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Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinets

Travis Johnson
4 months ago

We are redoing our new to us old house, and have decided going with a tiny kitchen is what is best due to room arrangement and netting us a first floor master bedroom suite. But it is teeny tiny at 12 x 12 ft. To offset that, we thought about adding stained glass windows to the upper kitchen cabinets. But i am not seeing a lot of kitchens with this.


Was it just not done in the old days?


Gaudy?


Too colorful?


Too prone to breakage?


The house has stained glass througout.



Comments (69)

  • beesneeds
    4 months ago

    If you want a tiny kitchen, you could take that 12x12 room and only use half of it for a kitchen. People successfully pack quite a punch into tiny kitchens, especially with the trend in tiny houses making for innovations with making it all work.

  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    How does that room relate to the rest of the downstairs rooms?

    And how does the actual kitchen relate?

    Got a floor plan you can post? I'd hate for you to muddle the floor plan of the house. I know you're an old house lover so I'm assuming you're not, but just in case?

    Travis Johnson thanked cpartist
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  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    i will have to draw up a floor plan but its not too bad of a layout.

    Moving the kitchen does a lot. It puts a fullsize bathroom on the first floor. It gives us a walkin closet. It gets us a laundry area on each floor. and it gets us a big bedroom on the first floor with a river view.

    Orginally i had the kitchen bigger at 16 by 24 with a nice river view but load bearing walls, window placements, a chimney and vent pipe all made it troublesome. Those are not an issue with a master bedroom. We also spend a lot more time in the bedroom than the kitchen.

    As for resale, i am not sure. A big kitchen with riverview does a lot, but so too does a master suite with walkin closet and private laundry. Making it a forever home for us, makes the change priceless though.



  • colleenoz
    4 months ago

    I have frosted glass in my upper cabinets so they’re not totally see through. I think clear lead lights or possibly two-coloured lead lights (so it’s not too busy) could be nice, but I would put a flat pane over the lead lights on the side facing the kitchen. Otherwise aerosolised grease from cooking will collect on the leads and be an absolute PITA to clean.

  • Kendrah
    4 months ago

    The more you write about the space, the more I might be convinced of stained glass. If you don't really cook much then the kitchen is just another room so why not have at it with your aesthetic style?

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    I wanted to get up early and draw a layout of the bottom floor but I was enjoying sleep too much. But i do have better pictures… yay!!


    Here is a better overall view of the kitxhen area. In front of the two windows will be a kitcchen style table with slate sink. This will solve the problem of low window sills and the baseboard heat. where the plywood wall is will be where counters, cabinets and a range will be.An island will be appropriately sized for the mid area.





  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here is a close up of the left side. The built in will stay because it is orginal to the house. we plan to stuff a recessed refrigerator beside it because currently tgat is a narrow and deep closet, By putting a refrigerator there, it will givenus more working space in the kitchen, but also make the closet turned pantry less deep. You can see the door to the closet/pantry in the extreme left of the picture.



  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    This is our current kitchen that we knewcwhen we bought it, needed a redo right to the studs. Due to its odd U-Shape, awkward window arrangements. and problematic components; we feel it would best serve as a master suite.



  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    This is our current pantry. We plan to turn it into a walk in closet. To the right is the back set of stairs going to the second floor that is not needed and dangerously steep. We plan to turn that into a combo washer dryer.


    We do have a walk in closet up stairs with a second floor laundry.


  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here is the other part of the U-Shape, the new door with stained glass leads to the new kitchen and library. The middle door leads to the laundryroom that will be the mastersuite bathroom. The door to the left goes to the basement and hides a chimney and vent pipe.



  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 months ago

    Wow, this is a huge undertaking. Moving the kitchen and making the original kitchen into a master suite is very involved, and there are way more decisions to be made before figuring out how to use a stained glass window.

    Unless you want to hire a professional designer, you probably should post a floor plan with all dimensions of the entire first floor. Show all windows, doors, heating elements, and other permanent fixtures. There are lots of Houzzers who can help you design the space.

    Travis Johnson thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    4 months ago

    If you have stained glass throughout your house then would say yest to stained glass in your upper cabinets.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Thanks


    I am not a pro but did start building my first house at 18 years old, building it as i went. I had a few acres. a gravel pit and a sawmill which helped, so building it meant felling trees and dugging out gravel to mix my own concrete. I still have that house, but am currently selling it.


    We bought this for a song, and knew major changes needed to take place, but we are up to the task I think.


    But you are right, no one person here is smarter than all of us put together.

  • Theresa Peterson
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    But it is teeny tiny at 12 x 12 ft. To offset that, we thought about adding stained glass windows to the upper kitchen cabinets.

    Echoing what others have said: 12x12 isn't teeny ... though, if that 12x12 includes paths for traffic and/or a pantry, it might be smaller than average after all. Regardless, I'm not clear on how stained glass windows will offset the size of the kitchen.

    Having said that, I LOVE stained glass and think it makes great kitchen cabinet fronts. It's never been a big thing -- probably because it's expensive. Don't be afraid to go with something that isn't trendy. What's not in style /exists outside of style can never go out of style.

    Thoughts and illustrations:

    What IS popular today is fancy glass that obscures the cabinets' contents a bit ... without color. Today's trend is all neutrals in the kitchen. Comes from Fear Of Making An Expensive Mistake. This first example is reeded glass, and the second is seeded glass. Note that these cabinets will be more expensive than standard cabinets because you must "finish" the inside as well as the outside of the cabinet.




    Consider that, if you go with stained glass, you don't have to put it in every cabinet. Sometimes less is more. If you have a corner cabinet, you could go with just a narrow piece of stained glass. Depending upon your color choices, the inside of these cabinets might/might not need to be "finished"


    Stained glass comes in so many varieties. Note that some of these are clear leaded glass -- very nice and akin to stained glass.


    Definitely consider that stained glass should be the star. Here's an example of some nice cabinet fronts "competing" with the backsplash and counter top. If these same glass fronts were in an all-white or medium-toned wood kitchen, they'd be so much nicer.


    One more thought: If you want stained glass but can't /don't choose to do the cabinet fronts, you might go with stained glass light fixtures instead. I have them in my kitchen /family room, and I adore them. I'm pretty sure they'd be less expensive than cabinet fronts. But I don't think I'd want the light fixtures + the cabinet fronts ... could turn into too much of a good thing.




    The house has stained glass througout.

    Repeating an element throughout the house is a good thing. Consider the colors /styles in your current stained glass as you make your choices.

    Stained glass wasn't done in the old days in kitchen cabinets because of cost. Stained glass was expensive, and it was pointless to waste the money on expensive glass that would never be in the light.

    True. Two additions to this thought:

    - "Back in the day" kitchen were work rooms, not rooms company would ever see.

    - "Back in the day" they didn't necessarily have the technology to illuminate stained glass doors from behind -- today we do.
    Orginally i had the kitchen bigger at 16 by 24

    That's a bloated, oversized kitchen. A kitchen that size often ends up being finished with cheap materials because the cabinets and countertops so much more than people anticipate.

    Also, people have this idea that 1) kitchens are the heart of the home, 2) I love to cook ... so I should make my kitchen BIG! No, you should make your kitchen efficient. Oversized = more opportunity for clutter and more steps to cook a meal.

    I'd rather have 12x12 than 16x24 ... more potential for a thoughtfully designed kitchen.

  • kelli_ga
    4 months ago

    I vote for clear glass in the kitchen cabinets, like your china cabinet. You can add color by putting lights and colored glass objects inside. Then later if you get tired of the stained glass (as I did), you can change the contents of the cabinets.

    Also stained glass reflects on your walls, so it is really hard to choose a wall paint color (even white).

    Another option is to get cabinets with replaceable glass. My new cabinets have clips that allow the glass to be removed. You can order clear glass, then save those panes and try to get stained glass that will fit in the frames with some kind of clip. (It seems like stained glass would be thicker than regular, but you could probably find something that would work if you worked with the cabinet builder. It seems like stained glass would be much heavier too, with more weight for the door to carry.)

    My new-to-me kitchen is about the same size as yours. It is too big for me. My old one was an 8x10 galley kitchen, open to the living room. It was so easy to work in, at least for one person. The ceiling heights in that room were 7’ and 8’. That was fine. The window over the sink was the star.

  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    island will be appropriately sized for the mid area.

    With the space only being 12' wide you really don't have room for an island. You'd be better off doing a peninsula. When you get a chance, definitely post the floor plan with measurements.

    Travis Johnson thanked cpartist
  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    How big is the current kitchen? To me it looks like it could be more functional redone than moving the kitchen to the dining room. Again, please post floor plans. :)

    Travis Johnson thanked cpartist
  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    @Theresa Peterson


    Sound advice on your appreciated lengthy post. I cannot reply on it all right now, so please dont be offended by my truncated reply. Your words are appreciated however.


    I have done quite a few lights so far with some stain glass in them. Most are clear glass I admit, but other than breaking glass panes more often, i can work with it.


    This is a light I made for our bathroom that has some stained glass. it matches the stained glass in our linen closet door that also has stained glass. Whether or not it works is up for debate but we like it.





  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    @cpartist


    i am not sure an island cannot be put in.


    I had a woodworking shop that was 12 ft wide and a workbench in the center would NOT work since it had workbenches on both sides if the shop.


    But in this kitchen the cupboards/counters/cabinets will be on the right side only. On the left, the refrigerator will be recessed into the wall. This will give the room 10 feet in which to center an island. I think there is enough room for that.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here is our proposed layout of our kitchen




  • Jenny
    4 months ago

    General recommendations are to have 40" or so pathway around the island, from the handles of the fridge to the counter of the island. Perhaps think about an old fashioned butcher block, which gives you chopping space but is a lot smaller.

    Travis Johnson thanked Jenny
  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    @jenny


    I did the math and with 40 inches of clearance a 36 x 60 inch island would fit?


    We were thinking white cabinets with black cherry butcher block countertops?

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here is the first floor layout of our house




  • palimpsest
    4 months ago

    Unless the pattern/style of glass you use has a lot of opacity and reflects light off the front surfaces (think of colored glass with a lot of white pigment in it) its not going to look like all that much used as cabinet doors because there is not going to be light shining from inside the cabinets through the doors. That is, if you wanted to use traditional clear but saturated colored glass. I did a number of pieces of traditional glass using plain and flashed glass and fired painting (like old fashioned church windows), and they really looked pretty dull on the surface when not lit from behind. The churches where I grew up (mid 19th c.) , the windows looked almost black with reflected light on them, they only looked like something lit from behind.

    Travis Johnson thanked palimpsest
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 months ago

    Very good point, palimpsest.

  • Jenny
    4 months ago

    I am making the assumption that you are using base cabinets on the right side, correct? So without handles that is three feet, another three feet for the island, on my island that is six feet for aisles, without making allowances for fridge handles, counter etc. You could do a great table type island with a shelf below, it would look great with the aesthetic with the stained glass and the slate table for the sink. Stained glass pendants over the island... I would love that.

  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    Do I see the Dishwasher to the right of the stove in your drawing?

    You have 144" of space.

    Cabinets on the right take up 25.5" so 144" - 25.5 = 118.5"

    You need a minimum of 42" of aisle space in the work zone and that's for a one cook kitchen.

    118.5 - 42 = 76.5"

    You want a 36" island. I'm assuming that is WITHOUT seating since seating at an island at counter height requires a minimum of 41.5". So 76.5" - 36" = 40.5" behind the island. It's doable but tight. If you want seating, it is not doable. You would need a minimum of 48" behind the seating too.

    Travis Johnson thanked cpartist
  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    I dont think we need seating as we are empty-nesters and can eat in the library or formal dining room.


    It will be a small kitchen which sucks, but we are not really huge cooks. My girlfriend burns water, and while i am good if I decide to get serious about it, being empty-nesters we go out to eat 4-5 times a week.


    Last Thangsgiving we did not plan well, and so Dennys, the Chines Restraunt we normally go to, and the truckstops were all closed due to the worker shortage, so we ended up having stale rice krispy cereal.


    I orginally wanted to make the whole back of the house into a kitchen, but think a master bedroom suite nakes more sense. My last house had a 24 x 24 foot kitchen so its going to be small for sure. We are hoping we can invest some in nice materials and make it work though.


  • PRO
    StarCraft Custom Builders
    4 months ago

    A few years ago, a client came into the office with four panels of art glass and asked us to design a kitchen around them. So we did, and this is the result.



    This glass is rare and expensive. The caming (the metal separating the glass pieces) is zinc rather than lead.


    This is more normal lead caming.

    Excuse the photos. We are carpenters, not photographers.

    When we got these panels, they were falling apart. We had to have a local artisan repair them before they could be used.

    As I think several respondents have noted. fancy cabinets in period kitchens were very rare. Before WWII, kitchens were considered utility spaces, like a laundry room, where servants worked. Cabinetry was utilitarian - it stored stuff but was not expected to be pretty.

    Even during the Arts & Crafts period, they were likely be be no more than painted boxes.

    Only after the World War did decorative cabinets move into the kitchen, and these were usually just painted or stained birch.

    When we "reproduce" Craftsman kitchens today, we borrow cabinet features that were never in a kitchen built during the early 1900s. They were built into dining rooms and parlors, but not kitchens.


  • Jenny
    4 months ago

    Apologies, on my island we had not yet had a cup of coffee, never a good idea for doing calculations....


    Travis Johnson thanked Jenny
  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    No apology needed @jenny


    I need copious amounts of caffein myself.


    I am not sure this matters but i have the skills and tooling to make my own cabinets giving me a little more flexibility.


    I did consider putting the sink on the island and having the table free to use as an unspoiled work surface, but it just seems odd to have a sink NOT in front of a window.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 months ago

    I'd leave the sink in front of the window, since I like looking out the window as I clean up/wash dishes and pots. But as CPArtist mentioned, having the DW next to the stove is very impractical, and I would have it to the left or right of the sink, depending on which you prefer and the available space.

    I'd also have the upper cabinets on the stove wall die into the adjacent wall instead of having that angle you show. The angle looks weird and doesn't give you any more storage. You could have that entire run of upper cabinets with glass doors if you like, or in the center of the run.

    After reading your answer as to how you use your kitchen, an island with no seating would be fine, as long as your measurements are accurate. Keep in mind that you need to allow for the countertop overhang in your calculations--I believe 1 1/2" is the norm, so you may have to adjust the island dimensions to allow for that and still have ample aisle space.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago

    Anyone who had the "foresight" of stale cereal for a Thanksgiving meal? Do what makes you happy. A 30 or 33 inch sink base! Store enough dinner ware for six or eight MAX. Ditto glassware.

    An 18 inch DW will hold as much as 24 almost.

    You're not hosting a huge crowd unless food brought in or take out, or it's burned water on cereal?

    Don't get hung up on the ( yes, wise ) efficiency from folks who cook on a big farm, and have the shoot it, eat it. can it thing going.lol.for eight kids and thirty at Thanksgiving. There are EXCEPTIONS........to anything: )

  • Beth Allen
    4 months ago

    I think this all sounds great! The only thing I would do different is change the swing/handedness of the pantry door. Good luck!

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 months ago

    "burned water on cereal" LMAO

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    At least our milk was not sour! 😀😀😀

    Yeah it sucked. We have slways gone to the ssme chinese restraunt for Thanksgiving for years and its always been open. Grrrrrrrr

    For Christmas decided to eat better and went to my girlfriends mothers house, and being bored as we waited for her sister, we searched the internet for houses for sale close to my work. That is how i found this house. We looked at it the next day and bought it four days later.. Maybe if the chinese place had been open we would not have got this place. 😀😀😀

  • cpartist
    4 months ago

    Switch the DW to the left of the sink and call it a day

  • palimpsest
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I had a higher end 18" DW and it held every bit as much as the meh 24" DW that came with this house. I am going 24" here again because I have the room for it, but a good 18" works pretty well.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @cpartist

    I cannot do that because there are no cabinets next to the sink. The sink will be on a table so no dw underneath, and the cabinets to the left is a built in curio cabinet that is period authentic.


  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Just to see what this would look like, we took existing furniture and redid the intended kitchen area with it. I did not have time to move the major appliances, but there is more room than I thought there would be.


    I think my girlfriend needed to see it to get a better understanding of what it would be like. It is nice to see that it will be an easy kitchen to fabricate.






  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    A different view


  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    No updated pictures yet, but we are moving ahead quickly on this project. Over the long holiday weekend i was able to get the wall cut for the in-set refrigerator, got the pantry done, and moved various furniture we had kicking around to make a makeshift kitchen work. We are using it now as our kitchen with only some cabinets, sink and dishwasher to be installed.


    As we move out of the old kitchen, we are making room for the new master suite. I have got a lot of it torn out, as it is a too-the-studs gutjob in there.


    Kind of thought i would see how low of a budget i could go on this and see what kind of transformation I could make with the least amount if money Spent. Anyone can have a nice kitchen spending money, but what is possible using creative thinking and a persons skills instead of a checkbook?


    By repainting some furniture we had, and reusing lumber, so far we got a functioning kitchen for $112.



  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Here is a picture of what $112 netted us thus far. I was able to move the refrigerator and range into the new kitchen easily and with stuff I had kicking around. Paint put some existing cabinets into use.


    One was a kitchen table in our formal dining room. Being empty-nesters we do not have formsl meals often, so we reused a small 2 person table in the library to eat upon. We painted it to match the new kitchen. With the old one, we will use it to mount the kitchen sink. This will enable us to keep the baseboard heat from being blocked and deal with low windows. We painted the base so its mint, the same color the cabinets will be with the same black cherry table/counters.


    Still a lot to do with the following to install:


    Sink

    dishwasher

    cabinets

    counter

    backsplash

    island

    new lights

    redo the hardwood floor

    trim

    wiring


    I dare not guess how much that all will cost but suspect around $5000???


    We shall see!!



  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    Are you doing the plumbing, or having a plumber in to do your pipes? How are you planning on routing the plumbing around the heater?

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    I’ll do everything though i am a high voltage electrician by trade. I am not sure how I will route the plumbing yet. The heater should not be so much of a problem as the basement. We have spray-foamed sills as this is Maine sfterall, and going through the exterior wall would be tough. Maybe brass braided lines tackfully arranged with brass tail waste pipe on the drain?? That would be period correct??

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    I'm not sure you need to worry yourself with period correctness at this point. You seem to be keeping some flavor of the house, but aren't being period with it. But brass might be more attractive than the more usual chrome or PVC would be. Copper can be attractive too, if a bit more time/effort to work with for some. I think your greater worry would be installing plumbing over an electric heater. I'm assuming you aren't pulling any permits or getting inspections done of this work, and likely unconcerned about potential resale issues with this install. Plumbing installed over electric isn't very popular with codes or buyers.

    Even if the basement is sprayed, it might be easier to drill/cut through that than to start having to tear apart walls to install plumbing.

    Travis Johnson thanked beesneeds
  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @beesneeds


    Thanks for the concern but it is NOT an electrical heater.


    Electric heat in Maine would be way too impractical with our cold weather. The heater in question is hydronic baseboard and is fitted to a fuel oil/wood/coal boiler.


    You may be right about the insulation though. It is one of those things where you get an idea on how things should go, and then go down into the basement and the whole plan gets tossed out.


    I am fortunate in that our town never adopted any building codes. Other than making sure i am tied into the septic system, we can build as we please.

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @beesneeds

    I really do not know where the line should be on period correct.

    We had a house once that was set up for the 1930,s and went all out. It literally looked like my great grabdmothers home. For the stuff we could not live without, like the TV, we hid inside a covered bookcase where doors could be shut, cloaked the refrigerator to look like an old one with motor on top, etc. We got some amazing authentic looking photos, and It looked great, but was a very uncomfortable house to live in.

    With this house, I try and be pretty historic. I spend the money on proper trim with wide moldings, etc and keep the overall look of the house like having an old musket above the fireplace mantle, but I am not going to let a stainless refrigerator bother me.

    Where the line is with old versus new is hard to say. A museum curator would shoot me, but yet so would my teenage daughters if I appeased the curator 😀😀😀

  • Travis Johnson
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Cara Fidler


    I was thinking with the library adjacent to the kitchen maybe for the uppermost stained cabinets have the same rail as library ladder so i can use that for access. I would still not put everyday items up there, but it would allow me some storage and help me get double duty out if the library ladder.