Flip Up Countertop ideas?

blakeasOctober 2, 2012

I am building a home and have completed a final design with the home builder. This home is a gut renovation where we kept the outside walls. In the outside walls we replaced the windows. In the kitchen, one of those windows keeps us from running cabinets, counter, etc across it because it is just a big window.

I have come in late in game with this builder as he bought the home and was doing a renovation as a spec home. so all the inspections for framing and exterior has already happenned so I cant take that window out.

So basically I am stuck with unused space in front of the window. basically a 5 foot area of prime space in a kitchen.

So I asked the builder if there is some sort of flip up attached countertop I can do so I can use it when I need the extra counterspace and when I dont it just hinges down. He said there is no such thing.

So I wanted to ask everyone here is there is such a thing?

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I'm not a builder, but just because he knows of no such thing doesn't mean it can't be done. I'm sure someone here will be of help to you.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:52AM
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The previous owner of our house put in this breakfast bar thing - it's a pivoting bar anchored on one side to the cabinets (there is a huge metal grommet in the counter) with a post and a wheel on the other side. We keep stools there and the kiddos pull it out to face the kitchen and eat breakfast there every morning.

To be perfectly honest...I think most people think it's weird and I don't think it helped them sell the house AT ALL. I wasn't sure we'd use it, but it's constantly in use! And when it's swung out, it creates a delightful barrier to entry to anyone planning to intrude on our cooking space, and it's a great place to put out food when we're entertaining. All in all, I think the general initial view is "uhhhh...that's an interesting thing" but the boots on the ground experience has been that it's really useful.

Based on the design, it must have been custom fabricated by a metal shop. Here's a picture, I can give you more details on it if you decide you want to replicate something like it.

1 Like    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Can you post a photograph of the wall as it exists now or a layout with dimensions? Or both?
If you use graph paper and a fine point marker, it isn't hard to do a layout. Use one or two squares per foot.

I like what youngdeb posted, but I am having trouble imagining your space.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:10AM
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design of the kitchen - U will see my problem in front of the window

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Boy, I think I would pay to have the window removed or made shorter so I could re-configure the lay out of the kitchen. It seems like you would get a better work flow if things were re-arranged somewhat. That is valuable work space that you are losing. You do not have a lot of counter space on which to prep and bake plus the loss of storage space that cabinets would give you here would be useful.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:32AM
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If i put a different window it would make the front of the home not look right without having a window there. I HAVE to have that window there. Thus the need for options.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:39AM
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From your layout it doesn't look like you would want a counter necessarily that completely covers the window as you would be unable to open the ovens.

What about a pull out cutting board that pulls out across part of the window? Or a flip up butcherblock? Alternatively, you could have a mobile work island that is always in that area so that it would not functionally block the window, but would be in place as you need it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:47AM
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with a flip up butcher block, I could get the countertop sytle butcherblock from Ikea, how do I do that? Wont a i need a leg underneath it and hinge it somehow?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:51AM
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What is the point of flipping it up? Flipped down it would still cover the bottom of the window and look ridiculous.

Can you post your front elevation? That is an extremely painful kitchen to work in.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:05AM
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front elevation

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:19AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I don't know if this will work for your application--you might need more than 2 hinges, but I've used small fold-up counters a couple of times.

Once for a table in a guest room:

And the same size hinges in a 'recycled' play center for my grandson:

In both cases I used trim to extend over the top of the table when it is in the folded down position--possibly a window ledge (stool) wound serve the same purpose. I purchased inexpensive hinges I found on ebay--you can buy larger hinges there, and on Amazondotcom.

There is also a current thread about a great solution to sparse countertops. Bellsmom, ingenious!

Here is a link that might be useful: Retrofit work surface

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:25AM
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My mother had a tiny kitchen with a back door blocking what would have been prime counter space. She had a counter on hinges that flipped up with a leg to keep it up (also on hinges). Her kitchen would have been unusable otherwise. It flipped up from the wall on the other side of the door from the end of the cabinets (where your ovens are), but maybe you could rig it so it flips up from the cabinets on the left.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:25AM
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I see where you're going with this...it seems like you have two good options to maximize your counter here.

You could do a pull-out. This takes up a bit of interior space on the cabinet next to the stove, but it might not be much if you design it well. This one seems pretty low impact:

Modern Laundry Room design by Seattle Kitchen And Bath Fixtures Kerf Design

Or you could do a flip up from the cabinet side, which wouldn't be as stable but would take up less space in your cabinet. I would look at the McMaster-Carr website and the Haefele catalog for super-strong hardware, and you might want to reinforce that side of the cabinet.

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco Interior Designer Amoroso Design

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Sorry, I meant front elevation of your house.

Generally, work surfaces that can be supported by legs flip down and not up. I would either get a mobile cart or just extend the countertop surface partway in front of the window as long as you have sufficient window clearance. The part that would normally be top drawer space can be open to let light in.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:21PM
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The first thing I thought of when you said this is my grill. It has a flip up shelf - I don't see why you couldn't do something like this. The counter could only extend the height of your lower cabinets, but it would give you space when needed. I think the lighter the material (ie wood over stone) the better.



    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:22PM
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My parents home has the double oven and cooktop with no landing area due to a doorway. The perfect solution was a hinged countetop that can be pulled up when needed. This kitchen was remodeled in 1975, so it has been around for 37 years and still going strong.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:39PM
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If you do the hinged down version, you could actually make it longer by putting 2 pieces of butcher block together with a piano hinge joining them. If you did that, though, I think you'd need a detachable leg for support when they're pulled out, and when they're pulled out you wouldn't be able to use the ovens.

Just a thought.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:46PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I should have checked before posting, but I just measured, and wanted to add that if 3/4" thick wood is used, when in the folded, locked position, the vertical surface is 2" from the wall (or, mounting surface.)

I inferred that you wanted to use a folded counter on the window wall, but I like the idea of using it on the side of the cabinet between the cook-top and window. Because of the proximity to the ovens, it would be useful as a baking counter. Since many baking counters are lower than the standard 36", it might also work mounted just below the window, so wouldn't be seen from the outside. That would depend on the space available between the floor and window.

youngdeb, I love your swivel counter! I've always thought that was a great idea. Also, like the idea of the pull-out cart. Would that mean that the top drawer of the cabinet beside the cook-top would be 'blind', or would the cart pull out below the drawer? I wouldn't want to lose a useful drawer beside the cook-top.

Which brings me to another comment, blakeas--one on a subject for which you didn't ask advice. Have you considered using more drawer bases, rather than the drawer/door combos you show in your plans? Most folks who have the drawer bases prefer them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Would you consider a rolling cart/small island/worktop kind of thing?

This is what I'd do. It kills two birds with with one stone. You can use it as a worktop and also as a serving cart when you have company.

I don't have a picture handy but there are plenty on the Internet.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:31PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Another thought--you mentioned Ikea--when I was searching for info on fold-up tables I found this:

If you open the link below and click on downloads, it shows how the table is assembled.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea Norbo

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:04PM
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I realize from re-reading my post that I wasn't clear. I was thinking flipping up/out or pulling out from the cabinet to the left of the window.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Perhaps just run a counter in front of the window...but it can't be too long or it will interfere with your oven doors

Contemporary Kitchen design by Portland Maine Architect Kaplan Thompson Architects

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 6:02PM
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The window shown in your elevation extends only a few inches below the countertop line. Here are two options.

1. This one allows you to keep the current window:
What about cabinets below the window to match those on either side and then a shelf at countertop level that extends across the window. There was an urban apartment kitchen posted here in the last few months that did something like this. It looked great. The area between the countertop shelf and the cabinets below is wonderful for displaying a few attractive bowls or teapots.

2. This option replaces the window with one only a few inches shorter. I really don't think this would spoil the exterior symmetry of your home.
Replace the window with one that comes just to countertop height. Then extend the countertop and base cabs across the space, letting the window begin at the countertop height. It would look great, be a wonderful prep area in the perfect spot--between the sink and range--and with a window to look out while you chop and stir.

The second choice is my favorite in a minute.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 8:57PM
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Alex House

Have a cabinet run, with countertop, that is not quite as high and thus sits permanently underneath the window.

If you want to get all hi-tech, which I fully support, then drop the floor a bit, recess the full height cabinets into the recess, put a small motorized lift underneath, and then when you need to use the full-height cabinets, you simply flip a switch and the whole bank of cabinets raises up a foot or so.

I think that the lower level cabinets is the easier route to take.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Fori is not pleased

What's the height of the window? I ran about 6 feet of cabinets even with a 30" high window and pretended it was a baking counter. As I and my children (for now) are short, it was a very nice work space, and not bad as a baking center, either.

Is the rest of your layout firm?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Don't you have double-ovens to the right of the window?

The lower one seems to be lower than the countertop level, even in "baking" height.

How would that work with a counter run?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:57PM
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I posted pics of 2 over on small homes forum that I found on Amazon.

Here is a link that might be useful: flip tables

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:54AM
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Even if the window wasn't there, you would still have a problem, because you need space in front of the ovens to open the door, and for you to stand in front of the opened door. The window isn't the real issue in dealing with that space, the ovens are.

Are you committed to the double ovens? If you changed your current cooktop to a regular stove, you could run a counter under the window at table height, and create a sitting-down workspace, or a desk area. You could have cabinets underneath it or not, as you choose. You'd have to get deeper cabinets for that section, if I'd reading the drawings correctly.

And it may just be because I'm left-handed. but those ovens looked crammed into that corner and I think it would be somewhat awkward to use them.

Otherwise a small fold-down counter or a rolling cart are your best bets, I think.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Yep, the window is secondary tot he ovens. You need most of that space just to be able to open the ovens and use them. There are all kinds of ways to deal with windows in kitchens, but only one way to use an oven -- by opening the door. Id your layout still flexible? Where are you with plumbing and electrical work?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Have you thought about having the wall ovens in the corner (at an angle) rather than where you have them shown? That way you can just have cabinets and a counter top under the window and it won't mess with the ovens opening. The cabinets and counter top will be lower than the rest, but maybe you can make it a sit down prep area...?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Thanks for the elevation. That really helped. But I have more questions.

1. Are you committed to the cabinets as drawn in the elevation? Have they actually been ordered or installed? Or is the kitchen design still open to change? I assumed that it was still open to change and the wall ovens could/would move.

2. Exactly how far is the bottom of the window from the floor?

3. Does the window open in any way? Or is it just a ''picture'' window?

4. I know you said you could not move or adjust the window. Is that still an absolute? COULD you have a new, shorter window installed? Just a few inches? It would make a HUGE difference in the ease of designing a super kitchen. If you will live here several years, I think it would be WELL worth the cost.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Saw this on Houzz and thought of your situation - in case you move the ovens or decide to put them in the corner at an angle, so that the counter can be there permanently.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lowered counter

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Kind of like others have asked about flexibility in the layout, Casey in the diy soapstone thread has a picture of a sink with part of the base cabinet open to the window. Here's another similar idea

Here is a link that might be useful: window behind sink

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:58PM
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After getting ideas here and working with the builder all week - we decided to forgo the double ovens and get a range that has double ovens - Albeit one of the ovens in the range is smaller. We then gain more counterspace instead of having to do a flip up counter

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Are you open to other options? How about something like this? It has...

  • Plenty of counter space in the right places:

    • 54" of workspace in the primary Prep Zone - between the range and corner prep sink

    • Over 60" on the peninsula plus the corner plus 25" or so over the DW for the Cleanup Zone

    • Or, that 60" on the peninsula could be a secondary Prep Zone

    • 20" or so of landing space to the left of the range....it could also be a small work space or a place to hold utensils, potholders, etc.

A view out the window in the primary Prep Zone where most people spend most of their time or a view to the Breakfast Nook if using the secondary Prep Zone. Well protected Cooking and primary Prep Zones Separation of the Cleanup Zone from the Prep & Cooking Zones Storage in the right places...upper cabinets for dishes & glasses near the DW, a 24" wide cabinet on the peninsula that could hold silverware and other dishes, 36" wide drawers next to range for pots & pans, etc. Small appliance storage or a small pantry in the corner susan in the peninsula. MW and refrigerator both on the periphery of the work zones so they are easily accessed from the kitchen/cooks as well as the outside/snackers...without those snackers getting in the way of the workers in the kitchen Deeper counters on the sink run to add 3 more inches of space behind the sink
Because of the deeper counters, you can easily have deeper upper cabinets. Those extra 3" (15" deep vs 12" deep) add a surprisingly significant amount of space!
Trash pullout in the Prep Zone and near the Cooking Zone - where the most trash and recyclables are generated and for the longest amount of time

Work Zones....

Or even this? Same comments as above still apply, but it doesn't have quite as much prep space, so I would prefer #1. (Pots & Pans could go in the corner susan on the bottom right.)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:31AM
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I thought about it and I realized your other thread is a better place to post & comment on alternative plans...so please see your other thread...

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: Range by wall in corner of kitchen

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:44AM
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