Beam cladding question, repost from Kitchens

wi-sailorgirlJanuary 17, 2013

I'm hoping you can help me out here. I'm just looking for opinions on whether we should trim out the drywall 'beam' in our kitchen. The topic didn't get much traction in kitchens. I did get one very nice reply with another option, which is to just trim out the bottom. She created sort of a shelf for display, but the more I think about it, the more I don't care for that idea. The main reason I am replacing the upper cabinets in our kitchen is so they go to the ceiling because I hate the dirty, greasy dust collector on top of the cabinets so I'd have a tough time creating a new dust collector.

Anyway, here's the drywall beam thing that separates the eating and working areas of the kitchen (kindly ignore kitchen clutter ... it was cleaning day).

I'm wondering if we should do something like they did with the beams in this kitchen:

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco Architect Taylor Lombardo Architects

Those beams are obviously a little shorter than what we're dealing with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to original post in kitchens

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No, I wouldn't. Like someone on the other thread said, the wall part would make it difficult. I really like your rooms the way they are. I totally understand not wanting the open space over the kitchen cabinets though.

Is your desire to dress it up, or to try to make it look less like an opening?

I've got the same thing between my kitchen and dining area and briefly considered cladding the beam, but I didn't feel it would ever really look like a beam.

You could frame out the opening, but only if it has wall on both sides. I couldn't do that either because my beam ties into another wall on one end.

I like the shelf idea, but like you I didn't want to have another dust collector that is hard to reach.

This post was edited by marti8a on Thu, Jan 17, 13 at 15:02

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Thank you so much for your reply Marti8a! Framing out the opening won't work because it goes all the way to the wall on the other side (sort of behind the cabinets). I don't really know what I was wanting to do with, to be honest. Mostly, just make it not be there, I guess! :) Since that's obviously not happening, perhaps you're right that I should just leave well enough alone.

The wall color (which is currently BM Revere Pewter, which I absolutely love) MAY change after we finish messing around with the cabinets and backsplash and if it does it will go to more of an grayish off white (linen?) color, so perhaps that would make that section of the ceiling disappear a little more.

Since I do love the current color (which is turning out sort of cool in that really lousy photo I posted) I'm going to wait until everything else is done before I make any decisions about changing it.

Thank you again!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Hi Wi-sailorgirl--I have almost the same opening as you. We trimmed it out for now.

Since you can't trim on the other side but want to dress it up a little how about a very simple narrow interior column on each side ? There are many different styles available, not all of them are very formal.

I am considering making mine an arch entryway(I love the old houses with the arch entryways) since it would not be out of place in a 1938 building.
I didn't bring the cabinets to the ceiling, my DH cleans up there. I wanted to go to the ceiling but didn't want to spend the extra money since we have no idea how long we will be here. It was either cabs to the ceiling or Soapstone, my tradeoff :) Everyone looks at the SS and never even looks up.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 10:01PM
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ERF .. ooh, I like what you did there. That would work in our kitchen for sure. You've got me thinking.

This is what it looks like from the other side of the kitchen, where you can see it goes above the hutch-type cabinet. We're putting cabinets up to the ceiling everywhere but there ... the hutch part will stay where it is.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 11:13PM
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Elraes Miller

Now that I see the other side, I wouldn't trim it out. Mine is a double door opening and trimmed, but only because I removed an old pocket door and wall it sat inside. Looks just like EatRealFood. And I still think of making this an arch too, matching the one in the living room.

I'd leave the trim off and applaud your kitchen.

Perhaps what bothers you is the wall not coming out to the edge of the hutch. The wall isn't balanced with the right looking at it in the dining room and more obvious from inside the kitchen. It would be fairly easy to put up a wall 2' wide. You have a lot of windows for light and shouldn't affect such. Then consider trim.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Oh now I understand-so forget the column idea LOL
A simple trim might make it look more finished. Buy a piece and hold it up if you don't like it return it. Of course post photos for us :)
I like the paint color-what is it ?
The paint you see there(very small hall) is BM November Rain-it really looks like a foggy rainy day and reminds me of Ireland & London.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:16AM
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OT--technicolor--I love pocket doors but they do close up space. I guess in a small space we need as much open feeling as possible. I knocked out a small coat closet that was in front of the kitchen as soon as you enter by the front door. What a difference that one change made.
If you decide to add the arch can you post it on a thread with instructions/photos ? thanks.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:34AM
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So I was looking at Houzz last night and I'm starting to suspect that more kitchens than I realized deal with this problem, it's just that no one takes photos of them.

Here's two pictures I saved showing some beam solutions where the wall is connected on one (or both) sides.

Traditional Kitchen design by Dc Metro General Contractor Harry Braswell Inc.

This one is probably an archway between rooms, but it's the same concept.

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco General Contractor Mascheroni Construction

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:01PM
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the 2nd photo-you have plenty of room to bring it a little lower and put a wide molding there. I did not bring mine(1 board) lower since I need as much openness as possible.
When I originally saw your post you threw me off with "beam cladding".
I just think of it as the (sorta)entryway, I don't even think of the beam that's there LOL. I wouldn't have removed it even if I could because I need some kind of demarcation in such a small space.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:04PM
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My answer to your question depends on how other transitions between rooms are handled in your house. In modern designs, they are often left as just drywall, as in your picture. In older homes, they would be fitted out with moldings just like a door jamb would.

Then when I saw the second picture, looking into your eating space from the kitchen, it appears that the hutch cabinet is extending past the opening between the rooms, extending into the dining area. If you trim the opening out with casing, it will look like you made an error in designing that hutch. It left the kitchen and extended into the next room. Rather than have that be suggested, I would leave the opening as it is, and pretend it is not there!

In your first photo, since we do not see the left side of the opening, it looks just like the right side of "an archway between rooms," as you called it in the photo of the traditional kitchen in San Fransisco. I think that the wall on the right side is too wide for it to feel just like a support for a header. It does feel like a real wall and gives the impression that it is an opening between two rooms.

Now that I look at it, would you consider changing the hutch cabinet so that it does end in the kitchen? I may be seeing it incorrectly with just the two pictures I have seen, but if it were my house, it would drive me nuts to see the hutch extend under the archway into the next room. JMHO and no criticism aimed at you.

Here is what I did in my last house where there was an opening between the kitchen (the photo you see below, with microwave) and a former porch, where I had raised the floor on the back one-third and had made a galley-style pantry. I only had a 45" wide platform for the pantry, so I made the landing at the top of the stairs as big as possible and that extra floorspace became the standing and walking area for a small work station that was at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the kitchen. The microwave cabinet is entirely in the kitchen, though.

Now click on my link below. Behind the microwave, see the counter? The right wall that is tiled with backsplash tiles and the wall behind the maple knick-knack shelf is the wall that supports the header you see behind the top of the microwave cabinet. There are two other knick-knack shelves in the kitchen, showing off my McCoy pot collection, so using another shelf as a transition between these two rooms made sense to us. We just kind of wrapped that side of the archway between the two rooms with cabinetry.

You could do the same in your kitchen. Have your carpenter do some surgery on the Hutch, so that it ends just before it would go under the archway into the dining area. Then have him build a shallow (we did the microwave cab 18 inches deep) hutch facing into the dining area. It will back up to the side of the hutch in the kitchen and fill the space under the archway, extending a foot or so into the dining area, just like the hutch probably does now. It can have glass doors on the top and hold glassware, then hold dishes on the bottom, maybe desert plates or a chocolate fondue pot that you use only occasionally. You won't actually lose much kitchen storage, you can carry the cabinetry here to the top of the archway in the dining area and to the ceiling in the kitchen. It will no longer look like the hutch section is trying to make a get-away, inching towards that back door! From the one angle I see in the photo, it almost looks like the hutch could be split down the middle and the one side turned 90 degrees to accomplish what I am talking about. You can probably reuse the doors, just have the carpenter cut the cabinet and add a new back, then build a case for the section that faces the dining area.

Am I the only one who is bothered by the hutch going between two rooms?

Here is a link that might be useful: How we handled a change from one room to another within one kitchen

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Thanks everyone. I love hearing these ideas! Nancy, you're not the only person who was bothered by the hutch under the beam ... it bugged me when we first bought the house. It has grown on me (I think it's the storage it provided that really grew on me) and I can honestly say no one has ever mentioned it to me, but you never know what people are biting their tongues about.

The house is old (1938) so every other transition is trimmed out, but mostly it's just doorways (whether there are doors there or not). I think that's what made me start thinking about doing something to it in the first place, because it is the only transition area that is just drywall. But your point about making the hutch look (more?) out of place by trimming out that beam is well taken.

I like what you did in your case, but I don't think it would work for us because the beam is actually to the right of center of the hutch and I'm not willing to sacrifice a lot of storage. I'm attaching a photo of the hutch straight on so you can get a better feel for it.

As it turns out, it is only a few hundred dollars more to have the cabinet maker redo all the cabinets (vs. refacing lowers and new uppers) so we are doing the whole thing. So we have latitude to do whatever we want with the reconfiguring things, although honestly I wasn't planning on changing the basic layout at all.

Out of curiosity do you think it would be better to run crown all the way up to the beam? I wasn't really planning on doing that but maybe that's an improvement.

After reading all these thoughtful replies (thank you again) I'm thinking we'd be best to just leave it alone until the cabinets, etc. are finished and then reassess but keep weighing in please!

This post was edited by wi-sailorgirl on Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 0:20

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:17AM
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And P.S. Nancy in Michigan: I'm thoroughly jealous of your paw washing station!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:23AM
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Elraes Miller

If you are now deciding to redo the entire kitchen and really want the hutch, then use a smaller example of the hutch behind the beam. If not, there is enough room in the dining area to extend the decor. Build a storage bench with cushion below the windows and add a tall coat bench. Both matching the style of kitchen cabinets across the entire dining window wall. This may take your attention away from the beam.

As you mentioned, taking the trim up to the ceiling and across the beam may help a bit. But the beam is still going to be there and may draw even more attention. I now understand why you wanted to "clad" the beam.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:39AM
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Excellent suggestion, technicolor, and one I would be very inclined to explore were it not for the fact that under that window is the dog feeding area, which is kind of a big deal when you've got two Newfoundlands running around. You don't like my homemade coat area made from a champagne box? Just kidding, I know it's a little crafty. And I think you're right that extending cabinetry over may help the beam situation. And I could just swap out some kind of semi built in dog feeding area for the window seat in your idea.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 8:29AM
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See, in this picture, the beam looks like a beam and the hutch does not look like it is trying to sneak out of the kitchen and out the back door! That opening between the two rooms is very tricky. It has "doorway" written all over it on the right side, and "beam" written all over it on the left. I, too, can see now why you wanted to treat it as a beam and cover it. Alas, you can't, the right side with its little wall keeps it from looking like a beam.

If you get to reorder all the cabinets, I think I would consider ending the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen and getting other cabinets for the room where you feed the dogs.

Thanks for the compliment on the paw-washing station, I bet your Newfies can really track in the dirt with their hairy, webbed feet! We had a smallish back yard that contained one black walnut tree that brought a lot of squirrels to visit us. Between the grass not wanting to grow under the walnut tree and the ground being churned up by three dogs stalking the squirrels, it was a muddy mess back there. I invented the paw-washing-station out of self-defense. Jim, my contractor, figured out how to make my design happen. The plumbing is all in the cabinetry of the window seat boxes that go under the windows and over to the kitchen area that sits at the higher level. It was a lifesaver at that house.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 1:24AM
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