized to fit our lanky table. However, we have some less mobile people visiting regularly, so after a few months, we decided we should probably replace one bench with a couple of sturdy chairs with full height backrests. Of course actually we’d have to find some bar stools and get a joiner to cut the legs down a bit…

Seating

Chairs took a while to find. Counter height (60cm) chairs are unusual in the UK - it’s mostly bar stool height (75cm) or dining chair height (45cm). Most bar stools are either (a) appalling (b) precarious (c) loadsamoney or (d) all of the above. To make sure our older relations and less mobile friends could sit comfortably, we wanted to get a couple of sturdy chairs with full height backrests and a footrest high up the chair enough that it didn’t get chopped off, for their stability. And the legs needed to be easily cut-downable, of course. These are surprisingly hard to find and pretty expensive. The cheapest non-terrible ones we found were these Costantino chairs, which is what we went for (available for £10 cheaper at worldofbarstools, or direct for the same price at the Costantino site. I also got a couple of Navy stools (example only) at auction for about £15 the pair and cut those down as well, for when we have loads of people round. The advantage of these is that they fit in between the two table supports, whereas the leather chairs do not. Also the leather is a bit slipperier than I wanted but hey ho.

Another possibility we investigated was a bespoke set from Peppermill Antiques, who do a lot of bar/cafe seating and will do any height you like on some models, but it was too expensive for us as the minimum order was 6.

Our table

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