Backsplash Heights

Samantha111August 6, 2011

I'd love some input on my backsplash and cabinet heights. Without repeating it all, here is a link to another thread:

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread on K&B

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I'm starting here based on my experiences with low clearances.

I hate having the coffee pot steam up the cabs, and don't like my tea and sugar and creamer, in the cabs above, getting all steamed up.

If the clearance is low, I'm all for having the 12-13" deep cabs, so you have more clear space in front of the cabs.
It does not feel like you are working in a cave. I also hate to have to pull everything forward, like the blender as you stated in the other thread, to access them.

Where will you be locating your undercabinet lighting? I really depend on some sort of lighting which is not all over the whole kitchen.

And I was thinking by "backsplash heights," that you meant how high you would run the backsplash from counter top to....where. If you have low clearance, I'd put the backsplash all the way up to the bottom of the cabs. I know when we redo our kitchen in the next year, I plan on having only two open upper cabs, like the dowel dish racks so popular in the old English kitchens. Nowhere else in the kitchen, except for one of these on either side of the sink. Our kitchen will be small, but I can well do without the upper cabs, if I use open shelving on the cooking side of the planned galley style kitchen. Most everything else will be in the floor/ceiling tall cabs (i.e.pantry style) on either side of the fridge. And in the cabs flanking both ends of a new windowseat. I've come to realize that there is not much useful storage above the reach of my extended arm, and visually I like the open feel of pretty stuff where no one can bother it. So if you have any high up cabs, I'd think putting a glass front up there would be the best place for pretty display stuff, and have a light in those cabs which could be dimmed and give a whole lot of soft illumination for the whole room.

Pretty mixed up here, but I'm still recovering from a long road trip. Glad to have you bring your question here, so you must have a small kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Hi Mocassin, yes it's quite small and simple. I really like the sounds of your kitchen plans. Very functional with a lot of charm and atmosphere. I really love the older small homes though they certainly come with some space and storage problems. I wish this place were old, quaint and quirky but it's just small! Is yours an older home?

I saw some really great undercab lighting in a showroom the other day (Seagull Ambiance). Cylindrical bulbs placed along the front edge, no light bar. They were not visible like the disks can be and had such a nice warm light. The current overheads here aren't sufficient really. I can keep them as is by adding those. It was very encouraging. They look like they'd work well.

Those pantry closets are great. I wish there were room in this kitchen but I'm lucky to have a closet right off of it which with some added shelves and reorganizing should make a nice pantry. It's so close that I don't think it will be inconvenient for extra stock, pots, pans, small appliances that aren't used frequently. It wouldn't be different than walking across a larger kitchen.

I would love to work some glass doors in. They add so much and make things seem more open. Adding a dimmer would really create some evening atmosphere! That is right up my alley.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and plans.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:54PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, Samantha111, I have a vintage cabinet in my kitchen--the bottom of the upper is only 14" from the counter, and the upper cabinets are only 10" deep. I don't mind the 14", but I don't have any appliances on that side. We often use that counter for a buffet--a crockpot fits with no problem.

There was an 11" gap between the end of the cabinet run and the wall, so I put several open shelves there, for cookbooks. Knowing I would be using that counter for baking, I mounted the bottom shelf at 20.5", to accommodate the tilt of my KA stand mixer. 19" would have been sufficient, but 20.5 happened to line up with a shelf in the cabinet. No under-cabinet lighting yet.

On the other side of the kitchen are standard 12" deep, 30" tall kitchen cabinets, under a 9" soffit--no trim or crown molding at the top of the cabinet. Can you add your trim and/or molding to the soffit, instead of the cabinets, so that you can have the tallest cabinets possible?

Your pantry sounds great for storing your appliances and extra pans. I hope you can use a few glass doors--I have some, now, and love them!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Hi mamagoose, thanks for your input. Apparently the 18" is what's recommended by appliance manufacturers (essentially code here) for the clearance of adjacent cabinets to standard ranges. I would prefer to meet the standard but KDs have reassured not to worry about the small difference and that going to a 27" would be crazy for an inch or so. It won't matter. Their splashes often end up at 17" with the light bars and they aren't concerned about it.

I would love glass doors. With so little cabinetry, I have to come to terms with limiting the cabinet to tidy attractive items versus food supplies or whatever else needed stashing (and there is always a lot!). It would definitely add a lot to my kitchen. I guess I could always add fabric to the doors if it were a problem.

Where are your glass doors located? At a primary work area? What do you keep behind them? Do you have a good amount of other cabinetry?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 9:37AM
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Samantha, there are many options for the glass doors, including adding fabric. One is to put the frosted film inside the glass, or even to choose the kind of glass that is ribbed to obscure the contents behind the doors. Or maybe a scrambled glass pattern....cannot say what they call it, but I'm sure the KD will know many options suitable for your kitchen style.

In my kitchen plans, I will have NO cabs on the wall with the gas range. I will have a hood, and flanking it will be a couple of open shelves with either brackets holding them up, or maybe the floating shelf concept. I've used that to great effect in the bedroom beneath a wall mounted TV (the floating shelf holds the cable box and the DVD and hides the electrical plugs too). And, of course I will also have some metal bars like towel bars to hold my cooking utinsels like tongs, slotted spoons,etc. I will have stainless steel for a counter top on the cooking side of my galley kitchen. Or so that is my plan. A raised eating bar at the dining room end of the kitchen, will shield this area from the more polite areas where we socialize. But I'm not too concerned about HIDING anything in the kitchen, because it is what it is, and I'll be very proud to have a kitchen that functions properly and has places for what we like.

I wish to comment on using glass doors in a small kitchen especially. Even a pair of glass fronted doors will help you out. I'd choose them to be located away from the range though, since that makes condensation with greasy steam hard to clean off the doors. In our little cape up north, I'm wanting to replace two of the solid upper cab doors adjacent to the fridge with glass. That is where we store the colorful plates and bowls, and the area is visible from the back door, sort of giving a larger feeling to this small kitchen. It is a U-shaped room which is quite small, and the fridge extends one finger of the U out longer. It is top and bottom solid fronted cabinet doors. All white. White knobs. Mottled gray/black/white granite tile floors, and Stellar Snow Silestone counter tops. The Stellar Snow is a fantastic surface, naturally antimicrobial, does not show anything on it, always looks clean.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Good point about where the cooking takes place! The place I most wanted them is, in fact, the cabinet next to the range over the main prep area, which is what you see when you come in, more open as you work, and would really lighten/open up the place and add a lot of atmosphere. It's also a good storage cab at 36" wide. Lots to be able to pack in if not needing to be very pretty. I could also do something over the sink. The only place I'm comfortable with fabric looking just fine and not off overall, should it become a problem, is over the breakfast bar. That might be my best bet. If it gets a little messy, it's not highly visible. I like clear glass and do like the wavy form, for some cover, but it's pricey.

The practical side of things really takes the wind out of your sails! I much prefer to dream, I think. I know I should listen to my own common sense but people seem to do these types of things and manage to get things to work out well.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 2:19PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Lol, Samantha, asking me those questions this week is like asking a proud grandma about her grandchildren. I'll just whip out the family photo album. My latest two projects both involved glass doors--scroll backwards, captions on the right side.

Disclaimer: The vintage cabinets are what they are--shallow, only 14" above counter, huge corbels taking up counter space, fixed shelves, and muntins that don't line up with the shelves, but I love them!

I'm keeping a few upper cabinets that were built on-site by the PO in the early 1980's, solid doors, mostly storage for dishes in daily use. The one to the left of the stove holds boxes of cereal and pasta.

I re-used a short cabinet above the fridge enclosure--glass front for display items since it's up high. There are two narrow upper cabinets of old-fashioned rounded open shelves, for display and cookbooks. I'm still undecided about a 15" space and an 18" space on either side of the fridge enclosure--solid doors and/or open shelves.

There is also a shallow 'between the studs' pantry for cans only.

For a small kitchen, I guess I have a lot of cabinets, but I have a lot of junk!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 9:56PM
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