West Kitchen Windows

aloha2009December 2, 2012

We are in our first kitchen ever with no windows and we find our favorite prep area is the 4' on the island that looks out, while the 10' of countertop typically remains unused. Previous house had a large island that was used while the 6' of countertop that was what we referred to as the black hole, was only used in an absolute pinch. We're considering putting in at least 6' of windows and likely 9'.

I posted a thread almost 2 years ago (I can't believe I've been planning this kitchen that long) regarding West facing windows. It was obvious from the responses that West windows were a pain, but now my questions is how much of a pain?

Do you continue to keep the windows because of cost, or do you enjoy being able to look out the window when the sun isn't in your eyes? I've got our current kitchen mocked up w/o windows and it feels claustrophobic but when I go by the west window by the dinette, that too is annoying with the sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blinded by the Sunshine

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Our kitchen windows face west. But we live in a very wooded area, and that may make a difference.
Here is the windowed wall:

I chose the brushed BlacK Pearl granite on the perimeter particularly to minimize glare. It does so wonderfully.

The only time glare is a problem is when I try to read the digital readout windows (or whatever you call them) on the range at the same time the sun blasts through. A newspaper for a temporary sunshade takes care of that.

Personally, I would HATE a room without windows. Have you considered a roll out awning?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Our kitchen faces northeast. In the morning it can be blinding. I would not give up that window for anything. Blinds or shades will help to control the light.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:42PM
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I would rather deal with blinding sun than no windows. There are plenty of ways to filter or mitigate intense sunshine. If I had a windowless kitchen, they'd have to put me on suicide watch.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:51PM
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I think I could make a prettier (at night) kitchen with more storage but I think I would longingly wish for the windows. Sounds like the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Bellsmom, if we put windows in (and we likely still are) we were considering placing windows not only in front of the range but on the sides too (9'). We thought if we kept it shorter like the one you have above your range, this would help. Questions:
1. Does it help with the sun compared to the window by the sink?
2. Do you feel like it's awkward to see out of being shorter? Like something is in your way? How tall are you?
3. How many inches off the counter does the glass start?
4. How many inches is the height of the glass?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:30PM
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The 6' window over my cleanup sink faces west and has low E glass. This pic was taken late winter before the deciduous trees leafed out.

Living in the PNW, trees block and filter light for much of the day. During the height of the summer in the hottest part of the day, I do get a raging glare through the window. I was able to survive last summer, my first in the new kitchen. I plan to put some sort of treatment up next year. I'm not sure what yet. Maybe even just a roll down bamboo shade on the exterior of the window. With my door to the deck adjacent to the kitchen, it would be easy to pop out and roll it down or up as necessary.

Like others have said, I would gladly take this trade-off to have that large window. I would hate the kitchen without it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:00PM
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I don't prep at either of the windows. That may make a difference. I prep on the island. And I usually have my back to the windows. Not by choice. That's just how it works within the constraints of my layout.

I have NO problems with the window over the sink. Clean up in the full force of summer sun is simply not a problem. But I don't try to read a dim digital device there. The range readouts I find totally unreadable in the afternoon--except that it is easy to use a newspaper to shield the sun and then I can read them easily. And that is only for an hour or two a day.

I am 5'2''. This is an advantage. I hadn't considered the seeing out and height problem under the hood until a tall friend stooped down at the range to see under the hood and muttered about the advantage of midgets.

The window begins about 7'' above the counter over the range and ends about 27 or 28'' above the counter.

I regret fiercely not knowing about garden windows when I designed my kitchen. I WISH I had a garden window over the clean up sink. I would invite all the sun I could get into my kitchen. But I am in zone 6 and you may be further south. That would make a difference.

A young friend and budding contractor just installed a 20' long and 10' wide motorized awning on the exterior wall that will cover the door, sink window, and range window. It was such a bargain ($250 installed!) that I couldn't resist. (He had removed it from a high end home where the new owners did not want it. They gave it to him, and he passed it on to me.) Had never considered one, but it just went in today. I think I will LOVE it in the summer. It's pretty darn nice right now in a light fall rain when I let the dog in and out. I can share more info about this if you want.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Our kitchen window faces west, but it is only a 4 foot wide window. Whether there is an issue with sunlight depends on the time of the year and exactly where the sun is setting. Even then, it is only annoying for about 30 minutes of the day. If I happen to be cooking at that exact time, I have a honeycomb blind I pull down to filter the light. (It is barely visible when it is closed.) I wish I paid closer attention to which month the sun sets at the right angle when I happen to be cooking, but that blind is rarely pulled down.

I type this as I look out my 12' of west facing sliding doors in the adjacent living room, enjoying a beautiful sunset... this sunset is definitely worth the 15-30 minutes of the day when sun might bother me in this position. :)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:15PM
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Bellsmom, thanks for all the measurements. Your friends response is kind of what I was thinking how a taller person might react. To get the window the full height, we'll have to compromise on great venting. I thought though perhaps, we can create an excessively wide vent for our 30" stove if the vent has to be nearly 48" from the cooktop to accomplish the getting more windows in. Luckily we don't fry at all. Sweet deal on the awning!

Breezygirl, your kitchen is beautiful! We lived in the PNW for 7 years so having a kitchen with all your windows would have been a dream when we lived there (it would be a dream living where I am now too).

Lolauren,I can't imagine missing out on those kind of views.

I guess we'll have to figure out the window covering situation since we wanted a window in front of the range too. Safety would need to paramount to everything. We've talked about moving the sink back to this wall instead of the range, but we'd really like to keep the range on the west wall with the windows.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:37PM
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You could plant a nice, small-ish shade tree outside the window, too. Maybe a fruit tree?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:45AM
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I wanted my window to look like a back splash medallion or centered tile piece, so I didn't want a big window and didn't research possibilities.

Search Houzz.com for 'windows behind range.' Lots of ideas here for large windows behind a range. Many are spectacular.

But I do think the west sun could be a big problem with very large windows behind the stove. You can't put blinds or curtains over a window behind a stovetop. (Fire hazard.) Maybe you could use windows which have a blind between two pieces of glass, though. We put one of these in the very big window behind our tub which also faces west.
I found several manufacturersfor windows with built in blinds by searching for ''between the glass blinds'' on Google.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:59AM
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The late afternoon sun can be brutal but the right window treatment will make all the difference. We have the Hunter Douglas Silouhettes and I think they'd be perfect in your situation.

If you've never seen them they have a fabric blind between two layers of sheer fabric. When they're down you can have the blinds open or closed. Even when they're open it dramatically helps with glare and you can still see outside. I absolutely love them.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:58PM
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