Dining room furniture plays a critical role in the member dining experience at Corinthian Yacht Club.
When the commodore of Corinthian Yacht Club (CYC) in Marblehead, Mass. continued to hear feedback from members about how the club’s main dining room felt “too formal,” despite a complete tear-down and rebuild in 2003, the club’s management team, led by David Titus, Clubhouse General Manager, began brainstorming ways to change that perception.
As the staff kicked around ideas, there was a fear that if the club “casualized” the main dining room too much, business would be poached from CYC’s Harbor Room, which has a more bar-like feel with wooden tables and chairs, a large bar, a fireplace and a number of televisions.
CYC’s main dining room offers a completely different dining experience. It boasts water views from every angle and a menu featuring traditional New England fare and local seafood, as well as enticing signature dishes.
“The club’s dress code has relaxed over the last decade, but the main dining room maintained a level of formality, largely because of the look and feel of the space,” says Titus. “We had classic colors and paisley prints on the upholstery, and high-back mahogany chairs. There was no bar in the room, and it felt stuffy.
“We believed adding a classy, U-shaped bar overlooking the Marblehead Harbor would attract members to the space, but changing the furniture to improve the ambiance of the room would also help,” Titus adds.
CYC hired an architect and began laying out plans to improve the main dining room to make it more welcoming and comfortable. In November 2017, the room was closed for renovations, and it reopened in April with a whole new look and feel.
The main dining room now boasts a new bar with seating for 12, as well as a community table and a series of four tops that offer incredible views of the harbor and the distant Boston skyline (see photos, pg. 30).
“The furniture we chose is well-crafted, higher quality and extremely durable,” says Titus. Durability is important, he notes, because the club often hosts events in the main dining room, so the furniture is moved often and needs to withstand wear and tear.
“The fabrics are much more welcoming, too,” he adds. “They really soften up the whole room.”
Members have been thrilled with the redesign, Titus reports. “Year to date, we have increased our member-dining food sales by 12% and our member bar sales by 9%,” he says. “Members who wouldn’t come near the main dining room are now choosing to dine here, because they feel comfortable in this space.”
How to Improve a Dining Room’s Visual Impact
As clubs update dining spaces, more are focusing on quality craftsmanship in the selection and purchase of dining room furniture and finishes. These pieces need to not only be adaptable, but they also need to last. And when well-chosen and configured, they can bring a room to life.
Here are six expert tips for how to update and care for dining room furniture:
- If you don’t have the budget to completely overhaul a dining space, make small changes that can have a huge impact, like reupholstering chairs or updating lighting.
- Work with an interior designer to ensure that all furniture aligns with a new design.
- Furniture patterns and styles should flow between the dining tables and the bar seating.
- Include a side chair at every table, so larger members are not forced to squeeze into armchairs.
- Dining room chairs should stack more than six high—this will make it easier for staff to clean and reconfigure the room, and also extend the furniture’s life.
- Evaluate dining room furniture every few months and repair or refinish pieces as needed. This will save you from having to completely replace everything all at once.
Source: Eustis Chair