Designers, I need your help...

kathecSeptember 22, 2012

We're having our contractor come in and finish some of the last major projects in our kitchen, namely floors, counters, vent hood hook up, etc. I've got to get my act together before they come. One area that I haven't been able to decide on is the area we call "The Pillar Island".

This area marries the kitchen to the family room. The plan is to have the load bearing pillars trimmed out in painted paneling and I want an overhang for seating. Even with a 15" overhang, there is plenty of space behind for walking.

I just can't decide what would look good. Should the overhang be straight or have a radius? Should it go all the way to the outer end of the pillar or be just to the inside? Be supported with brackets or a skirt and legs. I would love some input, inspirational photos, or anything really. We started demo 2.5 years (yes, years) ago and I seem to be out of ideas.

Thank you for your help,


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If it's going to extend 15" out, I'm imaging one that stops just a few inches short of the outsides of the pillars (maybe just outside the light switch?) with the ends curved for ease of moving around them and to gentle the strong straight lines---unless you are doing a strong straight line thing and need to accentuate, not weaken, that.

That counter really seems strongly on the outside, though--very separated. If you have any seating in the kitchen at all, would that be a desirable place to sit? It looks like conversation with the cook would require projecting the voices a bit. It would make a great buffet and display area.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 5:34PM
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I wouldn't so seating there at all. The pillar provide too much of a barrier to anyone on the other side. Holding a conversation with someone next to you in bar seating is not comfortable either. Skip the overhang entirely. What I would do is make it a bar set up and possibly do a sink there and then do a double sided glass cabinet above so that it doesn't block your view and you can still display glasses and other pretties.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

To me the problem is the pillars are so all of that structural? Or can they be trimmed down at all? Or somehow turned into more functional space? Like built in book cases. Can they be even partially disguised by wrapping cabinetry around them?

Traditional Kitchen design by Dc Metro Design-build Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

Traditional Kitchen design by Houston Design-build Silvan Homes

Traditional Kitchen design by Dc Metro Kitchen And Bath Erin Hoopes

I would think trimming them out would be better than wrapping them in paneling. The more like columns you can get them to look, or the more purposeful, the better.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:54PM
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I didn't mean to post and never revisit. It's been a busy weekend.

rosie - I see what you mean about the strong line. I think a radius would probably be better here. I'll see if I can get some cardboard to template out the radius beginning shy of the outer wall, that way I can better visualize what it will look like. Thanks for that input.

So brackets would probably be better for support, you think?

live wire oak - we have 3 kids ages 11, 9 & 7. We don't "entertain" as such, unless you count my kids' friends. I envision this area would probably function as a homework/laptop perch or snack spot. The microwave lives in one of the cabinets in this pillar, on the kitchen side.

Budget was a huge issue for us and we've done mostly DIY to this point and cash, no credit. For that reason, we chose not to futz with the structure or the HVAC and electric that runs through this area, thus the huge u-shaped pillars. We're too far along to add another sink, but as I mentioned before, we are not entertainers or drinkers, so for us, that would be a waste of space.

This area used to be a pantry.

During demo:

There is about 52" of space, so enough to fit only two stools comfortably.

Annie - great minds think alike! I have planned all along to have shelves installed to house my cookbooks. I have a few near the future stove area, but the rest of my collection will finally have a home (yea!). I loved the pictures you posted. Our microwave is positioned similarly to the first picture when looking out to the family room. I plan to use the 2nd picture as an example to the contractors.

Thank you so much for being a sounding board and helping to keep my sanity. DH has been traveling for work so much, I barely see him except for weekends. This will continue for the next several weeks, so I hate to bug him with all this kitchen stuff when all he wants to do is spend quality time with the kids and me. At the same time, I have a goal to try to be done by Thanksgiving. It's all gone on far too long and some of it due to my dragging feet on making final decisions.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:35PM
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