A head on view of an arts and crafts style gossip bench

Arts and Crafts Gossip Bench

Detail shot showing the underside of the corner of a gossip bench. Detail shot of the back splat on an Arts and Crafts style gossip bench

Eric Diven - Long Walk Woodworking
of West Fairlee

Furniture makers designed the gossip bench in response to the widespread adoption of the telephone. Sometimes known as telephone benches, they have a seat, a shelf for the phone, and storage of some sort for a printed phone book. Vintage gossip benches are found in a lot of styles popular during that period, of which the Danish Modern examples catch my eye the most.

You’re unlikely to find Mission or Arts and Crafts among the styles represented by vintage gossip benches. The style had fallen from popularity by the time people began widely adopting the telephone. A client approached me about building a gossip bench in the style for their home. We iteratively developed a design to fit the client’s space, and I built one for them, and a second for myself.

These days, you’re unlikely to find a phone sitting on a gossip bench, but the form has proven itself adaptable as a piece for entryways. It has a seat for taking off shoes, a shelf to set a few things down while you do so, and storage for things you might grab as you head out the door. I also raised the stretchers beneath the seat. This allows the storage of shoes underneath.

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