Which do you like? Glass on bottom or top

beekeeperswifeJanuary 13, 2012

So, I'm thinking to add some pizzaz to this kitchen I might want to add some glass cabinetry.

I already have some at my coffee bar area. But I'm thinking where the every day dishes are going to be located and glasses, and even the wall where the range is going to be....

But I don't think I want to do full glass doors. The doors are going to be tall. Ceiling is 9', and I'm taking the cabinets along with the crown up to the ceiling. I'm thinking either the bottom 2/3 glass and solid on top 1/3. I've seen this look. I think it looks pretty good. I'm afraid if I did the glass on the top 1/3 and solid on the bottom that I would be committed to doing it all the way around and I don't think I want to do that.

But what do you think?

Here are 2 photos that show what I'm talking about:

traditional kitchen design by boston kitchen and bath Divine Kitchens LLC

Christopher P. seems to do them with solid on top. I think I'm leaning this way because it might look like a smoother transition to the moulding at the top rather than going from glass to chunky crown. Kinda hard to see, look behind the light....

And yes, I was going to post the layout for you but, I have it saved and I can't upload it to Photobucket. Plus it has the name of the KD1's company on it.

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Are you going to light them?
If you are, I'd go with the top.
If not? I'd do the bottom because you can put crap up there you don't use very often.

I don't put anything in my cabinets there because I forget it's there. Years later, I find it and think, "Oh! I forgot about that."

Those are great pictures.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 8:41PM
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We are going to do glass on the top boxes with one corner cabinet glass as well, with mullions. The corner cabinet will come all the way down to the counter. I think that will be enough glass for the "effect", but without me having to keep all my cabinets neat! Our kitchen is pretty big but no real wall space for decorating, so I'm using the glass on top for display. We'll have crown at the top...have seen pics and to me it looks fine. Ours will be wood, not white, don't know if that makes a difference. I agree with CEF above, I love the top ones when they're lighted.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I'm a glass on top kinda gal - at least, that is my plan after seeing all the great kitchens here and elsewhere on the net. Like you, I think it will jazz things up, but in a subtle elegant way.

Although the glass cabinets on the bottom look great, I *know* I don't have the organizational skills - let alone the budget - to make sure everything behind the glass *always* looks great! Forget that! So, I'm going with the glass on top.

I'm enjoying following your saga! :-)


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 10:03PM
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I'm a sucker for the lighted double-stack with the glass on top. Especially with mullions. Doesn't that just look great? Not your first pick, though, is it? Both are beautiful.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 10:59PM
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I think I'd like the glass on top to break up the wood from the chunky crown. But I think both will look great!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:09PM
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All of your pictures are of stacked cabinetry, not tall single doors with a portion in glass. Stacked is the traditional way to accomplish this as its more natural to have the one whole cabinet atop another whole cabinet. Doors over 42" tall tend to be subject to more warping because of the extremely tall stiles. Most cabinet manufacturers will only produce taller than 42" cabinets if you sign a waiver acknowledging the possibility of warpage. Stacked cabinets with glass generally add 1/3 or more again to your costs, and I know you are on a budget.

If your new cabinet maker is less costly overall and this is now affordable, then the most common approach is to have a proportion of 2/3 to 1/3 with the lower cabinet being the solid doors and the upper 1/3 size cabinet being glass. This keeps them from giving the kitchen the skyscraper tunnel like effect. You can add accent doors in key places in the lower cabinets, but overall, if you do the lowers in glass and the uppers in wood, you increase the costs by 1/2 again rather than 1/3, and you have the potential for the kitchen feeling top heavy.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:43PM
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If I were doing this, I would have to think of the practical aspects, as well as the aesthetic. For example, what are you planning to put in the top cabinets? Do you have lovely, less often used items that you would likely store in the top cabinets and that would look nice with the glass? Or will you want to store more utilitarian things in the upper cabinets? The lower cabinets would be lovely with well arranged but not too crowded dishes, glassware, etc. It sounds like you have enough cabinetry that you can choose either top or bottom cabinets and make it work both functionally and aesthetically. With my more limited cabinetry, I'd have to think where I need to place certain items first and then choose the ones in which the contents would lend themselves to glass doors.

I'm not much help, though. I looked at the first picture and thought, definitely putting them in the upper cabinets! Then I saw then second photo and thought, maybe the glass is wasted way up there on top and should be down where it can be enjoyed more?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 12:00AM
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We used glass on the top to break up the run of white cabinetry. They have lights in them and I put some special pottery/silver pieces in them as display and to add colour to the kitchen. (I also have 2 cupboards that are all glass where all my nice glassware is stored.) My everyday stuff isn't nice enough to show off behind glass.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:14AM
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My two cents is that I like to be able to see what's on display. I recall you have tall ceilings - depends on what you plan to put behind the glass.

In my glass cabinets - I find I have more ornaments in the bottom two shelves than on the top b/c of what I said above.

Both styles look lovely- think it's up to your personal taste

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I prefer glass on bottom. I would look at as many pictures as possible and see if you have a clear preference.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:50AM
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Hi Bee: I'm going to stick my neck out here and off a suggestion from my previous kitchen. Aesthetically, I love the lights in the upper cabinets, and I had glass put into the upper cabinets, with lights. Although I loved the look, you could see the light around the edges of the inset doors. I'm sure there's an easy fix for that, but I didn't know about it at the time. We also had 9' ceilings, which makes these top cabinets really high, I had to put any decorative things on a box or piece of board so you could see them. Otherwise, looking up into the cabinets, you lost about 1/3 of the bottom of the item. Depending of course on the size of the frame of your cabinet door. And most of all, it was a bit of a pain to get the big ladder out of the garage when I cleaned the glass. And in a kitchen, you really do need to clean them several times a year. Our previous home was 100 yrs old, so dust and cobwebs were a given. It never failed, we'd have dinner guests, and I'd turn on the lights in these upper cabinets, and there would be nice big cob webs inside.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:58AM
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I wanted some glass, but I couldn't get comfortable with having my dishes on display. I think that looks best with the right amount of stuff arranged for the visual, and I am a little short on space. Dishes might have been okay, but not the even more utilitarian stuff. Balancing what I do have would have pretty much meant all glass on one side or the other and that just didn't work for me.

I went with glass on top and the display is less noticeable, but I still like it. Mine is against a 10 foot ceiling, so with 9 foot ceilings, yours would be seen more than mine.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:59AM
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For myself, I prefer the glass on top. IMO the glass on top keeps the area feeling open and airy. With the glass on the bottom and solid at top, it would feel the "weight" of the cabinets would be way above me. Going with white cabinets though wouldn't be as significant compared to wood or black cabinets. Your kitchen is going to be fun to watch being pulled together.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 10:03AM
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I am with those who say it depends on your stuff. If you have pretty display pieces you want to put up top, then the glass up there makes sense. It will reduce some of the function of the uppers because you can't stash things in there and make it look crowded.
If you have decent looking everyday stuff (doesn't have to be expensive), then the glass on lowers makes sense.
In our house, we use the top cabs on the tall stacks for less often used stuff and odds and ends. I hide gifts up there and would not want any guests to see inside. I would rather have glass lowers for how we live.
I do have to echo about having to lift decorative things up high because it is hard to see from the ground. I put display stuff in our first house's kitchen on top of the cabs because we had a vaulted ceiling. I had to put bases underneath each object because they got lost up there and you'd see only the top part of each thing otherwise.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 10:34AM
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The glass on top looks nice, sort of like when you walk down the street at night and see warm upstairs light coming from a home and wonder what it's like inside. It has a comforting look. However, with a 9' ceiling, you need to be back a ways from the cabinet to get an angle on what's inside, and when you're that far away, can you really see the thing? I love the idea of glass, but I don't have any because my stuff belongs behind solid doors. :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Bee- I think you're right...glass on top would look best, if you did them all the way around, not just in a few places.

I plan to use some glass uppers, so people can easily see where the everyday dishes are, rather than opening up cabinet doors, trying to find them. Do you want to see the things in your lower cabinets? If so, use glass, if not... :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Sail-away has solid reasoning here. Decide what you are putting in what cabinets first. Then you can determine how "displayable" they are. I have upper glass only in two of my three uppers and have my serving pieces there. You don't need to do all of your uppers in glass if you don't want to. Just make sure it looks balanced (not necessarily symmetrical)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 2:33PM
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I'd vote for on top all the way around the room for the ambiance that it gives. It's a great look when having people over to just have the uppers lit and the undercabinet lighting (both on dimmers.) Plus add select lower cabinets, possibly close to the window and sink to keep things more open feeling there. That is if budget is not a problem. Stacked cabinets and glass are both expensive options, as previously mentioned.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 3:00PM
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sail-away did hit the nail on the head. I used to have stuff on display above my cabinets in the current house--pre-reno. It was such a liberating feeling to not have that stuff up there. I think if I have the glass up high, it would only be for "pretty things". I'm not into that anymore. I want my everyday dishes (that are all white) to be what is on display. I have lots of silver pitchers and trays that I use--so those would look nice too if they are on display, but in the area that is accessible.

You guys know me. I don't like to follow what I see the masses doing. I pull an idea from here, and an idea from there, mix it up and do whatever I want. Pretty much why I can't really describe my style. When I look at photos, I see so many of the lighted cabinets up high, but when I come across the opposite I find myself liking those better.

L-w-o, good point about the warpage issue. No one has mentioned this to me. I will talk with the cabinet maker about it. I know if I did a full height glass door, it is already 2 glass panels in there. And yes, I agree that they do seemed to be stacked. Maybe I can ask him if he can do one box but with separate doors, wait, I KNOW he can do it, but at what cost, right? Or...can I put a knob up there to make you think I have stacked cabinets? There is a cross piece already at the 1/3-2/3 mark up there....

And I would never do all the cabinets in glass--oh Lordy, there is quite a bit of stuff that should never be seen by "the public". But it's not like I have sippy cups, and old tupperware cups in the cabinets anymore. I'm a white plates and clear glasses kinda gal. I like how those look when I see them behind glass.

Well, I'll let you know what I find out.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 4:21PM
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I like the peacock version better for your space. Little silvery and glass glints shining out.

I think you could do it as one cabinet with a divided face frame and actually have two doors without two cabinets. Cabinet guy can put a fixed shelf between the two cabinet areas for stability. Just about the appearance of stacked cabinets - but is actually a tall single cabinet. Which is pretty much exactly what peacock did.

If you do want to post that drawing, I'm willing to help reformat it and send it back to you.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 4:56PM
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FYI - when we were pricing custom, they were trying to steer us from the stacked cabinets look (with one box but two separate doors) to one tall single cabinet with one door (we were looking at the traditional solid on bottom, glass on top). The cost difference was quite significant, $850 for what would have been 7 doors.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 5:13PM
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My wonderful Amish (or mennonite) cabinet maker is quite the whiz with technology, bless his soul. He sent me lots of photos to look at. He suggests the single door with the wood and the glass. They will be separated by a wide stile anyway and they will have the look of 2 different cabinets. I asked him if I had to worry about warping, he said that if straight wood isn't used that could be a problem, but they will replace them if it happens. And he said that it wouldn't be too top heavy either.

I'm getting so excited (so is my dh) that we will now be getting a kitchen that is not stripped down.

bmorepanic--I'll email you. thanks!


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 6:59PM
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We're just a tad ahead of you, timeline-wise in the "leave your kitchen behind, can I do it again?" jouney ! And we seem to be having very similar cabinet design dilemmas ! I love the idea of the wood and glass. Mix it up! And so exciting that you will be getting the kitchen you want in a brand new house.

Here's our plan:
Our new kitchen ceilings will be just 9 feet while our old kitchen ceilings were higher. I loved having stacked cabs before and wanted that look, but with glass cabs this go round. At first, I was leaning toward a glass cabinet with a stacked, solid on top. But, the bottom glass cab wouldn't end up being as large/tall as I'd like. We are now going with one large cabinet that is made to look like it has two doors with a wide stile and all glass. My cab maker isn't concerned about warping. I gave my cab maker these photos and he said he could achieve it.
I will have two solid door cabinets on the fridge wall for my uglies and plan to do all white stoneware in the glass cabs.

My favorite pics that nudged me this way-

My most favorite look with super high ceilings (Lauren Leonard)-

For the Love of a House with one large door:

I hope we both end up happy.....


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 8:31PM
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