Getting Back to Gathering


Getting Back to Gathering:
Oversized Kitchen Islands & Handmade Tables Are Having a Moment


One of the great joys of this summer is being able to gather with friends and loves ones, the sounds of glasses clinking and laughter floating in the air reminding us of just how precious our connections are. After a very long year (and then some), many of us are rediscovering the simple joy of being with others. With a renewed focus on friendships and family ties, then, it’s no surprise that many of us are turning our thoughts toward the best places to get together in our homes—and for some Connecticut homeowners, that means considering oversized kitchen islands or hand-hewn tables created with the goal of bringing people together. Curious to learn more? Read on to get inspired to host your next gathering.


Island Living


While kitchen islands have long been a part of our daily lives—providing coveted counter space, an option for a kitchen sink or a even catch-all for keys, bags and mail—lately, homeowners are rethinking their prominence in the home and seeking out larger islands that beckon loved ones to gather round and stay a while.

According to Houzz, the home renovation website, “Islands are a prominent feature in a renovated kitchen, with one in two homeowners opting to add a new island or upgrade an existing one.” Today’s islands aren’t just for food prep; many of them house appliances, storage and, of course, offer the space and opportunity to create a place to dine, hang out and for guests to be a part of food prep while you’re entertaining—without having to skirt around them every time you open the oven door.

Oversized islands offer a sense of intimacy, and can serve as a perfect place for a formal dinner as easily as they can a casual gathering spot. In fact, some homeowners are combining a working island with a dining table to ensure they’re never relegated to the kitchen while guests are mingling in another room—everyone is in one place, and a part of the action. “As for how homeowners are using their islands, 58% plan on using them for dining, 49% for entertaining and 45% for socializing,” notes


Dining with Friends


For some homeowners, the dining table will always be where the magic happens—a place separate from the food prep, where the focus is solely on the meal shared and the people sharing it.

Neighbor’s Table, a Dallas-based company with a mission to encourage people to gather together, has built their handmade dining table business for those who prefer dining tables to islands. Their tagline is “a love mission,” and while their tables are made by hand to order, it’s their commitment to people that really sets them apart.

“I asked my father to build a cedar, farmhouse-style table, big enough to seat 20 people. We placed it under the oak tree in my backyard, dropped chandeliers from overhead, and started inviting neighbors, friends, family, and even people I met at the grocery store,” Sarah, founder of Neighbor’s Table, states on the company’s website. “I set a goal to serve 500 people that year, one dinner party after another. The 500th guest walked up my driveway on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. Now years later, nearly 3,000 have been loved at that table.”

The company crafts their tables in 9’ sections out of Western Red Cedar and says that most people order two tables and four benches, allowing for 22 people to sit comfortably. They can also customize a table for your home at no additional charge. And the best part? They’ll even help you throw your first gathering at your Neighbor’s Table to celebrate the spirit of the community on which they are founded!

However you decide to gather with friends and loved ones this summer, the trend in 2021 for spending time with loved ones is sure to be one that becomes a beloved classic.


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