Cabinet arrangement - Can you help?

mtpam2June 2, 2013

We have been working on our kitchen layout for a couple years. Just couldn't decide what to do with the fridge placement, and trying to DIY which wasn't moving along at all. During my last post in January linked below, I had planned to put the fridge on the stove wall.

Former Discussion

We were finally able to get a contractor hired and had to make decisions regarding electrical placement to take advantage of when he could fit us in. At the last minute I decided I just didn't want to feel closed in by the fridge at the stove and the LR entryway, so moved the fridge to the bottom wall. All electrical was finished, ceiling and walls were textured and we discovered we couldn't do a range hood vent to the outside through our roof. (Flat roof, corrigated metal, too much snow in winter and no one who knew how to handle it.) Now to get my range hood vented, we will take it to the ceiling and then do a 90 degree converting from a 6" to a 3.25 x 10" which will run above our cabinets straight out through the upper exterior wall ( in the top right). My ceilings are 101", so will use 42" uppers and then run molding above that to hide the pipes and take everything to the ceiling.

Below is a proposed layout that we are considering. I am unsure about the upper and lower cabinet layout and could use your input.

Would you leave the 2 18" base drawer cabinets in the upper left, or would you convert that to a 36" drawer base?

This is the wall I am most concerned about. What do you think about the uppers and lowers here? My planner wanted to keep the uppers and lowers the same, which is why she put in the 12" uppers on both the right and left of the stove. It seems a little off to me.

In this picture, the stove is located at 72" from the top corner. My electrical placement for the stove and wiring for the hood allows me to place the stove between 66 and 72 inches. I thought it made the most sense to place more distance between the stove and the sink corner. I would have like to go 69", but this cabinet line (American Woodmark or Shenandoah) doesn't have a 33" drawer base. However, maybe there is a better arrangement? I do have a 12" tray cabinet to the right of the stove, but it could go to the left if that helped.

I liked the idea of a glass cabinet, so they put one in, but not sure it looks right. Also, I am strongly considering putting a 36" Under cabinet hood in instead of a 30".

Besides the arrangement, I am also worried about the room looking too crowded or dark. We are considering using Cherry spice (a brownish color). This is what my husband wants, but I am afraid it will be too dark. We had a white kitchen for 19 years, and I liked it, so I would have been happy to go with white again.

On the fridge wall I only have 56 inches between bathroom doorway and passageway to basement. I am putting a 12" deep, 24" wide pantry by the fridge with doors opening away. Those are fake doors on the fridge side.

Does anyone have any input on the arrangement of the cabinets, especially on that stove wall?

Thanks so much for any input. I need to get cabinets ordered soon.

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I don't have much imput but I would add more glass door inserts. I would like the kind that have a pattern so you can't see through them completely and add lighting in them to brighten the dark cabinets.
If you don't want to add more I would remove the 2 you have.

I would leave the 2 smaller drawer stacks since you have other large drawers on the other wall near stove.

Seems that you have several narrow cabinets and I'm not sure they will be that useful.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:04AM
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MTPam, I also "had" to place the refrigerator, not in the technically most efficient position but elsewhere so its mass wouldn't loom over me at work, fill up the middle of the room and, in my case, separate the work and social/dining areas. Just had to be done.

If it were mine, I would eplace the two 18"ers with one 36. You gain space and flexibility that way.

I'm often arguing for moving the stove almost anywhere if it'll get a larger workspace alongside. In your case, it seems as if you already have a pretty good one. Four feet to the left, right? Another four or almost to the sink? That's generous and not too far from the sink, which is also a big part of the prep area. In this case, I actually like that that you have enough room to the right of the stove for a second work area.

Regarding the appearance of your stove wall, I agree that a feature glass cabinet out there on the end does seem off since it's going to drag attention that way. I'd fix it, but it also seems to me that the sink wall is the one where appearance is really going to matter since all entries face that. Conversely, the stove wall will mostly be seen from close up, sitting down, etc., which means it can get away with irregularities that just won't be as noticeable. Most of the kitchens posted here have some, but we're all busy looking at finishes, etc., and don't notice them.

This isn't my strong point, but have you tried 2 glass cabinets flanking the stove, or would that be too much content volume on view? Whatever, putting the 12-incher on the end and the glass cabinet to its left, then doing the same on the left of the stove but in reverse, would make more visual sense, including explaining the presence of the 12-inchers on the left if you stay with those. It would also create a feature of this wall and even make it feel a bit more open.

Dark? It's going to make it feel wonderfully cozy and inviting at night, that's for sure. For those whose breakfast is eaten on the run before the sun's hardly up, are gone all day, and eat a lot of meals after dark, that'd be a very nice thing. Relatively dark rooms also enhance daylight views outside.

If you try to fight the darkness in the typical manner by using contrasting light surfaces, that's going to busy it up somewhat right there before you even cover the counters with your work. Contrast is dynamic, not quiet, and light surfaces will tend to advance. Since I'm guessing that like most people you're unlikely to embrace the darkness and are going to want to bring in light surfaces--and with them strong contrast--to me a real question is how you feel about contrast as a primary design element.

Go look at all those favorite pictures you've hopefully printed and torn out. Where is the contrast, how much and how strong? For instance, I'm a low-contrast person. The only situation in which I like a large area of large contrast is a dark floor with an otherwise wonderfully light room with very, very little contrast, I'd only do dark cabinets if I were doing a richly dark room (low contrast). That's me. What's you?

Regarding clutter, although I'm a light kitchen person myself, I have to admit that light surfaces tend to set off all the stuff set on and against them in a way that dark do not.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Single drawers with dividers or bins.

Uppers and lowers need not, usually should not align. Balance, proportion and access come first.

Lose ALL the 12" cabinets, use a blind wall and moving range closer, will still have greater accessible storage, look and work better. Make base tray storage wider will also fit fry pans.
Wider hood, flanked with 21 or 18 cabs.

Glass is best symmetric.

Be sure to resolve details for backsplash, window, UC molding now Do something about the void over window.
If available and in budget consider some split doors with glass in top, side of window and range. Will break up mass and lighten things.

Forgot-are you using a CD fridge? Cabinet on side should be depth of fridge box plus air flow. At least get a 1" filler there.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 12:42

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Just to clarify, that is a 24" Easy Reach corner wall cabinet which creates the first set of 12" upper doors. It doesn't come in any other size. I hadn't considered a different type of corner wall cabinet as I thought the Easy Reach would be the most accessible. I'll have to revisit that.

Thanks so much for the input! I am on my way out the door but will respond in more detail when I get home. Keep the suggestions coming!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Have a few minutes while I am waiting for my ride so thought I'd respond to a few things.

We have added can lights to the kitchen, will have a fan light over our table, and have wired for UCL, although may not get that put in right away. I also planned for a pendant light above the sink. I am not sure how to finish off above the sink. I thought putting a valance or a shelf up there would help, but am told that valances are "Out" and that I don't need anything. It does seem pretty bare to me. Thanks for mentioning that jakuvall. I would like input on that as well.

The fridge is standard depth, not CD. I hope to replace it with a CD, but that might be a few years away. So would you make the enclosure deeper for now or leave it as a 24" ?

It seems like you all agree that the Glass cabinets just don't look good as designed. I did do frosted glass, but not sure how much you can see through that, so don't know if I would want them flanking the hood or not. The planner didn't think they would look good on the window wall, and I don't know how to do that there anyway with the stupid microwave cabinet. So I probably will scrap the glass doors.

Speaking of the microwave, I did have it wired both in the corner it is shown, and at the end of the stove run (where the glass cabinet is shown). I was trying to figure out where to put things and couldn't decide so had them wire both spots on separate circuits. I thought it would be handier to have it over by the stove and fridge, but since the cabinet is 18" deep and 27" wide, I am not sure it would leave me enough room between the stove hood and the microwave cabinet. I was afraid I would be bumping my head on it all the time. It would only leave me a 15" or 18" cabinet by the stove. What do you think?

Well got to go. Will respond to the rest of the suggestions later. Thanks again for your valuable input miss kenda, rosie and jakuvall!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Miss kenda - Thanks for your input on the glass doors. I could go with a 36" drawer base in the upper left corner, but use a split top drawer. Do you think that might help? And you are right, all those small cabinets probably aren't the best use of space!

Rosie - Thanks for weighing in again. I am going to have to rethink that stove wall, especially the uppers. You are right, that won't be seen from a distance like the sink wall will be. Do you think the sink wall looks okay, or is there something that should be done with it?

You've given me some very interesting things to ponder regarding the dark cabinets versus the white cabinets. And the contrast versus the quiet look. I consider myself "decoratively challenged" and have no personal sense of style or what looks right. And visualization is difficult for me. I need to see it in real life. I would automatically have put light counter tops and floors in to counter-act the "darkness" of the cherry cabinets. I am going to take your suggestions and go look at kitchens and see whether I like contrast or not. Especially dark kitchens, as most of the photos I am drawn to are of white kitchens, or kitchens painted in other colors.

What about a 2-toned kitchen? I thought maybe we could use the dark cherry on the bases and white or cream uppers. It seems like it takes a special skill to pull that look off, and I am not sure I could do it. Was thinking it might be a compromise for my husband and myself, although he isn't keen on it.

Anyway, you have given me a lot to think about. Thanks, Rosie.

Jakuvall - Thanks for your input and all your suggestions. I wish I could do the split doors with glass on top, but it's not in the budget - and not in the AW or Shenandoah lines. I am trying to find other options, like Barker or Conestoga, but not sure I have the ability to put it all together on my own.

I will rework the stove wall without 12" cabinets, and put in the wider hood and see where that leaves me. I don't really want stiles in my doors, so need to keep them 36" wide or under. If I decide to go with a 15" tray cabinet, could I put it on the upper sink wall next to the trash instead of that 15" drawer cabinet?

Thanks for the information on alignment and other suggestions. I will probably just do a painted back splash for now. I would like to use some kind of tile, but it will probably have to wait. I am going to look at what a blind wall corner cabinet will do for my uppers per your suggestion.

Thanks again to everyone.I really appreciate your time and input. Does any one else want to weigh in?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Quickie with a few ideas for you (needed a distraction :)- there are plenty of variations which I won't get into.

I am not suggesting this as is, would not likely do the two walls together as shown.

In that brand I'd avoid 36" drawer bases so change my opinion on that end cabinet.
Put in stacked uppers that can be done in that line, I understand there is a budge issue- had more at first.
Resolve long term plan around window- may preclude UC molding- could put $$ toward glass.
On range wall, whatever you end up with there has to be a splice for molding, might as well design it in rather than just have one somewhere. Few ways to do it. A panel at top is easiest, could have a flat valance with a shorter wall cab to give it meat, could bump the cabinet - hood gets tricky, Do not bump the two side cabinets or doors of the 30"s won't open properly.

No context in original plan so can't tell. I made the range run longer- if that is not a door to the right and the opening goes to the ceiling you have to shorten it again for the top molding to clear.

Back to real work. now.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 12:03

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:55AM
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I don't understand jakuval's comment about not doing a 36" drawer base "in that brand". I have a 36" three drawer base in Shenandoah. Can you explain?

I would do the 36" base, why divide the top drawer?

I might have missed this but what is the door base to the right of the sink?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Not knowing what is going where, I feel that in the long term it is better to be conservative with loads with the Hettich glides. Make it a 4 drawer and I might feel different.
Just my experience and doesn't really hurt here.
Original design has a trash po right of sink, swapped it with drawers, either way.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 16:00

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Jakuvall - Thanks so much for the layout and suggestions. It definitely looks more balanced and is giving me some different options to consider. I also appreciate your opinions on the 36" drawer cabinets and Hettich glides. I will try to finalize where I planned on putting everything before I decide on that drawer base size.

I also appreciate the visuals - especially with the glass cabinets. I am not sure that I like the looks of the 2 large glass doors by the range. That's good to know. I do like the looks of the stacked cabinets with the glass by the sink. I never would have thought of that option.

I thought I would do a hanging pendant over the sink, but wasn't sure how low to hang it or how big to make it. I like what you did and how it "fills" the space above the window along with the upper crown you added. I will definitely add the crown.

I wonder how the blind corner works for storing things. Maybe just ignore the 12" hidden area and concentrate on the rest of the cabinet for storage? I need to go see one somewhere. I can see it really helps with the sizes of the other cabinets.

That is a doorway to my living room at the end of the stove run. No molding as it has rounded corners. Anyway, thanks again for all the input. It really helps me see outside the "box" of the box store layouts.

Debrak2008 - Thanks for your opinion based on your personal experience with your 36" drawer cabinet from Shenandoah. I thought doing 2 separate drawers on the top of a 36" looked good, but you are right, I guess I don't really gain anything do I? Thanks for reminding me that function is more important.

I appreciate all the comments and opinions. Looks like I need to keep working on my cabinet arrangements.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:09PM
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