Island Dilema

12 years ago

Here is a picture of my kitchen:

The island is 6' long with 24" deep base cabinets and a countertop that overhangs 10" in the back (which I've been thinking all along was 12").

Here is the design that I'm trying to work out:

I want a trash/recyling pullout to the right of the cooktop. I can reach it from the sink and both my work areas. It is opposite the dishwasher but there is 18" between the opened DW door and the cabinets so I should still be able to access the trash even if the DW is open.

The problem is that I really like symmetry and I want deep drawers in the 33" cooktop cabinet and the left side cabinet but the right cabinet will have a door for the pullout. Plan A has matching drawer heights on both cabinets and I don't think I'll like that. Plan B has a 4 drawer base on the left and I'm not sure I like it either and I'm afraid the 4 drawers will be too shallow.

Is it possible to make the door front look like a set of drawer fronts? Although it may look too blah with just drawer fronts anyway.

Also, I'm keeping a downdraft vent (I know it's not ideal) and I was wanting to make the cooktop cabinet a little deeper so I could push the cooktop back a little and gain a couple of inches of drawer depth. We have never used the overhang as a seating area so I was thinking about putting 12" deep cabinets on the back right and left corners and putting a couple of shelves in the gap between them, behind the deeper cooktop cabinet.

I have a couple of concerns. First, the shelf section is 33" wide and the cabinets on either side are 19". Do the shelves seem too wide for that spot?

Second, since I've only got a 10" overhang now, I'll be adding 3"+ to the island width and I'd lose the mitered corners (which I'm more worried about on the back left corner when cutting across to the fridge).

I just happen to have two 36x24x12 wall cabinets laying around so I propped them up behind the island to give me an idea of how it would look mass wise and clearance wise. My kids say it looks fine but I'm thinking it may be a little too bulky. The clearance seems to be fine. Right now the island is 42" from the oven side, 43" from the refrigerator and 42 1/2" from the sink side. There's not much traffic on the back side of the island and there's plenty of room to open the oven when I reduce it by 3" We also thought maybe we could shift the island 1" toward the sink.

How much narrower can I go on the backside cabinets (and shelves) before they are too narrow to be of much use?

I thought about just going to 30" deep cabinets all across but I won't get anything out of the extra depth on the trash bin pullout cabinet and I'm already wasting 2" in width on that cabinet. I'd also have to have a 4" overhang in the back to avoid losing any counter space.

I was also wondering if I could combine the back to back cabinets into a single cabinet with a divider between the front and back sections. That would save me a about an inch in cabinet depth for the same internal storage space. I'll have to ask Scherrs if that's possible. That would also take care of the side panel issue.

Finally, how much is the countertop supposed to overhang the cabinet? I was thinking it was an inch but mine is 1 1/2" and that seems a little wider than necessary.

Oooh.. one more question. We have 9' ceilings and my wall cabinets are 42" tall (top at 8"). I wanted to add some crown molding and cove lighting at the top but I thought that would leave too little space between the cabinet and the ceiling so I'm thinking of going to 39" wall cabinet height since I can't reach anything at the top anyway. Does that make sense?

Comments (5)

  • rhome410
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I like option A just fine, and don't like option B, especially since you don't think the drawers will be as useful to you. It depends on who is making (and/or maybe installing) your cabinets whether you could have the trash door look like 2 drawers. If I can have my dishwasher panel look like a drawer and door, it should be possible to have your door look like drawers...but, again, it depends on your cabinet line and what they may offer, or who might be willing to contrive it from the pieces the cabinet manufacturer has available.

    My cabinets are currently without the molding for the top, so about 5 inches from the ceiling. I actually think they look OK that way and I'd be tempted to leave them if we hadn't skipped painting the wall completely behind. (Picture below)...So I, personally, would go with the 42" uppers, so you can have 3 usable shelf spaces inside.

    Countertop overhang: The drawer fronts or doors will be 3/4" plus, possibly, a bumper, so will stand out from the cabinet almost an inch. I like a good 1/2" of overhang past that, so that anything dripping off the counter gets to the floor, instead of running down the face of the cabinet. That makes a 1 1/2" overhang the safest bet to meet my needs. You might get away with 1 1/4", but I don't know if that's worth it.

    I doubt they'd make a cabinet 36" deep, opening on both sides with a divider in between, but I guess it never hurts to ask. As far as depth, unless your aisles are getting too narrow, I don't think a 36" island should look to bulky. But if you want to make it shallower, it depends on what you want to keep in those shelves and cabinets how much you can subtract and still leave yourself something usable. Did you say whether the cabinets are framed or frameless? I think I'd want at least 9 1/2" inside, since a lot of things (plates, baking pans, etc) seem to be 9".

  • mdod
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for the comments rhome410. We're using Scherrs cabinets so if they can make a door that looks like drawer fronts do you think that would be better than Plan A?

    LOL...No idea what I'd keep on the shelves. I'm not a knick knack person, I don't have that many cookbooks and I'm not sure it would be deep enough if I end up reducing the depth even more anyway. I originally thought of shelves because I figured the middle section would be too shallow for a cabinet and I could stick the dog's water and food dish under the shelves (instead of under the desk). But then I decided it might look dumb to have the dog dish under an area with display items. OTOH, does it even make sense to display something in that location anyway? Oh, the battles that run in my head!

    Good point about losing the third shelf with shorter cabinets. If I do put crown molding, I'll have to make the end wall cabinet an inch or two narrower because there's not enough wall space for the molding to return. I have lights above the cabinets hidden by the cabinet frames now. I don't know if the fixtures will be too visible without molding above a frameless cabinet.

  • rhome410
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I promised you a photo, then forgot! That's what I get for staying up too late, but it sounds like you might not need it.

    I could like either the matching drawer fronts or the asymmetrical look of the larger panel over the trash pullout. Depends on the kind of look you prefer. I think the all drawer look is more contemporary and sleek. The other is a good balance.

    The back of the island wouldn't be my favorite display location...Ok for cookbooks maybe, though, or other items for fun or function. Remember, too, that open shelves in base cabinets are really good for gathering dog hair. :-)

  • lascatx
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think you have enough room with the uppers at 42". I actually have things stacked on the top shelf where getting things in and out would be more difficult if they were 3" shorter.

    I like the door/drawer combination on the island. If you made the trash pullout look like drawers (which I'm sure is possible since my DW panel is made to look like a drawer and a door cabinet), then you just have a solid grid -- no variance. The combination is more interesting to me and looks more like someone thought about what it was supposed to do rather than just slapped a bunch of drawers together.

    Regarding your shelves on the back, I have 10" deep cabinet with shelves for cookbooks. The depth after the back is 9-1/2" and the middle shelf is about 8" (comes to the back of the face panel). I put larger, deeper books on the bottom with the 9-1/2 and smaller ones above. It would also be deep enough for a lot of display items, but a large bowl could be a problem. And I don't think the shelves are too wide.

    If you order a cabinet 36" deep, make sure you have a doorway you can bring it in through -- exterior as well as the interior coming into the kitchen. Most folks would not. I have double French doors at the back of the kitchen/breakfast room, but I don't think they'd be able to get that through my gate to get through the backyard and around to the back door. If they did manage that, it would still be a major hassle.

    Also, don't set your cooktop back -- just the downdraft unit inside. You don't want to have to be reaching further to lift pots, stir, etc. Your arms and back will be unhappy and it creates a greater burn risk (harder reach being more of a risk of dropping something and bending over to reach something on a back burner creates more of a risk of hitting something on a front burner).

    The best way to save drawer space under your cooktop is to carefully study the options and configuration for the downdraft blower. Look at the connections and fit of each model and look at the overall size -- especially the depth. Consider whether you can use an external blower. See if you can block just and upper or a lower drawer. Then make the drawers fit -- notch or U-shape to get the most you can. It's similar to engineering the drain pipes and such under your sink to maximize space rather than just slapping something together in the space available -- which is what most plumbers will do if they aren't told they won't get paid for that kind of job.

    Rhome is right -- the standard counter overhand is about 1-1/2". I think my tile counters in the original kitchen here were an inch or less. EVERYTHING dripped over than edge and onto the cabinets, where the drips ran into and around every bit of trim on the doors. Don't skimp on the overhang -- make sure your door fronts, including any trim that sticks out past the 3/4" panel will be covered.

  • mdod
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    rhome410, You didn't have to send your pics. I've seen photos of your gorgeous kitchen in several of your helpful posts.

    You guys have convinced me to stay with the 42" wall cabinets and the 1 1/2" countertop overhang.

    I'll have to think more about the shelves on the back and see what Scherrs says they can do. The cabinets have to be assembled so getting them into the house shouldn't be a problem. The shelves look nice on paper but I'm not sure about the location or if it fits my style. My daughter likes the shelves but we never like the same thing so that should tell me something. Spunky doesn't shed so no worries about dog hair though.

    I'm not sure I want a 6' bank of doors there either. If I made the side cabinets more shallow, how about if just left the middle cabinet recessed 6-8" just to give it some interest?

    I'll have to see what they can do with the drawer fronts too. I'm glad to hear at least two people think Option A would look alright. I really like symmetry but straight drawer banks across the front seems boring. I was thinking about slab drawer fronts because the panel ones seem a little too busy to me, especially in the short drawers. I'm going to have a lot of drawers. I wonder how it would look with some panel fronts in the middle section (or some other variation of drawer front)? Has anybody seen that?

    lascatx; So you don't think setting the downdraft back from the cooktop would be a problem? I thought of doing that but since people here discourage downdrafts as it is, I figured I should keep it as close as possible.

    I had to laugh at your comment about checking the downdraft configuration and the plumbing. When they did our current downdraft the HVAC guys brought the vent out the front and had it coming all the way to the front of the cabinet before going down. My husband redid it as close as he could to recapture some space. I just found out that it *could* have vented directly through the bottom! He also redid every sink in our house because the plumbing took up too much space. In school, in the dark ages when computer programs ran on cards, he always had to write his program in the least number of cards too!

    Demolition has officially started. I told my daughter she could start taking the wallpaper down. Apparently she hated it because she was on it in a flash.

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