Conversation pits: Time to chat about the groovy home feature making a comeback

It’s time to chat.

We want to tell you that the conversation pit, an ultra-kitsch feature of Australian retro menis cool again.

Many architecture and interior design aficionados would say the conversation pit never went off the agenda.

A clutch of listings on the market nationally have this sunken lounge feature, and in properties built decades after it was first trendy.

Emerging in the 1950’s and taking hold in new builds in the 60’s and 70’s, the conversation pit can be found in modern interpretations in homes currently for sale.

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The conversation pit at 74 Monash Road in Menai. (Domain)

The conversation pit remerged, long after it was originally in vogue, in 2012. The star character of Mad Men, Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, bought a Manhattan apartment with a cool conversation pit and it took off.

And when the New York Times spots a trend, you know it’s really taken root. The arbiter of good taste in real estate interiors ran a story this month called sit down Let’s Talk. The Conversation Pit Is Back.

A conversation pit is a built-in seating area, typically with plush upholstery, set in a decompressed floor (and somewhere to knock back a few Brandy Alexanders).

In the luxury listing at 74 Monash Road in MenaiSydney, the pit is in addition to a separate lounge area and is a contemporary nod to the purist’s version.

At 18 Grandview Terrace in East AlburyNew South Wales, architect David Boyle designed a second living room with streamlined, built-in seating around the perimeter of the “pit”.

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Don Draper
Advertising genius Don Draper (Jon Hamm) knew what was hot in interior design.

“Ideal for a multitude of uses, the space can be utilized as a home theater or games room. With large sliding door access to the family room, the space can also be employed as a further extension to the main living zone when catering for large gatherings,” the listing says.

Although some up-to-the-minute conversation pits are oriented to a television, a red-velvet version at 141A Ryde Road, West Pymblehugs an open fireplace and is clad in tiles.

The conversation pit made its debut in residential design after modernist architects Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard crafted one in their 1958 US project, Miller House, in Indiana.

According to the New York Timesthe conversation pit became popular in design circles because it removed furniture clutter in increasingly functional homes.

Interior design architecture East Albury property for sale on the market real estate listing
The sunken lounge, aka conversation pit, at 18 Grandview Terrace, East Albury. (Domain)
Architecture interior design property for sale West Pymble
Fireside chats at 141A Ryde Road in West Pymble. (Domain)

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