Help with Pass Through/Breakfast Bar Dimensions

meisocalMarch 21, 2013

Hello Everyone,

I am working on designing my kitchen remodel and am rethinking what I had planned for the pass-through/breakfast bar set up that I have planned. It will be an opening between the kitchen and living room. This is to both provide a simple dining/homework area solution as well as to ease entertaining when it happens.

I was planning for the counter to be set at 42" and was hoping to install upper cabinets with glass fronts to showcase items collected during our travels. I was also going to have matching cabinets placed facing the kitchen for additional storage because the kitchen that we have planned is an open concept with limited upper cabinets.

Finally to the question: How high above the counter should I have the cabinets installed? The ceiling is 9' high and the cabinets come in three standard heights 30", 30" & 42". I just want to make sure there is enough headroom when a tall adult sits at the bar. Hubby is 6'2".

Any suggestions would be helpful.

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robo (z6a)

I am not in love with cabinets above breakfast bars because I find they impede the view and make it unfriendly for breakfasters. That said if you did do them I'd want to make sure the bottoms of the cabinets were above your husband's eyeline when he is sitting straight up, so maybe about 3.5 feet above the seat bottom. Seat bottom is usually 30" for a 42" bar (I think) so you're looking at 30" for seat, 42" for human, 72" total. 108 ceiling height - 72=36 for cabs, but subtract crown height and molding on the bottom of the cabs - maybe around 24-27" height of cabinet?

TL;DR - I prefer something less obtrusive like this:

Traditional Kitchen

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 9:51

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Thanks for the help. I was planning 36" uppers, but was second guessing myself. Maybe I will go with the 30" tall uppers since I haven't ordered the cabinets yet.

The original idea was to do something like your picture with the "see through" look and doors on both sides of a single set of cabinets, however, in the interest of budget we decided to go with stock cabinets and are worried about the integrity of them by modifying the back.

Thanks for the help with the calculations.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:16PM
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With stock cabinets you are going to have a blank wall of cabinetry facing either the kitchen or the living space. What about open shelving?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:58PM
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The problem with cabinets over a pass-through or peninsula is not just the "view" when seated - it's also when standing.

Most people are ripping out these cabinets when they remodel. To make it "user friendly", they have to be mounted high enough so the tallest person in your family (or among close friends/frequent visitors) can stand and look through the space w/o having to duck. If you try to talk to someone on the other side, you will also have to duck to talk to them.

My advice: Don't do it!

Oh, and I would make the counter all one height on both sides. If the counter will be 36" (counter-height) high on the kitchen side, make the entire counter 36" high so you have a large enough surface for that homework you mentioned and for extra workspace when needed for large projects. When counters are two levels, the usable surface depth on the higher level is usually too shallow to make it really usable for much more than leaning on arms or for placing a drink glass. If you plan for homework, I would want a surface at least 24" deep, maybe more. I know my kids take up more than 24" of depth when doing homework on our peninsula...closer to 30" or 36".

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Thanks for the help and suggestions.

marcolo - we are mounting two sets of matching uppers. One facing the kitchen and the other facing the living room.

buehl - We are actually having 24" counters on both sides and hubby didn't want the one level counter for a small separation between spaces. Height is not a problem because hubby at 6'2" is the tallest. I'm not too worried about the view into the kitchen because we actually are going to have a 5' opening into the kitchen right next to the breakfast bar.

Thank you for everyone trying to help. I believe we have decided on 36" uppers.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 9:39PM
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