Two cabinet heights/what to do with windows below counter height

olympia776February 1, 2014

I've got a house built in 1939 and have windows in the corner of my kitchen. The PO had a table in this corner and in an imaginary world I'd love to have a banquette but I really need the space for working - the space is 6' long. Right now I'm using a big Boos island table in the space and it's great for functionality but it's not the right feel or look for the space long term.

My issue is that the windows are about 3 inches below counter height... Possible solutions that I've wondered about are building in cabinets and leaving a "reserve" behind where the windowsills are for plants. Having a lower height bank of cabinets say 33" or possibly 30"? Seeing if it's all possible to have just the lower part of the windows remade to be just a few inches shorter and replacing just the bottom portion of the window.

Where the new counter would meet the windowsills would be a concern.

As I mentioned we're not even done with this round of projects - I need to paint the walls and tile the backsplash. I'm also hoping to add stacked cabinets above my uppers (there are only three). And a million other little things like finishing trim, adding windowsills, more painting, etc.

Thanks so much for all your help!

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Carrie B

My sister has a window over her sink. When she moved in to her house, the setup was the same as yours - the window went below the counter & below & behind the sink. She said it was a major PIA to open the window and to clean the sill behind & below the sink. She eventually had the window sill level raised so that it now starts above the sink.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:53AM
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firstmmo

I wouldn't do the "reserve" as you call it, where there is a space behind the counter. We currently have that in our rental and like Carrie, the cleaning behind there is a PIA and it's really weird looking. It looks like someone made a mistake.

If you do decide to change the window height, you will have a bigger project on your hands. It will involve taking out the window, remaking the opening size and even having to redo the exterior to match with the current exterior (stucco, wood, etc). But this, IMO, would be preferable. Essentially you will be fixing something for practical purposes that will be bringing that kitchen up to date and making it more useful for you. If budget is a concern, I'd wait until I could afford to do this -- counter space makes such a huge difference!

Maybe post a layout. The layout gurus here might have some good suggestions for you. Perhaps they could suggest a lowered counter solution just through reorganizing the layout?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:59PM
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bmorepanic

Doing a lowered counter can work pretty well for some tasks - mixers, hand whisking, rolling out doughs, kneading, pounding out stuff, a place to put the toaster or any countertop appliance or for, well, short humans. The counter can BE the sill - super easy to clean.

Look up how to do the arm measurements to find out your personal desirable counter height. It may be different than you think. You may only need to park a sizeable cutting board on top of a lowered counter.

You could always get a hunk of nice thick butcher block and simply sit it on top if you need more counter level to 36" tall. There are all kinds of shapes and sizes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:29PM
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olympia776

Thanks so much, I really appreciate the feedback.

The butcher block island/table we have there now has really great functionality for me. I have the microwave (which I kind of hate having) and my breville toaster oven on the lower shelf and I also store my kitchenaid down there. The top that lines up with the countertops is amazing for giving me lots of working space. It's just awkward with the windows being below and aesthetically it doesn't really jibe with the rest of the kitchen now...

Dumb questions - with the windows - is it possible to just raise the sill up/just get a smaller bottom pane to the window? Removing the entire window and moving them up will not be possible right now (we just finished renovating the rest of the kitchen - moving water and gas, opening wall, new flooring counters, etc.!) The real pain is that they only need to come up about 2-3 inches if I were to make the counter be the sill.

I like the idea of doing something like a 30 or 33 and having a butcher block. The only issue with that is that I was planning on having butcher block for the countertop since we just did the countertops throughout the kitchen with White Macauba... I guess I could possibly do different woods if I were to have a butcher block counter and a thick block on top...

I am still open to any and all suggestions! Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:20AM
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