Details, it always comes down to details. Some consider unexpected hitches to be blunders or a bad luck but many can be attributed to not paying enough attention to details when planning or failing to identify the important and relevant details.
So, I took my table apart, noticing that there was even more stuff stored underneath it than I remembered. (The plan had called for as much as possible of the 'stuff' to be replaced under the smaller table and the rest to be put 'somewhere' or thrown out.) Carrying on, I chopped down one of the boards that had made up the table and set it up to test. I had run extensive tests on a cloth of that size to make sure workable games would fit but when there was nothing but air on the other side, work or not, 3 feet looked AWFULLY narrow and not terribly satisfying. Never mind, I pressed ahead and tried the board this way and that and blocked out an area for the proposed daybed and started trying to figure out which shelves and storage containers would go where.
Hmmm. Try as I might, there was enough room to do a little dance in the middle of the floor (or would be when all the debris was cleared) but the table was just a few inches too short to fit over the expected number of bookshelf units. There was no good option except to turn it all on its head and ask: "what is the minimum table size to cover what I need to fit under the table?". The answer turned out to be roughly 4 ft x 5ft. (126cm x 162cm to be precise)
It'll be a week before I get to test it but I threw on a few bits of terrain and a few figures to see how it would look.
If that question had of been asked earlier it would have saved me a lot of soul searching and fuss but all's well as end's well. About 1/2 the Game a Week series games were fought on a table of around this size and it is an acceptable size on all accounts. The table is a little lower and a gamer seated on either side of the table can reach all of his side of the table and a little of the enemy's side and it is easy to move around unike the obstacle course I had to run before. There is also ample room for chairs without bumping into things and some off table space for off table troops and casualties. There is also room for the planned daybed (Spinner the Whippet will be most pleased, he hates being asked to curl up on a dogbed on the floor) and a couple of little desks and bookshelves around the room.
Win-win as intended, even though the exact plan did not survive contact with the enemy.