Counter in Front of Windows

LauraedsJuly 29, 2014

As a follow up to my garage-to-kitchen reno ( I wanted to share some pictures of the countertop in front of windows.

I know this is a problem for lots of folks in old homes, and I was boggled about what to do... Cut a deeper countertop into the empty window wells? Fit some sort of holder/planter into them? Eliminate the cabinets and do open shelves? Our window well is about 6" deep.

At the end of the day, we just ran the counter straight in front of the windows. We finished the back edge of the quartzite, and painted the back of those particular cabinets.

Here's a close-up view from the outside. So far, I've not lost anything off the back of the counter, into the window well. And I think it should be pretty easy to clean the well from the outside.

Since we have a pretty tree in between the windows, I don't think the focus really goes to the windows/counters, and if it does, I think they just look like furniture pushed up against them.

I'd love to see pictures of what other people have done in similar situations � there wasn't a lot out there when I was trying to make decisions. Please share!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garage to Kitchen Reno

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Oh my. I'd have found another way. Building something over a window would make my OCD go haywire.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:25PM
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It's a little quirky, but I think it is ok because of the fact that it was a garage and you made it work. I like things that are a little different. It lends to the history of the project and the windows are still useful because of the deep window well. I don't think it would have worked as well with shallower windows.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Because I live in an area with a lot of antique houses, I've seen this sort of solution before.

I think it is often a better solution than altering the windows (which wouldn't be allowed here) or losing counterspace.

You may want to try painting the back of the cabinets in a grey color to allow the white muntins on the windows to stand out. It will look a bit less like there is something right behind them.

This is a great kitchen by the way, I was admiring it in the other thread.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:50PM
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It totally works and is probably the best option to obtain that gorgeous kitchen, but it's tripping out my ocd as well. (why did you show us!!!!! ;) ) I would have to put some nice full flower boxes or something.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:58PM
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I agree with painting the back of the cabinet a dark flat charcoal.
Then at least from the outside, no one is the wiser to your clever fix ;)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:48PM
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It's not the front of your home-looks like a side view? I think you made the right decision. I love those windows in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:52PM
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Interesting thoughts, everyone. Thanks for the input.

It is the front of the house, but the farthest end of the house (old attached garage). Altering the windows wasn't an option for us, as these two windows are just a small part of the whole house facade.

You know, I'm a little OCD too, but it surprisingly hasn't bothered me. But now that I think back, I do remember a conversation about "blacking out" the back of the cabinets or windowsâ¦. one of those conversations that fell to the wayside in light of other more pressing issues. Perhaps I'll mock it up with some cardboard or paper and see how I like it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:01AM
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You just made my head spin.

I have the same delema in my kitchen and thought to close up the window. Thsi actually doesn't look so bad and you have the natural light! In my case I would gain natural light by taking a wall down. Not sure what to do.

My window backs up to my neighbors driveway and I look at their kitchen window, not a great view so not worth missing.

My issue then becomes the cost in removing window and refinishing exterior, ugh.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Kitchen Plan

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:27AM
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nevik1977, I peeked at your plan -- closing up the window does seem like a do-able idea, but refinishing the exterior is so painful sometimes. For what it's worth, the natural light is worth it to me!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:34AM
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I always advocate for the most easily reversed solution to existing building fabric and you've done that here.

Nothing would be worse than altering your fenestration and having the homeowners a hundred years from now when countertops are obsolete smacking their foreheads and wondering what you were thinking.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Thanks for taking a look Lauraeds.

I might need to shift the stove over and see how that makes cabinet sense. Storage is at a premium but at what cost. It looks like the white cabinets and counter helps you get away with it too. Which is the same color palette in my mind as well. hmmm.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Here's a couple progress pics of my solution:

They're supposed to finish the bulk of the rest of the cabinet install today. We'll get counters next week.

I was regretting that I went with the KD's cabinet height recommendation for these. I was wishing that I had made them 3" taller, but these could be one of my favorite things in my kitchen. Or maybe better said they're one of the things I thought I'd hate but I surprisingly love. The staggered counter height looks really nice. It makes it just a wee-bit more open because of the lower cabinet.

The cabinets are 21" tall plus toe kick, so a total of 25.5" before counters. I think the lower lip of my window ledge is 30.5" We'll have 2cm granite and 3/4" plywood (not 5/8" because of frameless cabinets...learned that yesterday). So we'll be just over 27". So I could have squeezed that extra 3" in there, but it would have been tight. This way, I'll still see some of the wall between the counter and window sill bottom. I will still be able to get in there and re-paint when necessary. I wouldn't have ever thought of that until I was just painting.

Someone suggested that it's nice, if you're not tall, to have your KA mixer at a lower height to be able to see in. I'm picturing mine in one of the corners of that counter.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:49AM
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Thank you Cal Quail.

I have the same problem but also have appliances to cram in my space as well.

Saving the window for me will create a domino effect, which stinks. Part of my issue is how close my window is to the wall (9.5") which makes for a difficult cabinet choice.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Kitchen Plan

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:14AM
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cal_quail, I love that solution - I think it's perfect for your space.

I'd contemplated that, but mine would've been so low, they'd have been like benches. Which just doesn't work next to the stove :-)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Congratulations on a beautiful kitchen!

As far as cabinet backs being visible from the outside...
another solution could be to install top down bottom up
white cellular shades. You could keep them lowered to
the point of hiding the cabinet/counter without blocking light
and very little view. I also like the idea of painting the backs
a very dark gray or soft black.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:30AM
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I also ran a couple of drawer bases across a window. The room has 5 windows, all two feet from the floor. We considered blocking (from the interior, the exterior window would still be there per the historic district rules) a north facing window. With more cash than we were willing to spend, we might have rerouted the basement stairs, giving us a galley arrangement with a long island in front of the windows.

This was the most cost effective. We added matching trim around the window that was cut off - it was either never there or removed at some point.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:56AM
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Back in the early 90's I did a kitchen for a client that had an old 1800's home. Reworking the brick exterior was NOT an option due to the expense of the work...and they also wanted to keep the historic integrity of the exterior. Plu, there were SO many doorways and windows in their kitchen, we had no choice but to go across the window.

But here was my solution. I pulled the base cabinets out 6"-8" away from the wall to create a bigger window well. I can't recall exactly how much. They went with Corian countertops, so the top shop fabricated a floor and sides to the well. She kept potted flowers in this space and it was really cute. Plus she got EXTRA DEEP countertops as a bonus!

This was actually an idea I got off of an episode of This Old House!

The homeowners thought I was a genius! :-)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:43PM
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    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:17PM
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