working around tall windows

shadygroveMay 8, 2013

I'm trying to plan a remodel, moving the kitchen from its current location into an existing room that has deep windows. These windows are five feet tall and extend to 22" from the floor. I would like to take advantage of the views I have from the windows when I'm standing at the sink/prepping.

Has anyone ever seen or planned a kitchen around windows like this? What is puzzling me is how to abut counters to such a deep window. One could build the sill out and have a nice deep space to put plants, but, oy! how to clean such an area?

Anyway, anybody seen an attractive kitchen with this feature? Am I relegated to window seats? Thanks for the thoughts!

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I have seen the counter run across at normal height with a space underneath with cabinets then installed only up to the sill height. This creates a shelf across the window (counter) and then another shelf at sill height on top of the lower cabinet.

I have seen cabinets installed right across in front creating a well which things get knocked down into and that need to be cleaned out.

I have seen the sill heights of the windows raised from 22" to 36" to accommodate the counters which requires exterior remodeling to some extent.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:10AM
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I'm getting to a final plan for a kitchen with that issue -- 3 such windows in the kitchen work area, 2 in the dining area, plus 3 or 4 doorways, depending on how you want to count one former exterior doorway that was converted to a pantry at one point. I'm putting the range between two of the windows, with a unfitted cabinet on one side certainly, with shelves as palimpsest describes. They other side might be fixed, with a counter running across the window.

All of those solutions plus blocking a window from the inside (shutters, then drywall) are pretty common in my neighborhood which has lots of houses with tall windows. I eliminated shortening the windows because it would have to go through historic district clearance and would mean trying to find enough old brick to match.

Pictures I've seen here, on Houzz, and checking out real estate listings in the neighborhood to see what folks have done usually show leaving windows standing on their own, building in window seats, or running counters across.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Thanks. Alas, no poster with a "Yes, I did this and its fantastic and the best thing to happen to kitchen design!"

I have seen a photo of the sort of thing described in the first comment--you may have posted it Palimpsest--and I thought it awkward. Still...its adaptive re-use.... Will be interested in how you like yours, Chesters House.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Sombriel Mongrel did a nice job of it in his kitchen. I haven't seen him here in a while but I think he has been on the Old House forum recently. He has posted lots of pictures over the years.

I took a little different approach and created 2 parallel islands parallel to the window wall with stools on the window side. I am looking out the window when I am at the prep sink.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:27PM
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We had a window like that in our old kitchen - it actually went closer to the floor than yours.

I decided to rip it out, brick it up a bit and install a shorter window so we could wrap the counters around in a full U. The counter space was more important than the tall window in our case (10 x 14 kitchen).

Ours was in an odd spot - right in the corner. Before, the old cabinets simply stopped, with angled cabinets angling in towards the window area. I don't like angled cabinets in the first place, so the window simply had to be changed and that new section of counter is our primary work space now.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:36PM
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My name is mentioned, and I appear.
This was going to be a window seat, but it was suggested (in this forum) and seconded that it would be rather close by the range, and that having seating where the natural prep area should be was a waste, so I opted to build a prep sink around the tall window. I was a lot of customizing (the cabinet below is a 18" tall, 24 deep upper with a site-fabricated base) and a bump-out to be able to keep the window casings and sill.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Casey, you have another picture taken from enough distance that shows the most of the window and the prep sink in context with adjoining cabinets. I don't remember seeing the last pic you posted - nice detail.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:18PM
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    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:02AM
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A couple years ago, a woman posted about the difficulty of working numerous tall windows and doors in the kitchen of her 1850 Colonial.

Months later, she posted the results. They are spectacular and demonstrate great ingenuity in the service of preserving windows to die for.

Here is a link that might be useful: AnneNJ's 1850 Colonial

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:34PM
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The fantastic options illustrated aren't the only ones either. How about posting a floor plan and pictures?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:08PM
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