Such a large sink cabinet! Do I have other options?

sergeantcuffOctober 30, 2008

Hello again. I have not made any real progress, but the research I've done makes me feel better about my decisions. I've got to work with what I have and what I can afford. I have a few things I am still unsure about, though, and would appreciate any insight. Here's the layout I've got to stick with (needs tweaking though!)

I am unsure about the 39" sink cabinet. That seems so big! I want the sink centered under the window, and a centered, but narrower cab only gives me a few more inches on the left, not enough for something like a trashcan pull-out. I don't even know what I'd keep in there - I don't use many different types of cleaners. I suppose the trash will go under there? Should I get a pull-out system under there?

I also don't like the 30" upper cabs - I wanted them to go to the ceiling. My ceiling is about 8 feet, I can't measure exactly as I am gaining over an inch at the flooring level (so many layers!) and may lose some space if he drywalls over the existing ceilings. The 42" cabs probably won't fit, and there'd be no room for moulding. The 36" cabs may leave too much space? I have seen kitchens here similar to mine with tall cabs but I am so dumb (never bought cabinets before) and don't know if the stuff up at the ceiling is part of the cabinets or if it is moulding. I have printed out pictures from GW to show my GC - the kitchens posted recently by mjsmama and vjrnts. Also wilsonb's kitchen from the FKB.

My GC dropped off the Wellborn cabinets specs and price guides so I could pick out exactly what I wanted. I was daunted by these large volumes but have figured some of it out. I am amazed at how much all the "extras" are - like pull-outs, susans, etc. The moulding section is especially confusing.

I also noticed that the DW panels seem inexpensive. But do these only work with the DW cabinet?

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Is there any way of getting rid of those blind lower corners? What about getting a 27" sink base which it looks like would give you 6" to the corner to the right of the sink to add to your 6" already there equals the 12" you'd need for a 36" corner ss? To the left of the sink you'd add the 6" to the 3" already there; you would get a custom ss corner 36" X 33"? I had a similar issue with one of my corners and the placement of the DW. I used Medallion cabinets and went with a 36" X 33" corner cabinet with no ss. Still MUCH better than a blind corner I think. That would give you 12" wide drawers or 12" tray storage or spice storage next to your stove? Then the B-15 lower space to the left side of the sink would increase to a 18" lower space due to the 36" lower ss. Sorry if this all sounds crazy, but I'm at work and don't have a drawing to show you.

Sorry if I made addition mistakes, it's been a long day...
Good luck with your kitchen. I can't wait to see your progress.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 2:22PM
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Forgot to say that I also have 8" high ceilings and I went with 36" upper cabinets with crown molding. I'm very happy with it. If you search my kitchen, you'll see some pictures of the molding and of my two lower corners, one which is the 33" X 36" cabinet I wrote about above.

Also, what about putting a trash pullout in the lower cabinet (15" or 18") to the left side of the sink? Seems like a good spot for it!

I love your 30" next to the refrig. Great space for a pantry, or some drawers and counter to create a landing spot for the refrig.

Sure hope this helps you plan your kitchen. I know how crazy I went with everything. But, know for sure it will be all worth it!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Barb, I lost your kitchen in my files and couldn't remember your name. I love your kitchen! It was on my favorites but disappeared somehow. I am printing it out to show the GC. How tall are your uppers? How much moulding do you have up at the ceiling?

I am getting the spec books out again and doing the math. I know the ss corners are more expensive. What do you keep on the lower ss? Currently, I keep most food in an upper. In the lowers I only keep big stuff like cereal, rice, etc that may not fit on the ss?

I'm sorry to sound so dumb, but I've never remodeled anything before. Decorating yes - paint, wallpaper, tile, etc. We put an addition onto our old house - it was much less complicated than this kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 2:45PM
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Wow, your contractor's a real find. Doesn't the cabinet supplier have someone who could help you?? Wellborn doesn't sell direct to contractors, so there's got to be a kitchen dealer or distributor who could help.

I am a kitchen designer and work for a Wellborn dealer, and those spec books are a lot of info sometimes, even to me!

First, 36" is generally the minimum cabinet size used for a standard 2-bowl 33"x22" sink. Kitchen designers will often use a larger cabinet to avoid having larger fillers or having the cabinet be off-center. Another consideration with laminate tops is having enough space around a s/s sink to get the clips fastened to the underside of the top without having to chew up the sides of the cabinets.

You could use a 25" 1-bowl sink and try to sneak by with a 27" cabinet. It's a tight fit, but it could work. You could do a lazy susan in the right corner as suggested, but make sure that you choose the kind with 2 wooden susans fixed to the bottom and shelf. That way you can use it for pots and pans and bigger items. The susans with shelves on spindles are much smaller and more spindly, and things tend to fall off more easily.

If you keep the blind base to the right of the sink, it is large enough to accommodate an optimizer of some sort that will allow you to access the dead area more easily. Wellborn has one, and you can find others at - a good source for lots of handy items. You'll also retain a drawer that way.

If you have an 8' ceiling, you can use a 42" upper by lowering the wall cabinets about an inch (using a half-overlay door style where about 1" the face frame is visible). That will give you enough for a small crown.
There's nothing sacred about 18" of space between countertop and wall cabinet - sometimes a small variance give a lot of payback.

If you use a 36" upper, then the area from the top of the cabinet is built up to the ceiling by using a matching 6" filler installed lengthwise. There is a small trim (single bead works well) at the cabinet/filler joint, then the crown of your choice goes at the top. I like the TCM trim from Wellborn - not too big and nicely styled.

Appliance panels are available for almost any under counter unit and also for refrigerator doors. Be aware, however, with doors on the fridge that they look best when the appliance is built into a surround (2 refrigerator end panels with a refrigerator wall cabinet above)at a depth that will cover the ref box and allow for the plugs. Otherwise, you have fancy doors on a big metal box.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 3:19PM
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Hey, you don't sound dumb!! Just a crazy person doing a kitchen (LOL). I can certainly relate. My uppers are 36" with I think 3" crown molding with some "flat" molding between the cabinet tops and the crown. Sorry, don't know the official name.

Yes, the ss corners are more expensive. I can tell you that in Medallion cabinets my ss lower corner was $500 more than my lower corner without the ss, just a shelf.

You'd be surprised what fits in a corner ss! In one of mine is: my large stock pot, my george f. grill, my large electric frying pan, and that's just on the top ss shelf! On the bottom of that cabinet I keep my containers (tupperware). In my other corner ss is: paper goods! You name it, plates, etc. and bags of chips, etc. My lower corner that is NOT a ss (the custom one that is 36" X 33") has in it: platters, measuring cups, casserole dishes, etc. It holds ALOT. I would highly recommend NOT getting any blind corners IF you can help it. Even the corners with the shelf is better than a blind corner.

You say you're going through the spec book. Is there a KD/sales person that can help you with your layout? My KD/sales person that sold me the Medallion cabinets, really helped fine turn my layout on her computer.

What I think is funny is that one of my first layouts that was drawn by a custom cabinet maker also had 2 blind corners. I thought, only a man who doesn't cook would do that! (sorry men that cook!). Even my GC who is WONDERFUL wasn't too good with the layout when it came to function. After reading all the wonderful things here, I came up with my layout with the corner ss's.

I'm sure some of the layout gurus here will have lots of ideas for you!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 3:21PM
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I haven't met him but apparently the cabinet supplier is a crabby old guy in a trailer. The GC said his "presentation is lacking" but he sells at a low profit. He actually did this plan. When the GC told him we wanted to make some changes, he threw the books at him and told him to come back when we knew what we wanted! Sounds crazy, I know, but I need to keep costs down. The GC specializes in historical restoration, not kitchens, but my DH trusts him to deal with the construction issues we face in our old house.

I think I like the bigger crown and I suppose the 36" cabs with filler would be cheaper than the 42". I like Barb's cabinets.

I do plan on a single undermount sink with soapstone counters. I'd like a trash pull-out. but maybe under the sink is OK.

Susan - Thanks for your suggestions. I am going to study the books again and see what I can afford. DH doesn't care about the height of the cabs, I have to get him interested in the susans. I have to think of something really really important that could possibly be lost back there in the blind corner and we would be so sad.

The rev-a-shelf website is making my head spin. I was studying a blind corner optimizer and realized it was nearly $800!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 5:10PM
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I kinda like the spaciousness of a 39" sink base. Instead of making the sink base smaller in order to fit in a trash pullout, why can't you just store your trashcan under the sink?
I've never understood the appeal of a special cabinet for the trash when the sink base is right there and perfect for the job, lol.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 6:34PM
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Boy can I relate to that oversized sink cabinet dilemna. Mine played out a different way, but in retrospect, I wish I would have considered a corner sink. Everyone kept insisting that I had to have the sink centered under the window, which caused me to have awkward sized cabinets to work with on either side. Realizing how much usable space I lost for the sake of somebody else's aesthetics, makes me wish I had considered a corner sink.
I assume your 39" cabinet is based on a sink that you have your heart set on, I'm curious what you've selected. I originally, selected a very large sink, but when I realized that cabinet space it would require, I scaled down to a 33" sink. Turns out 33" is much bigger than I'd imagined. Measure your existing sink, for comparison, you may be surprised when you actually consider how large your new sink will be.
I entertain alot, & wanted a workhorse of a sink, but mine is more than I needed. Good luck with all those decisions.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 7:30PM
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A few things...

  1. Cabinet height & crown moulding. I think you made a good choice to go with 36" rather than 42" cabinets. If your crown moulding is going to the ceiling, you need to have room to adjust for the inevitable ceiling height differences (I don't think I've ever seen a kitchen that was perfectly constructed so all walls were true and all floors and ceilings perfectly level.)

    Small pieces of crown moulding will accentuate the difference while the crown moulding with the filler piece b/w the cabinets and crown that Barb mentioned, is used to accommodate the height difference. The height of the filler piece is adjusted to fit b/w the top of the cabinets and the crown that's against the ceiling. Differences of an inch or so are not noticeable. But, if you only have a small crown you will have gaps that will be obvious. Even if you had a small filler the height difference would be more noticeable w/the small filler than a larger filler.

Sink Cabinet & Trash Bin. I agree w/you about the smaller sink cabinet. Space under a sink is not nearly as usable as a regular cabinet. I also found in my old kitchen that only a small trash can would fit under the sink and there was no room for a recycle we ended up w/a stand-alone trash and running to the garage with all our recyclables....which discouraged recycling for some members of my family (or they left the cans, etc. sitting on the counter hoping someone else would make the garage run). I think if you have room for a pullout then put one in...preferably one that will fit two bins, but that would require an 18" cabinet; w/15" I think you can only fit one sideways.

The other nice thing about the pullout trash bins is that you can install a foot pedal for "hands free" opening (~$40 online including S&H)! Space b/w counter and careful. No, 18" isn't "sacred" but many small appliances are built w/that 18" in mind. Be sure you check to see how tall your tallest small appliance is that you use on the counter--even if you don't store it on the counter. Add 1/4" or 1/2" (wiggle room) plus whatever the height of your light rail will be and that should be your minimum backsplash height. [Coffee makers, mixers, blenders, bread makers, etc.] Lazy Susan. We had a 36" Lazy Susan in our old kitchen (the type with a pole down the center) and all our pots & pans fit in it. Even though it was "builder grade," it was one of the few cabinets that was still in great shape and worked flawlessly for the almost 13 years we had our old kitchen! [Note: Our LS was one of those that had walls shaped in a circle so it followed the line of the circular nothing ever fell off b/c there was no space to fall into!]

Here's the design of my crown moulding. It's in 3 pieces. I have 8' ceilings and a mix of 36" and 30" upper cabinets. The "stock" piece is simply flat filler that was used to accommodate the variance in our ceiling height. We have a 3/4" difference from one side of the kitchen to the other and you can't tell by looking at our cabinets & crown moulding. I guarantee you, though, that it would be obvious if there was no "filler" piece or if the filler piece were quite short.

(The "lower moulding detail" is the light rail design.)

And here's how it looks installed.

Here you can see how the 36" & 30" cabinets were done (the 36" cabinets are 15" deep, the 30" cabinets are 12" deep)

(*sigh* No, no glass in the doors or glass shelves yet)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Debsan - I haven't even picked out a sink yet. I think I'm getting a normal-sized (whatever that means) single bowl undermount sink. I am the one who wants the sink under the window, and this plan doesn't leave enough room on either side of that wall for anything, since the extra inches are split up.

lightly starched - I think you are probably right!

Buehl - Thanks for the detailed info - I'm really beginning to understand it all. About the space btwn the counter and the uppers - Currently I have 8" on on side and 14" on the other. Most unusable!

Another question - Would it be OK to have 30" cabs above and next to the fridge to save a little money? Or would that be dumb?

Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 8:48PM
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Here's a 36" sink base with a single bowl Pegasus sink:

I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. But we had LOTS of space for a sink. I see other people have suggested a corner sink--have you thought about that? It would still allow you to look out the window while working at the sink, and might help to open up your cabinet size options.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 10:34PM
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I think 36" cabinets would look better, but perhaps with crown moulding it would look be honest, I'm not sure.

There were a couple of things I meant to mention before...

  1. Refrigerator. I strongly suggest that you try to "enclose" it so it looks built-in. Use 3/4" finished panels (not decorative doors, just plain wood finished to match your cabinets) for the sides. Then, either get a full-depth cabinet for above your refrigerator OR pull the shallower cabinet forward so it looks like it's full depth. The finished end panels will hide the fact that it's a shallow cabinet brought forward w/nothing behind it. This has the added benefit of making an otherwise almost unusable cabinet usable.

    You're going to need filler anyway b/w the wall and the refrigerator in the left side...probably 3 or 4 you can open your refrigerator completely. Actually, if you need 4 inches, you can turn it into a broom closet.

Have you thought of eliminating the cabinets on the far left wall? Have the cabinets on the window wall just go straight across instead of turning the corner.

Here are a couple of options to think about, if it's not too late!

Here is a link that might be useful: 4

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 3:17AM
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Buehl: GREAT info for Maureen! I was drawing up a layout the old fashion way on graph paper last night, and it was almost exactly like your first layout you suggested! I was hoping you would chime in about the crown molding. You really have a wonderful way of explaining things.
Rather than corner lazy susans, what about super susans if you can afford it? I think the ss may have more storage for you. Even if you just get a shelf in the corner that would be better than a bc.
LOVE the upper corners that Buehl suggested.
My only question, isn't there 30" next to the refrig? If so, what about keeping a 36" space for a future refrig? I have a 33" refrig but put the 36" space in for the future. Glad I did it!
Just some more ideas for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 9:29AM
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I also thought that you might eliminate that corner cabinet conundrum by making it an L-shaped rather than a U-shaped cabinet layout (as buehl illustrates above). You may have your heart set on those uppers on the wall perpendicular and to the left of the sink, but ending the sink wall cabinet run at the left wall sure would give you flexibility on sink cabinet size and placement.

I have a U-shape with a lazy S in one corner but closed off the end of the cabinet run in the corner where my 12" deep pantries meet the window wall run of cabinets. Granted, I had the space to "waste" (GC and KD were horrified!), but I knew that I wanted wide drawers and pantries. I really dislike my lazy S, but it actually worked better with the layout on the side where we placed it, given my desire for wide drawer stacks.

If you don't already have a corner cab, think carefully--and check them out in your friends' kitchens--before you include them in your set up. Although, I still think a corner SINK cabinet is a decent solution... but it won't look vintage.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Buehl's first layout really gives you a lot of storage! I have one corner with a lazy susan (the older version with a pole in the middle) and I can store tons of stuff in there...ALL of my baking pans, both metal and ceramics. It holds a lot!

Here is a pic of my 30" cabinets around my fridge. It is one of the things that I really dislike about my kitchen, as it makes the cabinets look tiny and my fridge look huge. Granted, they are only 12" deep, so that doesn't help.

Btw, this is my 'before' kitchen. I hope to be able to change this in our kitchen update. fyi, I have 8' ceilings.

Please excuse the smudges on the fridge...the flash really accentuates them! : )


    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 10:10AM
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If anything, you can mount your wall cabinets higher to give your kitchen a larger feel. And you can put open shelves underneath, if you want, or not :)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 10:54AM
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Re: 30". It's labeled 30" on the original plan, but it appears to be 24" (I counted blocks). So taking into account those 6" plus the additional 4" or so for filler + panel, you end up with 10" less to work with. (That 18" could probably be 20", but standard cabs come in increments of 3" so I put an 18" one there. Besides, it gives her 2" of "wiggle room")

Lazy & Super Susans. I actually meant a super susan, if it's in the budget. Like Busybme, I also found our lazy susan (w/pole) to hold a ton of stuff and the rotation gave me easy access to what was in there. Personally, I'm not a fan of stationary shelves in a base corner cabinet b/c I wouldn't want to have to get on my knees to access the corners and, in my old kitchen, I didn't have the luxury of having a place to store infrequently used items b/c the storage in my kitchen was too tight. (I stored seasonal/infrequent items in the basement!)

Busybme. I think if your refrigerator had been "enclosed" it may not have looked so "looming. It would have looked more like it was a part of the cabinets surrounding it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 11:49AM
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