If you are thinking about renovating your living room, you don’t have to go the traditional “four walls and a flat floor” route. Using different levels within the same space can give your living space a whole different dimension, and can give a feeling of coziness – especially when creating seating areas. It is particularly useful if you have a living space with dual purpose, or an open plan home, to define different areas. So how can you create this in your own home? Try making a conversation pit. Here’s what you need to know before renovating.
The sunken conversation pit
Back in 1959, the first conversation pit appeared in Homes and Garden Magazine, in the home of J.Irwin and Xenia Miller – celebrated patrons of modern design and interiors. The pit was designed by the architects Alexander Girard and Eero Saarinen, and was 2.5 foot deep, covering a 15 foot squared section of their living room. Each side of the conversation pit was lined with sofas and cushions. This unique idea created an intimate and cozy space to spend time with friends and family, focusing on each other. The same design was then used in New York’s JFK Airport in the TWA terminal.
Building a conversation pit
Due to the construction logistics, building a conversation pit is not a simple procedure – it involves digging a hole into the foundations in order to create a space large enough for your seating arrangement. It will be a financial investment in your home. The process is very similar to installing an indoor swimming pool. It is certainly advisable to get a professional to deal with the construction. You will need to keep track of the measurements though so that you can install sofas and cushions that fit perfectly in the space.
A retro comeback
Conversation pits are making a comeback in home design. Maybe we are getting tired of staring at computers and televisions all evening. It is certainly a refreshingly sociable living room feature, celebrating the importance of spending time with family and friends. The women’s club, The Wing, based in Dumbo, Brooklyn has recently installed a conversation pit, looking strikingly modern – a great space for intimate conversations. And architect Craig Steely installed a beautiful purple sofa pit in one of his home designs that took Instagram by storm.
The conversation pit is back on the interior design map. Rather than looking like a 1960s gimmick, it is a modern way to move the focus of your home to the people that live there.