update to blog of February 28, 2010
I'm a big proponent of maximizing the space you are given. Banquette seating is great for the home with the 'small' eating space in the kitchen that really is never big enough for a table and four chairs. Some people have very small dining rooms that also have the same challenge.
We just finished a recent project that had this issue. The clients wanted to be able to seat 8-10 people in their dining space. We designed/built a banquette that fits nicely under the window sill, coordinates with the other furnishings in the home and accommodates the heat vent. Plus, the fabric selected is anti-microbial and stain resistant! A channel in the base funnels the heat from the duct on the wall to the new vent cover in the toe kick.
Both the seats and the back have springs in them similar to commercial grade restaurant booths keeping them comfortable but firm. The fabric is pulled tight (no loose cushions) and there is a coordinating welt that marries the back of the cushion to the wall. This contemporary style fits in nicely with the decor and architecture of the home. It looks like it was meant to be there - which is what we want. :)