Corner cabinet mess, advice please

zartemisAugust 23, 2011

As windows and framing go in on our remodel we find fresh problems. So, I'm seeking opinions and perhaps fresh ideas about a corner wall cabinet issue.

Because our kitchen is small and has few upper cabinets, we had hoped to make them 15 or 16 inches deep (there are other counters without upper cabs at all).

Turns out that the stove requires adjacent cabinets (out to 12 inches beside the stove) be no more than 13 inches deep. So we couldn't do this:

Since the cabinets to the right of the stove would be too deep.

If we made them the standard 12" then, besides losing storage, the cabinets surrounding the window on the side wall would no longer be symmetric to the window unless we shortened up that run of cabinets as well. Like so:

Solution 1: just make the front cabs standard depth and live with the non-symmetric window (who will notice anyway?):

Solution 2: Make the front cabs 12" deep, shorten up the run on the other wall and just live with less cabinet space and a foot of wall on either side of the window doing nothing (other than make us wish we ordered a bigger window)

Solution 3: put a standard diagonal cab in the corner. 22 by 22 inches (can't go much wider, otherwise we run into window trim). I don't like these -- little door, hard to access. But may be best compromise and looks normalish.

layout would be:

View would look like:

Solution 4:

Get weirder. Do staggered cabs (2 levels or 3). The front wall is non-symmetric anyway. First cab gets us out past the no-combustibles zone and is also just wide enough to fit our cooks favorite spice trays that he likes to have by the stove. Since the last cab is back in the corner, I upped the depth to 18" and even added additional upper cabs to the right of the window so this buys additional upper cab space.

plan with 3 levels of cabs:


Cabs are custom, will be shaker front, mini-frame (which has a frameless look, but actually has a face frame as wide as the cab walls are thick. Cab divisions aren't set yet, so they are somewhat random in the above pics. Side window is in so is now permanent. 8' ceilings. There will be a simple crown molding (angular).

Your thoughts? Other ideas?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like solution #1. No one will notice the different depths because they face different directions.

I'd also consider a tapered 12" set of shelves next to the stove instead of a cab (maybe with a rounded corner on the stove side?). You could make them narrower than your current plan and widen the middle cab (6" narrower for the shelves?). Perhaps, if you went with stainless shelving, there'd be no issue being near the stove for code purposes. We have some chrome "train" shelves for our new kitchen and you can find stainless options like those and/or try a restaurant supply place. is a good place to start. We got our stainless micro shelf from them.

The staggered cabs would be my second choice of the options you posted....

BTW - the worst option is the corner cab to nowhere, IMHO. A corner cab is impractical functionally and would look odd without a cab on each side of it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks dianalo. I do like the simplicity and ease of use of a straight run without a diagonal cabinet of any kind.

Just to clarify: the non-symmetry I was worried about was not cabinet depth, but how much wall is on either side of the window before hitting cabinet. Prior to learning about the stove issue, we were going to have 8" of wall between cabinets and the window rough opening on either side. When I shorten the front cabinets to 12", that makes the wall space to the left of the window 12" (leaving the right side 8" unless I shorten (not change depth) of the side wall cabinets (making them 4" less wide). And although it's only 4", I don't really like that much wall around the window. 8" was already pushing it for me.

Since you didn't notice perhaps it really isn't an issue. Especially since this is otherwise a non-symmetric kitchen.

FYI, our cook is suggesting that we do angled cabinets (assuming our cabinet maker will do them). Something like this, but maybe with a longer straight run before the angle starts:

I'm not sure what to make of that idea. If nothing else, the odd ideas may make us happier to live with the expanse of 'useless' wall around the window that comes with the simpler solutions.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not getting why the cabinets next to the stove would be "too deep" at 15" deep. If it's a matter of clearance around the stove, just make the one next to the range 3" less wide and that should do it. You don't have an issue with the door opening against the range since it swings the other way, so why exactly "can't" you have what you want here?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 3:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know if you like this idea or not bc we opted for fewer uppers and I hate the corners! :) But, we have similar corner layout so thought I'd share what we are doing...

So, there's a corner wall we created to even out the sink wall, and then are doing a custom spice cabinet to the right of the range.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After looking at your pics again, I don't know if you have enough space to the left of your sink to do the corner wall plus a cabinet? So, maybe my idea doesn't help you at all...sorry!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd have more issue with the walls spaces being a different size if they were closer and looked like they were supposed to be symmetrical but missed. Yours would be 2 different amounts and not even close to matching, so they'd be fine IMHO.
I'd consider making the faucet less centered to further break up the symmetry.
The more I think about it, I'd do a narrow open face 12" deep cab adjacent to the stove and use that for the most use cooking stuff like a pretty olive oil decanter, vinegar, etc...if you don't want open shelves.
Turn the 30" cab into being a 36" cab going into the corner.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There's also the 90-degree cut corner cabinet. If you have a custom cabinet maker, it could be sized to the way you wan BluBird's:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd vote for buehl's suggestion of the 90-degree cut corner cabinet, followed by #1, and followed by #3. I have a corner cabinet like #3 and it stores a ton of items. They work well if you have some not very often used items to shove in the back and often used items can go up front. However, getting into the back is a pain. I suspect that the window-side of option #1 cabinet would be hard to access as well. I would not be worried too much about the lack of symmetry. Buehl's suggestion seems to be the best option all around if you cabinet maker can accommodate.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do very much like the 90 degree corner cabinet. However, the side that sticks out toward the window can only hold a max of 22" of cabinets, and with the front wall having 12" deep cabinets, this means the little portion of the L cabinet would stick out just 10", leaving a 9.25" opening (3/4 walls). Do you think it still work and look OK? I'd guess that the photo above shows at least a 12" extension.

dianolo, emphasizing the non-symmetry might work -- maybe we could even pull the cabinets to the right of the window closer, gaining more storage. The dishwasher straddles the edge of the window and I pulled the cabinets just slightly over on top of the dishwasher since when standing beside the dishwasher, we can reach just slightly to the left to load dishes and use that space.

FWI: Since this installation will be inspected, we have to go by the stove manufacturers limits and these are what are preventing us from making those cabs as deep as we want. And it will be safer, so even if it weren't inspected, we'd still comply.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What kind of stove are you installing?
I've got a Bluestar, one of the highest BTU producing residential ranges on the planet and Bluestar has no such restriction.
Is this a commercial range?

If you absolutely can't get around this restriction, I'd go with your solution #4, the multi-depth idea.
But, then again, I'm a little strange.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

willtv: It's a Capital Culinarian and it has a much larger side clearance than some others. The Culinarian requires a full 12 inches (within which only 13 inch wall cabinets are allowed). This is a common restriction in general, Capital just goes out more than others. For comparison, Thermador requires 10" and even Viking and Bluestar require 6" of side clearance before extra-deep wall or full height cabs are allowed. I do wish it were only 6", but hey. Our contractor caught this for us before we ordered cabs. Glad to have him on the job.

Here is the Bluestar combustibles clearance requirements (the Bluestar diagram is actually much clearer than Capital's, I might have caught this myself much earlier if Capital had a 3D drawing as good as this, perhaps before we ordered and installed the window, allowing us more options):

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ask them if wrapping the bottom in a non-combustible surface is acceptable?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 4:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please post a link to your particular stove's clearance requirements. I think there's a misunderstanding here somewhere. Even Bluestar allows full depth cabinets (like a pantry or wall oven) next to the range as long as they are 6" away. In your situation with a Bluestar, your 15" deep cabinets would only require that the 6" next to the range be 13"(or blank). The 15" deep cabinets could begin 6" away from the range. I can't imagine that any less powerful range would require more clearances than one with 22K burners!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 4:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl's example is good because it would give you more storage. The only issue is the 12" it would project on one side of the window would be more shallow than the others on that wall. Of course, if you have a custom cab maker, maybe something can be worked out. Her version of a corner cab is so much better than the diagonal front one. I have had those in 2 houses and would avoid them if at all possible.

If you did a staggered depth on the range wall, you may want to do that also on the window wall. That might make it more of a design statement than troubleshooting....

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, after reading the Capital diagrams, maybe I have a solution. If your cabinets are higher than 18" from your counter, then that 13" depth is no longer a problem. Since you are going custom, have your 15" deep cabinets start at 24" above the counter and then you can put a 12" deep stainless or wood open shelf at the 18" above the counter. It will give you a more spacious look, but not eliminate the storage. The shelf can hold pretty spice tins, oils, and could also have hooks from underneath that would hold utensils. (Sorta like Ikea's Grundtal system.) You could do this on both sides of the window if you wanted to maintain symmetry.

Sort of like this:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do wish Culinarian (with 6 23K open burners) only required 6" like the Bluestar. Other brands allow more. I think it's just a CYA on the part of the manufacturer, some are just more conservative than others. But inspectors look to the manufacturer for this so we are stuck with what they specify. Thermador is 10" and the culinarian is a full 12" You can see the 12" side clearance in this diagram from Capital's specifications (and actually, it seems clear to me now, I just missed it before):

I initially didn't worry about this during initial planning because we have a 42 inch hood over the 36 inch range and I thought the 13 inch only applied if they were directly adjacent. We already have 5 inches between the range before the start of the cabs. If we only had to push them back 1" more that would be great! Alas.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To get an idea of what it would look like, here is a plan with a 90 degree corner.

You can see that the part the goes around the corner is just 10 inches. Is this enough?

Here is a 3D view. I removed the doors just for the image so one could see what it would like inside (we need doors):

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

L shaped corner cabinets are 24" in both directions (measuring from the corner). A custom one with 22" in one direction could be possible from a custom guy, but that's going to end up being a funny looking small door on the L by the window.

Many cabinet companies offer a shallow shelf that can attach to the cabinet underneath rather than being an open shelf like GreenDesigns suggested. Here's one from Omega that shows how nice it can look. Having it be from the same material as the cabinet and using the brackets and cabinet backing makes it look a lot more integrated.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Moving the bottom of the cabinet next to the stove up in order to get a deeper cabinet might be possible, but I'm pretty sure it would have to go up to the 30 inch clearance line (24 wouldn't be enough by my reading of the requirements). Our hood will be up at 36 inches over the stove (42 by 27).

All the ideas, opinions, photos, and drawings have been very helpful!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My corner upper has 10 inch openings because while it's a normal 24 inch x 24 inch cab, it is 14 inches deep on one side (and 13 3/8 inches deep on the other side - obviously custom cabs). The opening is really quite large (about 12.5 inches, less where the hinges are), but I don't store things in that cabinet that I need to access often. These are frameless cabs with 3/4 inch sides. And yes, the doors are little narrow, but I have lots of narrow doors on that wall. Also, I have upper cabinets on both sides of the corner cabinet. I can take a pic with the door open, if it helps. Here's our layout (it's cabinet 18) and a pic:

Awful lighting, but you get the idea:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

pudgybaby, that's extremely helpful.

How far over the dishwasher does your cabinet run extend and do you find the reach a problem when the dishwasher is open and you are unloading from it? Or is the stuff in that cabinet rarely used?

I also wanted to design up the high cab idea from GreenDesign but my desktop computer shut down on me -- we have extra high temps, the attic is open to the house with most ceilings removed and since it is overclocked, it couldn't handle the heat. Later.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's almost exactly to the half-way point of the dishwasher, so 12". It might look like it extends futher in that picture due to the angle. But no, it's not at all hard to reach any of those cabinets when the DW door is open. We stand to the right of the DW when unloading - well my son does :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

GreenDesign and live_wire_oak: I do think I like your solution. We can have salt and other frequently used items on that one open shelf (otherwise we are averse to dustable ledges).

A mock-up:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 10:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like this option. It does the open shelf look while also preserving the closed cabs you like. Can you try it with a stainless shelf though? I think that would look nice next to the stove.You might want to give it a little more headroom on the shelf because if you use it for your oil, vinegar, etc... those tend to come in tall bottles.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

dianalo, stainless, excellent pointer. And GreenDesign, DUDE!!!! That Ikea Grundtal stuff you mentioned is a nice match for the backsplash and shelf system we plan to use for a stove backguard. You're a genius.

Our proposed backsplash (I'm still working on learning Google sketchup to make a match for this to use in my design software):

Ikea grundtal:

And heck, we have metal-working friends who could easily make shelves that are a more exact match to the backguard shelves if we wanted to do that.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to disagree with the open shelf idea for the cabinet adjacent to the range. You may operate differently, but for me, the first shelf of that cabinet holds many cooking essentials that need to be easily accessed while working. You will never be able to store as much on an open shelf, nor will you be able to make it look tidy if it holds a variety of oils, salts, spices etc. If it were my kitchen, I'd opt for a 13" deep cabinet there keeping all of the others 15". Or some kind of corner arrangement. Lack of symmetry around the window would bother me, too, though you would probably get used to it. If the wall cabinets were to extend to the window frame, would you then have room for a small cabinet to the left of the window?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 10:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Omg! How could I, of all people, fail to mention Ikea for stainless shelves!? I love that system of theirs and always wished it were offered in chrome to match our kitchen. I had to spend quite a bit more to get shelves somewhat like that in chrome.... There are tons of accessories too to make it even more useful. You don't even have to use all Ikea stuff.

Cheril - if you use decorative or at least matching containers, it makes it look less chaotic. I think functional can look nice and like a kitchen to be a working room and not a work of art per se.

Ikea also has nice containers that can be on display, and the prices are quite reasonable. I use their oil and vinegar set for olive oil in one and canola oil in the other and have them near the stove top. The pour spouts are easy to use and it looks cute. I put sugar in one of their glass jars that has the canning type locking lid with a latch. Salt and pepper can be put in nice containers as well. I would keep the most used things there where they will be handy and not make it crowded.

I did have one last idea to throw out that came to me when looking at the last mockup. It may not be as good an idea as the open shelf, but that is up to you. If you make the upper cab shorter, you can put a micro on a shelf below the cab. It might be a good way to get it off the counter and not be against code (assuming it is not). We have ours on a freestanding shelf aprrox 13" off the counter and it looks neater and does not accumulate odds and ends on top like our old one did. It also makes below a perfect landing zone. Ours sons are approx 4'6" and have no issues using it safely.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cheri127, you bring up an excellent point. Our cook does (did -- he's stove-less right now) heavily use the one cabinet he had next to the stove. AND that cab was just 14" above the counter making it super accessible. It held his high-capacity spice collection (and not all of it!). It held nearly 50 jars:

But is ugly so was kept in the cabinet.

They could be further away since we will have more countertop and though he did use them at the stove, they were more often ground into various spice mixes and rubs and added at prep.

As for window clearance, we haven't decided on window trim yet. We are thinking of doing a short soapstone sill and simple drywall corners on the other 3 sides.

A higher cab clearance next to the stove could be a variety of things -- nicer wall mounted spice or knife racks, but it would have to be high capacity. Maybe rig some version of the kapoosh-like system. We use 2 kapoosh and they are stuffed full and all the knives are in heavy use -- we have a knife drawer for the less used knives. Here is a kapoosh:

I modded it slightly -- cut off a couple rows of spines all around so it is easier to get in and out (for washing) and holds more knives. We might even be able to mount them as-is on the wall. Then again, this might be a slightly higher grease zone area which would make this a bad idea.

dianalo, we will probably have a tiny microwave out somewhere (maybe the iwavecube) but were going to tuck it over next to the fridge. Not sure we want it right next to the stove, but that's a worthwhile thought and I like how you think!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The pictures Buehl posted are from my kitchen so I can tell you that the L shaped cabinet is a custom cab at 23.5 inches wide on the right hand wall, making the door just about 11.5 inches. I hardly think you'd notice if it were smaller, ie. 10 inches, for your needs.

I love my cabinet maker- he's a genius. My kitchen is just a year old now, and I love how it functions.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the detail blubird.

Our contractor and I went to look at the window measurements more closely. If we do a drywall corner overlapped into the window with a soapstone sill (this chunky sill has become the choice because we need to hide some plugmold under the window for outlets) this gives us 23.75" of wall, then 1.5 inches of drywall that extends into the interior part of the window leaving just a narrow sliver of vinyl before the glass. FYI: our other window is a slimline picture window so has much narrower window 'parts' before the glass -- doing this will make them match slightly more (the large side slider window will still have more vinyl between drywall and glass because of the sash and stile parts around the glass).

Then we could do a corner cab that is, say, 23" inches. This will leave 2.25" of "wall" before the window (.75 inches over wall framing and 1.5 over drywall extending into the window frame. From your and pudgybaby's photos, this should be a workable cabinet. It won't look as good as runs that continue straight like both of yours do, of course.

- counter left of the sink has more head room since wall cabs aren't as deep
- symmetric wall around window
- cabs to the right of the sink can expand closer to window giving more storage there
- front edge of corner cab shelf is more accessible than straight run to wall
- clean look

- give up depth in storage space along that whole cabinet run
- corner cab looks odd to some because it doesn't continue straight after 90 degree turn.
- side wall cabs are deeper than front wall -- not really a major con, I don't think folks will notice, honestly.
- cabinets come awfully close to overlapping into actual window space (though it won't appear so with drywall padding into window).
- but staggered cabs are kinda cool

Window trim plan here (for future searchers or any interested -- I know how much others' detail has helped me):

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for hashing this out with us!

We've decided to do the 90 degree cabinet with no stile in the corner and continuous shelves since our cabinet maker can do them. Since we will have differing depth wall cabinets on each wall (12" deep on the stove wall and 15" deep on the sink wall), they asked whether we wanted the short part of the L cabinets to be 12 or 15". They can do either one.

15" will make the depths of the cabs around the window match and will make it easier to reach that short part of the L cab when you are standing in the corner. But then the corner of the wall cabinets will not be in a straight line between the corner of the counter and the corner of the wall.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 2:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd go with 15" for the short part of the cab. That corner-corner-corner matchup that you lose seems to me to be far too subtle a detail. I think it will be visually broken up by the depth of the cab, even if you are standing on the line between the corner of the counter and the corner of the wall.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can you get a mock up of each? I am torn because your drawing makes me want it to be more shallow to get more light and head room while working by the corner, but I am thinking your sketch is not close to scale. IRL, I think the 15" cab would be fine and give you more storage. It helped me a lot with our layout to have it on a 3D planner and be able to see different angles. Even a flat scale drawing of how each would look would be a help....

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 12:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good point dianalo, I'll cook up some images.

The other issue is that short part of the L will only be 11" wide. Making it 15" deep could make it look even more stubby. But increased functionality could easily trump any visual issues.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm no expert, but I like GreenDesign and live_wire_oak's suggestion of running it to the wall, no L-turn. The stubby 10" wide upper next to the window looks ridiculous.

Or... move the window to the right, then use an easy reach like Blubird's.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Who makes the stainless rail shelf that you posted a picture of? (not the IKEA shelf, the other one). Where could I purchase those?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

CCinTX, if you are still around: The shelf on the stove backguard is part of one of the backguards that DCS sells for its stoves. The backguard itself attaches to the wall, not the stove, so will work with most stoves of appropriate width. It comes with the backguard in addition to the shelf -- it'd be pricey if you just wanted it for the shelf part. The shelves are in sections and removable so you can put them in the dishwasher. They are slatted, so that if you don't load them up too much, you can still get good airflow to the hood. There was one on display at a NorCAl Standards of Excellence and we found it a very smart, functional design. Width matched our Capital Culinarian we ordered, but depth front to back is shallower than the CC back ledge. Good enough for us.

Regarding the subject of this thread, we worked with our cabinet maker and will be going with the 90 degree corner cab and found we can do a short leg on that side of 11.5 inches instead of just 10 inches. Still stubby but we went with function (and that short leg will be 14" deep, making it easier to reach).

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 10:49PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
Cabs above the fridge and wall oven
We don't have a KD yet, and I'm still just figuring...
Jennifer Weinman
Foot pedals for trash pullout - is H a f e l e the only option?
Don't you love auto correct? H a f e l e is coming...
Gap between backsplash and over-the-range microwave?
Hi, all. Does anyone have an over-the-range microwave...
Please recommend pulls for DW and trash pullout
I'm looking for long handled pulls for both the trash...
Sponsored Products
Stone Mill Satin Nickel Tudor 5-inch Cabinet Pull (Pack of 5)
Windster 30W in. WS-69TB Series Insert Range Hood - WS-69TB30
$650.00 | Hayneedle
Brentwood Kitchen Cart - 64024
$453.97 | Hayneedle
Reagan Polished Mahogany Filing Cabinet
Zuri Furniture
Vigo Single Lever Brown and Gold Glass Disc in Oil Rubbed Bronze Waterfall Fauce
Olde World Collection Copper 3.93-inch Pulls (Set of 12)
Breckenridge Collection Bail Pull
Signature Hardware
Under-the-Cabinet K-Cup Holder
$16.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™