I wonder how many formal dining rooms in older houses have become studies, libraries, offices, since the 60s? Ours has. We have a long table, salvaged from the original Vancouver Public Library, that can seat eight for dinner, but three walls are shelves (designed by my architect friend A.A. Robins to match the rest of the woodwork) and the fourth all windows (not much of a view, but some green, and the odd squirrel running along a nearby fence-top.
I like to read here (most recently a proof copy of Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker) and to write (most recently the introduction and end notes to my non-fiction collection, Distrust That Particular Flavor). I do both those things in an oak Stickley armchair, with dark green leather upholstery, that I never imagined would get so much use, but the wide flat arms are perfect for books, laptop (precariously), coffee cups, snacks (having the kitchen a door away is a definite plus.)
We are yet to miss our formal dining room, and I tell myself that our guests think it's writerly (though probably they just think I'm odd.)
William Gibson's latest book, Distrust That Particular Flavor (Putnam Adult, $26.95) is a compilation of his non-fiction writing, and is out now.