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Old 01-16-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


So, I recently purchased a complete kitchen suite (fridge, range, dishwasher, OTR microwave) from a big box store. But I ran into installation issues with my OTR microwave.

My current cabinet over the stove is 18" H X 30" W. My new microwave is 17.25" H and mounting it under this cabinet would only give it 13" from the bottom of the microwave to the stovetop.

Way too close!

I have a cabinet over the fridge that is 15"H X 30"W. I can't just swap the two because the 18"H cabinet will not give enough clearance for the fridge.

However, I could swap them for each other AND raise each 3" above the other existing cabinets. That would give me 19" of clearance from the bottom of the microwave to the stovetop.

Or I can go thru the trouble of raising the other 3 sections of cabinets 3" so instead of 18" from the countertops they would be 21".

It's a small kitchen (relatively speaking) with overall dimensions 9' X 9' with really only that one wall of upper cabinets and a 33" W cabinet at the "L".

My question is one more of design. I want to install crown moulding regardless.
If I swap and raise both of those shorter cabinets, those sections will have 3" clearance from the ceiling while the other three will have 6" clearance. Should I build up that 3" on the other cabinets and then finish off with crown moulding? Or should I install crown moulding keeping the cabinets at differing heights at the top?

I have seen pictures with the differing heights, but none with a "forced" level like I am talking about so the line of sight is even across the top of the cabinets.

What are your thoughts?


Last edited by allbymyself; 01-16-2011 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


Maybe I could just install a 3-4" decorative moulding on top of the lower cabinets and then finish off with even crown moulding either to the ceiling or within an inch for a shadow line?

I even thought maybe custom making a wine shelf above each lower cabinet that would hold a single row of 4-5 bottles of wine and then finishing off like above thought.

I think it might look alright with staggered height since it would be every other cabinet and work to close off the virtually unusable 6" space that exists now between top of cabinets and ceiling.

Still looking for anyone's input/experience.

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:36 AM   #3
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


Can you post a picture? I think a separate crown on the high cabinets would look good--

Get a sample of your trim before raising the cabinets--make sure the lower trim will not run into the upper one.--Mike--
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #4
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


Knowing that it's a big job any way you slice it, I think- the one over the fridge should work. 16" clearance is common.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
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Knowing that it's a big job any way you slice it, I think- the one over the fridge should work. 16" clearance is common.
thank you, Dwoodsmith...you're right it will be a challenge any way I slice it....my ultimate goal is to not sink a whole lot of money into it, use what I have but provide an upgraded look for my outdated condo kitchen (with the intent that it won't be my dream kitchen, but appealing to the eye of potential buyers...which in my condos are singletons or young marrieds with possibly baby on the way or 1 child already, looking for a transitional place not quite ready for total homeownership).

If I use the cabinet over the fridge for over the range and mount it flush with the other cabinets to get the 16" clearance from the stovetop....then I won't have a cabinet over the fridge....as the 18" H cabinet that I would be replacing over the range is too tall for over my fridge....which started the wheels turning about switching them but mounting them both 3" higher than the other cabinets. (I'm trying to avoid buying a cabinet which will lead to mismatched doors which will lead to wanting to reface all my cabinets...well, you get the picture

I guess I could just buy a 12" H cabinet, and remove the doors....what ideas have you seen with that? I could mount a 12"H X 30"W cabinet there...flush with the top of the existing cabinets....take the doors off, cut the center piece out...but then I am left with an exposed 12" H shelf (essentially) above the micro and range....maybe I could install a stemware rack in that open cabinet??

What have you guys seen in your travels?
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:13 PM   #6
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


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Can you post a picture? I think a separate crown on the high cabinets would look good--

Get a sample of your trim before raising the cabinets--make sure the lower trim will not run into the upper one.--Mike--
thanks oh'mike for your thoughts....I will try to post a picture but be kind....this is NOT a showroom kitchen....just basic painted cabinets with updated brushed nickel hardware, new appliances, and a work in progress...

I have already ripped the top trim off in preparation for what I plan to do...that's why the dark line (the cabinets were stained very dark prior)
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


I used to think different levels of cabinet tops looked wrong but I see that it is done a lot these days includint the crown molding. Just check out picture online and you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand if you really want to keep them at the same level, you can probably match the doors you have as well as the paint pretty easily.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


like this stemware rack in a cabinet.
OR in the spaces provided between the raised and lowered cabinets install this type of bottle rack?
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:45 PM   #9
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allbymyself,

Staggered height cabinets can look nice when done intentionally. Usually the bottoms line up flush across the layout and the raised cabinets are usually a few inches deeper so you can terminate your crown on either side without any challenges. I think you could make it work by doing exactly what you have described. I realize it is not your dream kitchen, however I think I would hesitate a little before I just started adjusting the heights of those two cabinets. If you do adjust them you might consider spacing them off the wall to give them a bumped forward look. You would need to move the microwave forward as well so I am not sure that is the best solution although, I have seen it done nicely.

I know you want to use the parts you have but, have you investigated the cost to just purchase a replacement W1230 from the home center. You might even ask your designer if they will credit you anything for the existing cabinet even though it has been installed. I have witnessed some of the stores go above and beyond when it comes to things like this. Check the cost for the cabinet and see if shipping it to the store will save some shipping costs.

My final thought would be to consider cutting the existing 18" tall cabinet down to 12" and just using it as an open cabinet above the microwave. you would need to putty a few hinge holes and be careful cutting it down but that is also a solution I have helped customers with in the past. You could even just order 12" doors for it from the home center but I don't think it would save you much over the cost of an entire cabinet.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:54 PM   #10
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


That stem ware rack might fit nicely in a 12" cabinet if you decided to cut it down. usually those racks are installed under one of your uppers just above the counter. If you want to display your stemware it can be a nice accessory to add to your cabinets.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jim F View Post
I used to think different levels of cabinet tops looked wrong but I see that it is done a lot these days includint the crown molding. Just check out picture online and you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand if you really want to keep them at the same level, you can probably match the doors you have as well as the paint pretty easily.
Thanks, Jim!
I also was confused when I first started looking at pictures online with differing cabinet heights....it is done more frequently than I imagined.....however, they seem to look the best in very large kitchens with high ceilings...

Unfortunately, I have neither of those, so I'm afraid if I do raise the two it will look like I didn't do it intentionally, like dansbell pointed out, but to cheap out and not get new cabinets....

**sigh**

ok, so let's take stock here:
  • beer budget, but nice, crisp pinot grigio taste (not quite champagne, too poor....lol)
  • reuse existing material as much as possible, but could afford $100-$200 (looking to keep under $5000 total...already have $2000 in appliances, will spend $500-$1000 in flooring....then countertops...oy ve)
  • low sweat equity (not afraid of moving all the damn cabinets up 3", but would prefer not to have to...I am very busy outside of this upgrade...and exhausted already from searching the internet until the wee hours for answers/ideas)...so LEHI....Low Effort, High Impact.

I'm starting to think my best bet is an unfinished 12" H X 30" W cabinet for the space....$50-$100 my guess from pricing them...
I'm not sure I can get doors matched so easily (read: cheaply)...they appear to be what seems to be a standard Windsor raised panel, but I have yet to see something comparable....what do you think an estimate for (2) 12" H custom-matched doors would cost?

See? Now I am tip-toeing the line of refacing.....I'll want all new streamlined, updated, contemporary doors......grrrrrrrr.....one thing always leads to another..........

I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle resizing my 18" cabinet....and this will sound insane to most of you, I'm sure...but could I accomplish this with just a jigsaw?
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:28 PM   #12
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could I accomplish this with just a jigsaw?
My instinct is no. I think it could be done with a jig saw, straightedge and and a good hand saw. I usually start on the table saw and then move to a thin kerf hand pull saw. It is an art to get it done and have it look good. If a jig saw is your only woodworking saw, attempting to cut down the cabinet and rebuild it might not be the best approach. it is one you will have to judge based on your skill level and ability to think through the process of cutting the cabinet apart and reassembling it.

Did you call the store to find out what a W1230 would cost?
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:45 PM   #13
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My instinct is no. I think it could be done with a jig saw, straightedge and and a good hand saw. I usually start on the table saw and then move to a thin kerf hand pull saw. It is an art to get it done and have it look good. If a jig saw is your only woodworking saw, attempting to cut down the cabinet and rebuild it might not be the best approach. it is one you will have to judge based on your skill level and ability to think through the process of cutting the cabinet apart and reassembling it.

Did you call the store to find out what a W1230 would cost?
I didn't think so (regarding, jig saw) but thought I would ask...I am pretty handy and resourceful, as well as able to understand the concepts of sizing down an item 3-dimensionally...but I am thinking, for the time invested a new cabinet might not be that bad of an option.

I didn't call the store about a W3012 cabinet, but I have been pricing them out all along.....$67 is the lowest.....but then the crap unmatching doors have to be factored in...and a W1230 has a lowest list of $44.....

my head hurts..I have the next two days off and wanted to accomplish the OTR install...but I might shift to the wainscot in the powder room......

focus....stay focused....
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:27 PM   #14
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


I don't think you have to resize your 18". It's only 3" taller and it looks like you have more than 2" between the fridge and cabinet. Mount it all the way down to the fridge. The crown moulding will hide a difference at the top. If the tops of the doors are noticeably different just them a little lower or do the stemware thing. That's the best use of those over the fridge cabinets i've seen. The doors are always blocked by clutter.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:19 AM   #15
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Kitchen cabinet conundrum


allbymyself,
I don't think you are! I also raised a cabinet over the range in my kitchen yesterday, becasue of the over the range microwave. I am staring at it today trying to figure out how to do the crown moulding.

Here is a link I found with one solution:
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_bas...cabinets_2.jpg
I am not sure I want that look, but it is a start. Maybe others will post alternatives.

Also a newbie,
George

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