pearls of wisdom, ode to the toe kick

belle_vaOctober 9, 2013

firstly- i remain in awe of the designers who contribute to this board. there are so many details in a kitchen and it is like a puzzle. everything has to fit together perfectly. those of you that do this every day and do it well... WOW! thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us.

now... i am in the thick of it. cabinets are starting to go in this week. i know it will look great and i am sure i will be happy but i am currently in frustration-ville. despite more than a year of research i see mistakes. here's one- if you have an old house, you probably have uneven floors and ceilings. well, we actually ripped out our 100 year old plaster ceiling and leveled the new ceiling so the crown would sit pretty on top of our cabinets. we did not redo the floors because they are hardwood and in good shape. our old counters were uncomfortably high for my 5ft 2in (on a good day!) self and i guess i thought the new ones would miraculously be standard height. (without knowing exactly how that would happen...)

and yet they are going to be high again. painfully high. they are standard in the highest spot in the room but will be more than 37in high where i actually do work.

am i correct that what i should have done is to request a shorter toe kick so that they would be a more comfortable height in the work areas? how should a normal person know to request this? and had i done so, would it have caused problems with appliance installation?

pearl of wisdom for another short old house home owner out there...

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Please find out before anything is installed how much it would cost to reduce the toe kicks and what the implications would be for the rest of the design. I'm a total amateur, but it seems to me that making that kind of change now would not be all that expensive or difficult.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:23AM
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It is typically possible to shorten base cabinets by an inch or slightly more. Most DW's can go as low as 33-1/8, the range is less of a problem but you would want to determine how it relates to final counter height. Slide in ranges are an exception and have issues of their own.
Even factory cabinets with standard toe can easily be cut down. Using a homemeade sled that a circular saw sits on. In my own kitchen I cut down a dozen cabinets in under two hours. Less expensive than ordering modified heights- alterantive is order without sub base (no charge most often) then build that on site at the height you want.

I found something that shows a version of the jig I use- go to link and look for the pdf file- download online extra.

Here is a link that might be useful: Circular saw jig

This post was edited by jakuvall on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 9:43

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 7:58AM
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Thanks. We are using a slide in range which does complicate things a bit. But the installers said they can sort of "split the difference" and give me a little bit of reduction. Oh I am exhausted. What a process! These last few weeks are going to be the most trying I think...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:35PM
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You can always embrace the slope. I have a 48" range and when it is leveled properly the legs on the right end are about 2" longer than on the left side. (It's one of those commercial-style ranges with visible legs.) So the left hand counter top is great for me (I'm a just bit taller than you) but the right hand counter is my husband's territory as he is much taller. We wound up with what is effectively a two-height counter top that is also perfectly level and even with the range's surface.

Oh the joys of antique houses!

Jakuvall's suggestion is very useful and the way to solve your problem.

You could always have your range a bit higher than the surrounding counter. You just can't have it a bit lower, for safety reasons. Also one of those gel floor mats would chew up a bit more of the counter height, making you effectively 3/4" taller.



    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:47PM
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