Help! Should we reduce size of kitchen window above sink?

Tuk12345September 9, 2013

The wife and I are looking to buy our first house from a builder and we are very excited; however we are concern about lack of kitchen cabinets.

I have uploaded our kitchen layout. As you can see, we have 1 row of uppers along the wall with the stove and fridge. We like to add a small upper cabinet above the DW between the patio door and window. In addition to the added storage, it will allow us to extend the upper valance across the sink. We feel that having the valance just on one side will look odd and incomplete(Though I am hoping to be convinced otherwise.)

Unfortunately the builder recently told us that there isn't enough space for even the smallest cabinet. One option is to reduce the size of the window from 5' to 4', this will allow us to fit the cabinet and of course the valance. However we are very reluctant to do so as we love bright spaces and natural light.

I am hoping to get feedback on the following:

1. Is it a bad idea to downsize the window?
2. Will it look odd and incomplete for valance to not extend across the sink?
3. Anywhere else we can consider adding more cabinet?

Your feedback is much appreciated, thanks GW!

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IMO, it would be a big mistake to decrease the size of the window!

Valances are considered passe and often on updating a kitchen the suggestion of removing them is one of the 1st thing on the list to remove.

Do you have all drawers in your base cabinets and go to the ceiling for all your uppers? Is there any way you can move the "sunken laundry" area door down so you can install the 3rd shelf in your pantry?. If you still need room, have you done a thorough dejunking of your current kitchen?

I am concerned about the frig door being unable to open up properly against the wall. After dealing with a frig that wouldn't swing completely open, I'm very sensitive to that annoyance.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Don't shrink the window! There is already no window on the other side of the wall. You'll love the window!

Previous poster is correct, fridge can't be there :(.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Btw, if this is your only eating space, 8' is far too narrow.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Instead of a cabinet, put shelves in that space later. You can make them the exact width of the space and keep the nice window.

The frig will have to be a couple of inches away from the wall for clearance. AFTER you move in, consider putting a pullout there for more storage.

OR: Consider changing the sliding door for a single glass door to the patio and extend the entire counter further to the left of the DW and then you have plenty of room for shelves or upper cabinets.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Thanks for the quick responses. So it seems like the general consensus here aligns with ours which is to not shrink the window.

Aloha2009: We plan to have 1 top drawer in all our base cabinets. The ceiling will be 9" and our uppers will be 42' only. We haven't ask the builder about extending all the way to ceiling, but I imagine it will be quite expensive. Good eyes on the fridge. We are planning to get french door and the wall will impede the right door opening. We plan to shift the fridge spacing 6" towards the stove so it will at least allow for 90 degree opening. We will then cover the new opening on the right with wood panel extended all the way to the wall. This isn't ideal as we will be losing even more cabinet and counter space, but it's better than current. I don't follow your question about moving the laundry door to gain 3rd shelf in pantry. Now shrinking the laundry room by moving moving the laundry wall further down is an option we considered. We haven't approached the builder about this yet, but I believe it doable but will require us to stack the washer and dryer. Plus I am uncertain how it will look with the laundry door not flushed with the pantry, will it look weird?

Krycek1984: Yeah we are leaning towards NOT shrinking the window. We will have a small table in the kitchen area which we feel is sufficient as there are currently only 2 of us. For bigger gathering we have the dining room. I noticed that my original picture got truncated, so I reuploaded with the entire floor plan.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Hey Lazygardens,

Thanks for your response. We have considered changing the door to single door but afraid we will end up too much light in the process. The shelves above the dishwasher can work, I will have to scope it out.

What exactly is a pullout? Is it something similar to the picture below? Per my previous post, one of the option we are looking at is shifting the fridge about 6" away from the wall. We plan to ask the builder to just fill the space with panel. Will it be wide enough to accommodate pullout?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:33PM
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If those floor plan dimensions are correct, I don't think you have room for the island. Not if you want to open the oven. I would post the plan 'as is' and ask for help, before making any decisions. The window may be the least of your worries. Not to sound negative, but now is the time to make any changes! :)

I think changing the patio door to a single door would be a good idea! You could make the window over the sink larger and have some upper cabinets between the window and door. Perhaps replace the island with a small table and chairs...or use a movable cart/island. I think you'll be too cramped, if the island is in a fixed location.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Honestly, I don't see how going from a 5' window to a 4' window would drastically reduce natural light in there.

The time to figure out fridge clearance is now...not after the kitchen is done. Is there going to be a built in cabinet around the fridge? I would say you need at least 3" on the LR side for the door to open...the more the better. Maybe reduce the size of the adjacent cabinet and slide the fridge down a little?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Would this work? Extending the sink counter, making the island movable (or table) and switching the fireplace/TV to the other wall and getting more light with a window seat and more storage on bookcases. Just an idea :)

From [Farmhouse plans](
    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:54PM
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The thing that would bother me most in the current layout is the distance between the fridge and the only sink. Food usually travels from the fridge to the sink to be washed, then to the counter between sink and range for cutting and other prep, then to the range. I would leave the window size alone, but would replace the slider with a single french door. Then, the fridge can move to the left of the DW, which creates a nice flow. (We had this layout in our last house and it worked very well. Also, since the fridge is close to the sink, it is simple to run water to the fridge for ice.) I would put a small (12-18" wide) trash pullout between the dishwasher and sink if there is enough space. Moving the fride to the sink wall would give you more counter and cabinet space on the range wall. You might then want to move the range a little further down the wall (perhaps centered).

The island leaves you with tight aisle spaces. Since the island is small, you might be better off with a moveable cart that can be moved out of the way. (It should also cost less.)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Tuk, this isn't related to the kitchen, but there are no windows on the long side of the family room. This area will feel dark without at least one. It is a common practice in newly built homes to save money for both the builder and consumer, but it really is necessary.

I like lavenders idea if you are concerned about counter and cabinet space. If not, I'd keep the patio door...they really open up a space. This is a very small space so you don't want it to feel too enclosed.

If you use some creativity, the kitchen space can be more functional. Actually, the entire mudroom/laundry and pantry area could really be reconfigured for increased space for the kitchen, the fridge, and still maintain a pantry (just smaller, not walk in).

Good luck...I know this IS exciting !!!!!!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:15PM
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buehl far along are you? Have you finalized the design? Framed out the exterior of the house? Framed out the interior walls?

IF you have not finalized the design and IF it's in the budget and IF your builder is willing to do it, would you consider moving the closets/pantry/laundry room "down" 2 to 4 feet in to the courtyard/yard below? If you can, then you could increase your kitchen size by the same amount to allow you to have both more counter and more cabinet space.

Island in general...for aisles, you need

* 42" b/w the sink counter edge and the island counter edge (not cabinet-to-cabinet, but counter edge-to-counter edge); you need room to open the DW and have some room left over

* at least 36" b/w the bottom end of the island and the bottom wall (more would be better b/c you will be carrying baskets full of dirty or clean laundry through that aisle)

* 42" b/w the sink counter edge and the island counter edge and that would give you approx 38" b/w the oven handle and the island counter edge and will give you room to open the oven door safely

As to a table + island with seating. If you have a small table with no chair on the island side (36"D table), then you can have an island with no seating on the table side. If you don't have a table, then you can have seating at the island.


You need more like 9" to 12" b/w the wall and the refrigerator. Now is the time to at least allocate the space for it. There are a couple of things you could do in that space:
(1) Install a 9" to 12" wide utility cabinet (or pantry) in that space
(2) Build yourself a 9" to 12" wide pullout (see IkeaFans for some ideas on how to do it)

Install a full-depth upper cabinet (i.e., 24" deep) above the refrigerator & install a plain finished end panel on the exposed side of the refrigerator that's as deep as the refrigerator carcass/box (not doors). This will give you added storage above the refrigerator (those 12" deep upper cabs are worse than useless) and it will make the refrigerator look built-in. The cabinet b/w the wall and the refrigerator will work with the finished end panel & upper cab to frame the refrigerator alcove.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:15PM
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Earlier I showed my wife this thread and she like to thank everyone for the help. She couldn't believe you folks actually spent the time perusing the floorplan and provided us with valuable feedback. Ok back to business..

So she ruled out moving the fridge beside the DW. In fact, she was very much against it. I do have to admit it will solve all our concerns. Also she wasn't keen on moving the pantry/laundry room wall, she like to keep her walk in pantry and not stack the washer/dryer.

Thinking about it some more, we are leaning towards the idea idea of shrinking the patio door from 6' to 4' double French door(not sure if builder offers it). This will allow us to add an additional 24" cabinet and counter space beside the DW.

Based on all your feedbacks, it appear fridge and island are the bigger concerns.


For easier fridge access, we are thinking of shrinking the space between stove and fridge. Currently that space is roughly 24". If we do decide to shorten it, what will be a small enough counter width to still be useful? I like to create enough space between fridge and wall to install a pull out pantry as some of you suggested.

If it gets too tight, another option we considered is move the stove "up" by 12" towards the sink. However I am not sure whether it will be too close to the sink or not, thoughts?


Wife wants an island, so it's here to stay. The good thing is it's floating and not fixed. I still don't have a good idea of what to do with it, might just push it further out for now so it won't impede traffic. At the same time I don't want to push it so far out that we can't fit a table in the breakfast area. Also I don't want to pay builder more to make it bigger. *sigh* so much options, so limited $.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:29AM
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Buehl, we just closed the deal. Our first structural appointment is still months away so we still have time. I guess technically anything is possible at this stage, but practically we are limited to minor changes as we like to stay inside a very small financial envelop. Having said, we will definitely consider everything including major structural changes.

For the fridge, we are installing gable and deep upper cabinet.

Thanks for the general guidelines on island, it will definitely come in handy. Though I don't quite understand your island + table scenarios, can you expand on it?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:41AM
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I would probably have more glass in the patio door wall, whether it be two patio doors or tall operative casements flanking bigger patio door. take the cabinetry off that wall.....frees up space for bigger island with sink [an up-down aligned counter run opposite stove].....and still space for table in foreground to family room. I don't like your's easy for builder to put in dbl patio doors or the like....and get your kitchen activity in the middle will love that wall of glass as you get landscaping/patio projects/grilling/etc. it's a simple floorplan.......get that glass in the wall and enjoy more dimension to your life and space.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:20AM
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If pantry door is moved to the FR side you can use that wall for
extra cabinets (maybe shallow ones).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Instead of an island, how about a barge (a work area on wheels) you can move as needed?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 12:11PM
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After much consultations and experimentation with the floor plan in a 3D model app, we believe we found a solution that we are both happy with.

We plan to shift the pantry/laundry wall "down" to make the kitchen bigger. This will allow fridge doors to fully open. Also we plan to add additional cabinets in the newly opened space beside the fridge after closing.

We will delete the laundry closet and move the sink there. There should still be room left to put coat hangers.

The downside will be smaller laundry, pantry, and loss of closet space. We feel the gain of cabinet, ability to fully open the fridge, bigger island, and roomier kitchen/breakfast area outweighs the loss.

I have attached our new floorplan. Hopefully neither are load bearing walls but I won't know until I run it by our builder in the coming days.

Let me know what you folks think, I would love to hear your feedback.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Diggin it!!! Good job!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I am not sure of your family may not be planning on children or are empty nesters, but that laundry/mud room is pretty small for if you are going to have kids. I would at the very least keep the area to the left of the tub for a closet or a coat rack. And I would re-think the stackable solution for the W/D. IMO, I'd rather have a closet than a large sink in the laundry room...

Also, you can put an end bookcase next to the DW to store cookbooks which might give you some addtl storage.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:34AM
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I think 2' added to the kitchen would not decrease your pantry storage a lot. Depth of the 2' lost in walk in pantry would be around 12" I guess. But you can have a 24" deep full height cabinet next to the fridge.

If a base cab of 15" would be enough b/w stove and fridge (I think you have 24" in the layout) and have a 15" pantry cab b/w the wall and fridge you can add 18" to your cabs b/w the sink and the stove. That 18" would give you more storage near the DW.

You can add shelves facing the FR next to the DW, (maybe 5-6" higher than your base cabs) to store your glasses, mugs, etc.)

If budget permits try to have more drawers. pantry with rollout trays.

Here is a link that might be useful: pantry

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:31PM
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My thoughts on a kitchen window are big, bigger, and biggest as possible.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:35PM
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