Niches In Wall Behind Cooktop & In Pantry Wall--Anyone Have? Pics

buehlFebruary 27, 2008

I am thinking about putting in two niches...

One niche would go in the wall behind my cooktop. There will be very little space behind my 36" cooktop b/c I have standard depth cabinets & countertop (24"D cabinets + ~1-1/2" counter overhang). So, I thought if I put a 4" or 5" deep niche in the wall behind it, I would have room to put things while cooking or something decorative like decorative oil bottles, etc.

However, I do not know how this will work OR if it will be usable.

I've searched the FKB (all of it!) and only found 3 kitchens with anything close to what I'm describing. So, I'm here asking (begging!!!)...

Does anyone have this type of niche?

  • Do you like it?
  • Is it useful?
  • Could you please post a picture for me?

Any information will be gratefully received!!

Also, if someone did consider it but decided not to put it in, why? I guess I'm asking for pros & cons.


The other niche I am considering is in the end wall of my step-in pantry. I was thinking of building a 20"W x 4"D x 48"H niche into the side/end wall of my pantry. The niche would have a 6" "sill." This niche would hold my landline phone & a pen holder on the sill, 5 hooks above them for keys, and above the hooks, our Wysocki calendar--our indispensable record of appointments, events, etc.

What I'm not sure of is what the "sill" should be made of--should it match our granite (Diamond Black)? Or, should it be a wood sill, similar to the windows. I'm concerned wood would get nicked and start to look rundown fairly quickly.

The pantry walls will be painted the same color as the other walls in the kitchen...color undecided/clueless right now!

I think I would frame the niche similar to a door w/2-1/2" molding all around...although our windows do not have any molding around them, so maybe this niche shouldn't either.

Thoughts on this "Message Center" niche? What should sill be made of?

Here are a couple of pictures that might help w/the pantry niche (each box = 3"x3"):

Picture 1: Planned corner pantry. The niche would go in the wall facing the FR doorway. It's the wall where I have 20" marked.

Picture 2: Proposed Niche

Thank you so much for any information!!!

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I can't speak to the niche behind the cooktop but for the message center, I think it sounds like a great idea, though six inches may be a bit narrow to hold the phone comfortably and accomodate the wires. Ours sits on a 12" window sill with the cords hanging down and I'm not sure I'd want it any smaller. In any case, what I can tell you is that we store things on all of our deep sills which are wood and they've held up very well; They are all painted with alkyd (oil based) paint because latex, even 100% acrylic, won't cure as hard as alkyd. I'd go with wood over granite.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 8:55AM
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This is one a good friend of mine did up in the Seattle area, all cut on site:

1 Like    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:31AM
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buehl deep is that niche? They also have a shelf in front of the niche, which I do not have room for. It looks really nice!!!

The backsplash is unique. I don't think I've seen one quite like it before. This reinforces our decision to postpone the backsplash until we can save $$$$ so we can do a unique and probably expensive (knowing my tastes), one! Thanks Bill, you always have great pictures!

Cheri...we plan to put the outlets and phone jack inside the pantry below the niche. Then, we'll drill a hole in the wall near the sill, inert a grommet, and feed all the wires into the pantry. We measured our phone & it's only 5" deep and 11" high when the handset is in the cradle charging. We don't really have much choice in depth since the pantry shelves will be behind the niche and we don't want to recess it into the pantry itself. We are planning to use the depth of the wall + 1-1/2 to 2 inches (for a total of 6") for the sill. Our KD today suggested making the sill out of the same hardwood as the floors in the DR & FR. However, we aren't putting the wood floors in anytime soon, so I think we may go with your suggestion...thanks!

Anyone else have any comments on either niche...suitability, suggestions for improvement, etc.?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:18PM
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It would be nice to have a little storage in the pantry niche. Either a tiny drawer or cubbies beneath the sill or a little shelf above it as a place to toss paper clips, scissors, etc., would make the space for user-friendly and less cluttered.

Also, have you thought about lining the back with either chalkboard or dry-erase material OR a sheet of magnetic metal OR a sheet of corkboard? It would make a great place to stick notes, shopping lists, etc.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:30PM
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I want one of those Seattle back splash niches. Gorgeous!

Buehl,- good questions. We are planning an alcove/niche on one wall entering our kitchen (like your message centre)- ours backs on to the furnace ducting. We had decided we would line it with maple stained to match our cabinets, put in glass shelves (to match our garden windows), and we've wired for a puck light, but I hadn't thought of the framing/molding around the edge! Maybe some kind of tiling- I haven't decided on BS yet, my alcove will probably have an arched top- darn - one more decision to make!

Oh, and sill? Don't think I'd thought of that either? Since we're doing granite everywhere, windows, pony wall, etc. maybe we should do granite there too? Does give you the chance to make the bottom shelf a bit deeper. Is it possible to make that niche a wee bit deeper? I like one of the previous posters suggestion about drawers to hide the 'non-pretty' stuff. But again, you could just add one more shelf and have boxes/containers- probably less money than drawers.

How did your meeting go?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:49PM
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That's a thought Holligator! There won't be much room since our calendar will take up 15" of the 20" width, but we could still stick small notes, etc. in the empty spaces.

Hmmm...anything other than drywall will have to go above the phone area though since the phone will need the vast majority of the 6" depth so I don't think we could afford to lose any depth w/cork, etc. But, above that I don't see why not. Thanks!

Raehelen...we're still debating the sill issue...granite? wood to match floors? painted wood to match window sills in other rooms + doors & door molding? Decisions, decisions!

I'm going to update the Kitchen Saga thread w/the meeting results...mixed bag....CS Rep was ill and GC didn't show up, so only my KD was here to measure again (!!!!) I looked over her shoulder and she measured everything 2 & 3 times so I think she's got the right measurements now! (Boy! I sure hope so!)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 3:58PM
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I just keep thinking of all the gunk and grease I'd have to clean off the niche behind the cooktop.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 3:59PM
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I'm not a fan of the niche behind the cooktop because I just don't see how it's practical to reach over a hot stove to get things, and oils shouldn't be stored in heated spaces either, they just go rancid. Even if they're decorative, the build-up of gunk on them will be a hassle to clean all the time. I love the pic of the niche by another poster though, it's definitely pretty! I'm just all about the practical side of things.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 4:32PM
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I am going to work in a message center too. No ideas on materials--I am having trouble picturing it--sorry. As for the niche above a cooktop, I am not a fan. I think they can look cluttered.

I hope to have my message center in a cabinet built to look like a hutch. I have seen one message center that was just some counterspace with four shallow, wide drawers below. One drawer for each kid in the family, plus one extra for junk, I guess.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Fori is not pleased

I had a phone niche in my previous home (1929 vintage). It was sized for the wrong size phone and had no outlets beyond a phone jack, of course, but it was the cutest darn niche. It's a great idea. Mine was in the entry hall and stained dark to match the woodwork--in the kitchen of course the shelf could be granite or match the window trim or the cabinets. I think I want one in my kitchen remodel now. I am so impressionable!

The niches behind the cooktop/stove--I don't know if they are functional but they always look great so they don't even HAVE to be. In my kitchen, though, it would get grimy. Wait, no it wouldn't--my backsplash behind the cooktop doesn't get grimy so why would a niche? It would be a job for the taller spouse to clean, though, which is actually another bonus.

I would want something that cleans easily, like a slab of stone or something--as gorgeous as that niche above is, I think it might be tough to clean. It is set back pretty far though, and has a beefy-looking hood. I dunno. :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:15PM
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buehl-- that niche is OOAK. You won't ever see another one just like it As for the depth, it's the depth of a normal wall void-- 3 1/2". As for the shelf you think you see out front, all that is, is a piece of chair rail being used as an accent.

One thing you're right about, though-- if this is the kind of thing you want, it certainly won't be cheap. The girl who did this is very meticulous about her work, and I know this niche by itself had to take a day or two.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:19PM
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I just shot off an email to her that she's a hit over here and invited her to join the fray, so hopefully, she'll stop in. Her name's Laura.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:26PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Ours goes between the studs. There is a pull-out pantry right next to the wall so nothing could stick out past the wall more than 1/2". The electrical sockets are mounted to the stud and hidden by the wood "shelf" which actually was our drawer front sample. We use it for a phone and small radio.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 6:22PM
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Wow Babka! I wish I had seen that earlier. Rather than start 32" off the floor I'd make it more like yours...just a few inches and then have 2 or 3 shelves like you have. Our calendar, though, is bigger...well, at least longer! But there's still room for phone/keys/calendar.

Fori...I know what you mean...I'm so impressionable too! And my DH cleans up so HE would have that job (plus he's taller)

I don't think it would get too grimy in our kitchen as I don't fry and rarely brown items. But hey! For the look it might be worth it! We won't be putting in a backsplash for awhile (year or so), so I can use it for "decoration" until then.

Thanks for everyone's input...thanks for the pictures Bill & Babka!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 6:45PM
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I don't have a picture, but my sister has a small box niche in her kitchen wall where they keep the phone and a small message pad.

Its much deeper than you are considering, but I raise it because they really like how it works and hides the phone.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:55PM
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Buehl: Babka's niche looks great and seems to be very much along the lines of what you were hoping for.

I wanted to comment on some previous posts about the niche behind the cooktop. I don't have one, but like the other posters, my first response is "Don't do it!! Dust and grease collector!". However, I do have decorative 3D tile and tumbled stone behind my DCS range, and though (I'm mortified to admit) I have NEVER cleaned it, short of an occasional (seldom) quick wipe with a dish cloth, it still looks great (grout is just a bit discolored. tile and grout are white, been there for 11 years). So, I wouldn't let worrying about cleaning it bother me. Now, the cost is another whole ball of wax.....

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:50PM
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babka, that's very inspiring. Unfortunately I still haven't mastered the art of putting photos in but here's a link to a niche that's not for a phone but it is awfully pretty.

Here is a link that might be useful: nice niche with light

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 1:14AM
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babka, beautiful niche.

buehl, you could also use chalkboard paint or i think there is that magnetic paint i saw on one of those home shows?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 5:32AM
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buehl - as soon as I read your post yesterday, I went straight to my pantry which is laid out exactly like yours in the corner. I love the niche idea, I say you should go for it - now's the time! I just need to figure out what I want to do in mine... :)

I also agree with kas81057 about using magnetic and chalkboard paint in the back for a note surface. They both work well. Be sure to do at least three coats of the magnetic surface under the chalkboard paint and if you can find rare earth magnets, they hold really strong. I did a chalkboard (not magnetic) for my kids about 8 years ago and it has held up really well.

Gotta run before the GC starts putting up drywall!! LOL

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Thanks everyone...I really like the magnetic paint idea. Probably not chalk board, though, since (1) chalk dust aggravates my asthma and (2) there won't be much extra space in the nook after the calendar, key hooks, and phone go in.

I think we'll find somewhere else to hang a white/dry erase board if we decide to have one. We've had a couple of small ones on the side of our MW in the past but they were hardly used so I'm not sure we really need one. If we ever have the $$$ to do the FR, I may put one in there next to the Kitchen & garage entrances.

Hmmm...don't they make magnetic hooks? I could use those and then only have the # of hooks I need at any given time in the nook.

Thanks again everyone....keep those ideas coming! They're really helpful!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 9:57AM
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love the message niche I want one too...

I am one of those "use every inch" types so I think putting stuff in between studs is great--otherwise think of all the wasted space!!

If you don't fry, etc. maybe it isn't a concern, but I just wanted to say I have a narrow shelf behind my cooktop now, pretty high up, with a few doodads and jars on it, and it is DISGUSTING. I reached for something the other day and it had the nastiest film on it. TO clean it I would have to dump out all the spices in the bottle and wash it. So I just put it back, LOL...anyway, even if there's not grease there will be steam, which will attract dust and make a film. So if you do want a niche plan on it being purely decorative, and on washing the stuf in it periodically.

BTW what is OOAK?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:17AM
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One Of A Kind

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:38AM
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OK People,

Doesn't anyone ever wash behind their stoves?

I've had a normal range for over 30 years (I've only had a slide-in for a couple of months). I ALWAYS used the ledge on top of the stove for spices, sugar canisters, whatever.

Yeah- they might get greasy- but you wash them off! When you wash the stove top, you wash the ledge- no big deal! And believe me, I'm not a neat freak (my DH would beg to differ, but you know, what does he know!)

We are also going to have a six inch wall behind the stove, ours backs on to the Master Bedroom and DH is building a 'double wall' for sound proofing- if you are interested in more details Buehl, I can tell you- cuz yours' backs onto your Master BR too, am I right?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:52AM
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Raehelen...great idea! For us, though, our MBR is actually above the DR & Kitchen. Our MBA is also above the Kitchen (not that big of a MBA!) The MBA plumbing is what's causing all the problems for venting in our ceiling!

And you're right! We had a range in the old kitchen and we also put things on top of the "backsplash" (the part that sticks up in the back). And, yes, it was part of the routine to move things and wipe it down when wiping off the range. The spices we put there didn't last long enough to need cleaning...they were used up too quickly!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:15AM
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