Counter-height window - is this a good thing?

laurajane02March 2, 2012

Hi again!

So we're meeting with our contractor today and I want to discuss a few framing changes with him. We've already decided to recess the fridge and center the kitchen window.

Our kitchen window is 6' long. I'd like to consider making this window counter-height (bigger, not just lower) and bumping it out about 6-8 inches to increase the depth of my counter space without increasing the footprint of our house. This would also solve my window trim issue.

Anyway, would this be a good move? Is it something that the TKO would recommend?

Here's a 3-D of our kitchen to give you an idea:

Thanks for your inputs!

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This most definitely is something we would recommend! In fact, b/c of this site, I have a window that's counter-height - it's wonderful!

Two people, MamaDadaPaige & ErikaNH, have exactly what you are thinking of doing. I'll look for the window threads that show pictures of their windows - both inside & outside.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Here's a link to a discussion on how high to place the window over the sink complete with pics. I like them lower, myself (probably because I'm on the short side!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Window Height Thread

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Make sure you can meet the receptacle spacing rules.

The wall behind the sink does not count, but you need a receptacle within 24 inches of each edge of the sink.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:40AM
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We did exactly what you are proposing, and we love it. The extra space behind the sink is great bc then the water doesn't splash and hit the window. We also love the full height windows. I highly recommend doing it!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:32PM
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We are doing it as well - 7' wide x 4' high. Link to an old thread with many pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Counter Height Windows

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:45PM
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We're going to do the same with a bump-out. Mamadadapaige's box bay is our inspiration pic.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Thanks! Did you all bump out your kitchen window as well? Did you paint the surrounding window area the same color as your walls?

I'm not quite sure how I will finish the window but I suppose that's a topic for another thread...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 2:51PM
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I did the bumpout as well. Counters to be installed next week. I painted the inside of the bumpout the same color as the window trim.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I recall the day our GC called in a panic (and he is not prone to panic). The electrical inspector was requiring outlets under our windows and there was not room for them. I had 4 inches between the counter and the actual window, but we needed room for window trim. Also,the wall behind the area under the window had multiple pieces of wood to support the weight of the windows. These could not be cut through for a 4 inch electrical box without compromising the strength of the wall. I did an online search and found a solution called sillights. Here's the link just in case you need it. I like the looks of your plan, laurajane

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Sorry I didn't post the links yesterday, I didn't have time at work yesterday to find them!

The thread MichelleDT linked to is the primary one I was thinking of. It has interior & exterior pictures of MamaDadaPaige and ErikaNH's windows as well as how to measure for a counter-height window.

I've also linked to Fothia's finished kitchen - it was my inspiration. However, both Fothia and I have bay windows, not straight windows like you are planning and MamaDadaPaige and ErikaNH had/have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of 99% finished Kitchen Reno (Fothia's Finished Kitchen thread)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:00PM
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@splitrock -those sill outlets are way cool and will solve the outlet issue we have been struggling with. We hate regular outlets. Perfect!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:25PM
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We just did this, too. We put in a 9' window. Our exterior wall was pretty thick, so it give us an extra 4" or so. Our contractor just trimmed the inside white to match the rest of the trim.

We also put in a regular ole outlet in the top rail of a narrow bank of cabinets next to our dishwasher.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Outlets - we used Mocketts to satisfy the outlet requirement. But, check to see if they are approved in your area if you consider them. We spoke with both our electrician and the County inspector b/f installing them, so we knew we would be OK.

They recess into the counter when not in use. About the only time I use them is at Christmas for electric candle lights. The nice thing about them is that if I only need one outlet, I just lift it high enough for the top outlet.

Mocketts up...

Mocketts down...

Mockett closeup...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Another vote for counter-height window. I got the idea for ours here and it's one of the nicest features in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Awesome, thanks for all the info! It didn't occur to me that electrical could be an issue, so it's nice to know ahead of time.

Our GC said no problem to a 6-10 inch bump out so we're going to do it!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 5:53PM
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Here is the pics of my window now and under construction We are awaiting countertop install.

I also have the Sillites. Best solution since the 24" from the sink would have been in the framing holding up the window header so no other option. This was DIY. I took pics along the way in case others had questions. I know I did and reached out to EricaNH, etc.

If you are planning on going the sillite route you need to mount them in wood. Not drywall. The screws are too short. I ran into this pitfall.

Also, if you want to use a stock window, you will either have a large header or space between an 8' ceiling and the top of the window or the window will have to sit above the counter. I mitigated this problem by buying a custom sized height and width window from Andersen. Since the counters are all based on the height of the window, you must make sure that the bottom of the window is set according to the high spot on the floor. I actually made it a tiny bit shorter as a fudge factor, since we always can shim the counter up in this spot. Can't go the other way.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 7:07PM
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I love this idea! I was just looking at my window today thinking, "In our new kitchen, this should be lower!" I am 4'11" (and a half!) and can barely see out of it!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:16PM
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I just checked with my electrician regarding receptacle placement. He said that there won't be any issues and that we can just put a receptacle on the wall on either side of our window (outside the frame). I guess in Canada, the rules surrounding this aren't as strict. At least in my area anyway.

todds ~ I really appreciate those photos! I will show them to my GC. Thank-you.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 10:29PM
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If you or your GC has any questions, just click on my name and send me an email. I don't always check the threads I have previously posted on for replies.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:08AM
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I wish I had done this - but did the new siding before the kitchen and not willing to throw away the garden window that we put in - so stuck with the garden window as is - I have seen some awesome pictures of the counter height windows and am very jealous!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:48AM
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I love the look of Buehl's -- don't know if she posted a photo here. It's a beautiful, open, refreshing feeling. Go for it!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:50AM
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I love the look of a counter-height window, and we would have done it if the cost of retrofitting windows in an old stucco house had not been prohibitive. It would have brought at least several more square feet of fenestration and light into the room, for one thing.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 12:13PM
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todds ~ Thanks, that's great to know. I think that the bump out offers a nice architectural detail on the exterior of your house.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Another fan of the counter height window. MMDDP was my inspiration, and I had the contractor and window person study her window carefully. I couldn't get exactly what she had, but I'm happy with what I have.

Measure measure measure to get the right height. Check to make sure the flooring is level and/or the cabs can be shimmed to take the difference into account. And check your countertop thickness. I was told 1 1/2", but in reality it was 1 1/8".

I trimmed the inside of the bumpout with wood, but installed the backsplash tile up and around the window. Thanks to this site for all the info people are willing to share, I got a much better kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:02PM
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puppeez, can you share a pic of how your counter height window turned out?

You are spot on about measure measure measure for the right height, and to check the countertop thickness. I told my GC that I wanted a 1/4 inch "reveal" of the window trim showing at the counter, but they did the trim before the cabinets arrived. I should have re-checked, but figured he knew what he was doing. After the countertops were in, it is in actual reality a 1/2 inch of trim above the counter.

I know that doesn't sound like much, but every time I look at it, it bothers me. Especially since:

a. I really really wanted flush, but he convinced me of the risk of water from the counter getting into the window that way), and

b. The reveal on the sides of the windows is 1/4 inch, so the bottom ends up looking "chunkier".


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Do you have to do a bump out in order to do this?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:20PM
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here ya go, the first pic is of the left side of the window that is about 1/8" low. I really don't notice it anymore.

and this is the right side that is exact.

and here it is overall, hmmm bad cell phone pics.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:34PM
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2LittleFishies - I don't think a bump out is necessary, but then you have less space behind your faucet and may be washing your window more. Some have brought up the issue of window trim and how it would look with only 3 sides of trim (4th side being the counter). With the bumpout, this isn't an issue. So, I guess it's a matter of preference and feasibility.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:59AM
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As laurajane02 said, if you don't do a bumpout the the windows will be right behind the faucet. In that case I wouldn't make them counter height but just high enough for a backsplash.

On mine above, the plan is to have the counter run right up to the trim. I ripped/installed the trim so that it was flat pieces on a all 4 sides. The wider mullions between the windows just run into the thinner trim around the windows. Then the counter should but up to the trim.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 5:13PM
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Love it.
I'm going to do this! :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:54AM
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