It isn't just the enormous size or central location of the dining room table in Jeff Fountain's home that makes it the focal point; it's the intention behind it.
"We designed our house with the intention of building community around the table," says Fountain, partner at Copeland Architecture & Construction who designed and built the South Hill home with wife Kristi six years ago.
Their (pre-pandemic) get-togethers involved food and fellowship for up to 24 people.
"We have created a space in which we hope to slow down, engage in face-to-face conversation and exchange ideas over a simple meal," Fountain says. "Something like a modern-day salon — a place to discuss current events, politics, food, art or whatever else is on our minds."
The table itself is a work of art. The planks were cut from centuries-old fir salvaged from a Spokane warehouse, while the floor-to-ceiling metal column involved work by local artisans at Lincoln Build Works and Dare Designs.
Perpendicular to the table is a handsome kitchen island, an extension of the shared dining area, which Fountain describes as a reflection of the evolution from a separate kitchen, dining and living room to a more holistic and multi-functional space within the home.
Opposite the dining table, a 14-foot tall bookcase contains several hundred well-used cookbooks — Kristi teaches cooking classes at Spokane's Kitchen Engine — some of them from Kristi's grandmother or the couple's travels. Interspersed are plants, framed photos and artwork reflecting their experiences and interests, says Fountain.
"We have made a few trips to Europe and always fall in love with old buildings and how they tell century-old stories through their materials, like how stone steps are worn down over time," says Fountain.
Those experiences also informed material choices in their home, from the wonderfully worn dining table to soapstone countertops, says Fountain, who points out circle marks from where he opened the first bottle of wine in their home.
"We chose not to buff the marks out, and now they are blending in with newer memories," he says.
In addition to an aesthetic that embraces patina, as he calls it, Fountain incorporated many of the qualities he's been bringing to clients during more than 35 years in architectural design since graduating from Kansas State University.
"At Copeland, we design our projects around unique aspects of the occupant — specifically how they want to live, work, play and experience their space," says Fountain. "On one hand this sounds too simple, but it also takes a fair amount of effort to listen to and understand each client and then design accordingly."
And because they're a design-build firm, they are rewarded with both the creative input and ultimate satisfaction of seeing their designs manifest into finished products.