Is this safe? Stove niche with cabs to counter?

deedlesSeptember 16, 2012

Traditional Kitchen design by Other Metros Design-build Witt Construction

Something like this pic but specifically I've seen a bunch where the cabs on either side of the stove are almost out to the edge of the counter and there is no landing space on either side of the stove. Is that safe? Shouldn't there be some counter between stove and wall o' cabs? Or am I thinking wrongly on this?

Anyone have this and like it or not?

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I can't speak to the safety, but I think it would be incredibly annoying. I do a lot of canning and that space would not work for me, though it is very pretty.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Definitely not a place where a cook lives.
Look at the size and height of the hood intake.
Look at the tile counter. Imagine cleaning that.
Look at the nifty (and grease collecting magnets) inset storage right by the burners.
What the heck do you do with a flaming skillet?

Wouldn't want it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:33PM
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I believe most ranges require 18" of clearance from the counter to the bottom of the flanking cabinets. Check the specifications for your range. On the other hand, those cabinets don't look like they're exactly flanking the range - there seems to be some small amount of countertop between them. Again, I'd consult the required clearances in the specifications for the range.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Code where I live requires vertical surfaces like walls or cabinets to be at least 4" from the sides of a range or cooktop.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I think we only have like 6 inches on each side of our stove to the corbels flanking it that are part of the hood. Doesn't bother me in the slightest, but I don't cook except in the most minimal way (i.e. I reheat).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Whatever that stainless drawer is to the right, I'd be sure to have bruises all over my legs from clipping myself on the corner of the handle.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Each manufacturer of the cooking equipment used sets their specs for install, as well as local codes, but in general, I prefer to have 12" of landing space to either side of the cooktop inside the niche as any less results in pan handles banging things, and other accidents. And actually, when it comes down to it, this is a design trend that I really really wish would die as I get way too many people with small kitchens that are unsuited to the look but still want to do it anyway, despite the safety hazards.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:04PM
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If those are 4" tiles this is probably within the code minimums, but it is really best to have set-down space on each side of the cooktop, where a pan can be pulled off and set down immediately.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:09PM
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My wolf requires 6". I don't have this exact setup, but I do have something similar. Frankly, I would not do it again for some of the reasons Green Designs mentioned.

My kitchen is 7 yrs old. Live and learn.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:31PM
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You see this type of design a lot. I've never understood it as it would drive me insane not having any landing area or even a minimal work area next to the range. It looks beautiful but clearly is a case where form won over function. I agree it isn't the type of setup someone who cooks would want in their kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:44PM
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I think the safety issues that you asked about have been addressed. I know you didn't ask....but that type of set up would drive me bananas. Ba-na-nas. No elbow room. No handle space. No landing space. I'd take a saws-all to that thing as soon as I could. I see it all the time in mags, and, although it looks pretty, I can't imagine how anybody really cooks like that. Even a foot on either side would drive me nuts. I know not everyone is as easily annoyed as I. ;)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:11PM
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This is a trophy kitchen rather than a practical one.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Breezy, you said it perfectly. I'm definitely as easily annoyed as you are. One of my neighbors put in a six figure kitchen about six months ago and invited me over to see it. Same exact setup. Big 48" Wolf range completely hemmed in on both sides with cabs to the counter. Gorgeous mantel hood with lots of traditional details and corbels (right up my fancy pants alley!) and it was just beautiful. And all I could think about was how it would drive me crazy to have that range hemmed in by cabinets. C R A Z Y ! ! ! !

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Okay, I didn't think it seemed safe and the canning kettle actually did come to my mind as did my giant cast iron chicken fryer pan. I was also picturing things going up in flames.. like painted wood shelves.

It is pretty and I guess if you had a LOT of space and a BIG arch with good countertop on either side and a phenomenal vent it could be good. Just searching for mantel range hood and I'm coming across lots of these set-ups. I'm a sucker for arches, though, lol.

Linelle: I didn't even see that drawer but totally a shin banger. THAT would be irritating.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:27PM
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That is similar to what I will have. My stove top though is only 21 1/2 inches by 16 5/8, and will go into a 27 inch wide space. There will be standard 12 inch deep cabinets on either side. The difference is I'm mounting backsplash on the sides of the 2 cabinets, as well as the back wall.

My reason for using this configuration is limited kitchen space. It's a single wall, 18 feet long, and everything but the refrigerator has to go there.

I don't can or prepare large meals, and haven't had a flaming skillet since 1975. : ) So for our sedate lifestyle it will work great.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:12PM
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it'd be too cramped for me - and I don't cook much.

it takes away the needed space on either side of a stove. I have about 1.5' on one side and a ft on the other (tho, that one merges into the corner area). I don't think I'd want any less.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Once my kitchen is in and I'm using it, I'll post about how it works. Since my stovetop is small, I may set tile into the countertop on either side.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:08AM
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IDK about the code but I have read tons of installation instructions lately b/c I am still deciding on the cooktop. The gas ones said to have 12" clearance the wall.

These people may be complaint with the code but they are probably voiding the rangetop warranty (not that they'd care, LOL).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Putting a range in an old fireplace in a big old mansion that was having a modern kitchen put in was the origination of this look. Unfortunately that does not translate well to a 1200 square foot home and no sefs, um, servants, to replace at will when they injure themselves by knocking a pot of boiling water against the chimney side.

People who really enjoy cooking, or even just endure it, but at a minimum, people who cook find such a confining setup annoying, unsafe, and completely in their way. Thankfully, as minimalism and authenticity continue to grow as the current stylistic influences and the overwrought "faux old world" look fades away, you are seeing less and less of this "decorative" hearth look.

I've always preferred a real hearth in a kitchen anyway, instead of a faux one. If the kitchen isn't big enough for a fireplace in the adjacent eating area, then adding a faux hearth to the kitchen isn't going to add that warmth and charm into the space. It'll just add a lot more dollars to the cost at the expense of safety and utiiity.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Deedles - our local code requires an 18 inch landing on either side of the cooktop....

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 7:41PM
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wow, 18 inches... well it kind of makes sense. At least you'd have some room to breathe and set stuff. I'd go batty without a place to set stuff.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:22PM
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I had a less fancy version of a kitchen like that once. It was horrible. No place to put stuff.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:59PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

It would drive me crazy as I'm a chop n drop cook. At the old house I had no clearance on one side and hated it. At the new house, I insisted on at least 24" on each side...I ended up with a little more and love it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:27AM
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For some reason, I hold my elbows out from my body more than most other people. I'm not sure if that is for, um, "anatomical" reasons or joint reasons or what, but, no way could I function in that cooktop arrangement. I can, do large quantity cooking, use large diameter pots and pans with extending handles, and then sort of slide the cooking vessels off to the trivets on the counter as needed. On top of all that, I get very claustrophobic. I don't even like pantry walls or cupboards that come all the way down to the counter. Those features make me feel like the walls are closing in on me. Perhaps that's weird, but I've come to accept that that is how I feel.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:51AM
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