Options for a kitchen design with no window over the sink.
Our kitchen design process has been like a presidential campaign: full of passionate idealism that evaporated in the face of reality.
Paul has been cast as John McCain… a man who was doing just fine until he saddled himself with a woman who could see Russia from her house.
And for the record, I CAN see Russia. It is giant. And suitably fancy. And populated by people who have a historical flair for hats and dictators.
огромные причудливые украшения!!
Not everyone is keen on the dictatorship part.
Especially when the dictator swans in and waves her hands and says—no, no, this is ALL wrong… Stop until further notice. I need to go lie down in total silence with the cat.
Please don’t bother me until the hats are delivered.
But if YOU are the dictator, congratulations!
If you have planned your dictatorship correctly, your subjects will be unable to rally support from outside sources/are powerless to overthrow you anytime soon/you can put whatever you want over your sink and no one can stop you.
If you look at the preliminary mockups for our kitchen remodel… you’ll see that originally, I thought I would come around to upper-cabinets on the sink wall.
They are practical and offer things like storage; which I hear people value in a kitchen.
But ultimately, I’ve decided I don’t like the idea of boxing out/bulking up that wall… I want to keep the sink wall as OPEN as possible.
At first, the solution seemed to be open shelving, possibly glass; to make them as unobtrusive as possible… and also because I fell MADLY IN LOVE with these shelving brackets.
However, my love will remain unrequited, because at nearly $1,000 PER UNIT, that is not happening.
Despite Self’s immediate and wholehearted embrace of bankruptcy-in-exchange-for-giant-fancy-things… those things must be OLD.
If I tried to convince Paul to spend that kind of money, it would be on something antique/complete crap. Not on something new and clean that functions well and serves a purpose.
I spent some time trying to find a substitute more inline with our budget… but ultimately decided that the LAST thing I need is to be cleaning a bunch of superlong glass shelves. No matter HOW MUCH I might love that hardware.
But how great is that mirror BEHIND the shelving? It brightens up the space SO MUCH, and totally guarantees that cleaning is even more of an utter nightmare!
So then I moved on to Carrera marble shelves… Because I’m practical like that.
Ok… I think I’ve lost control of this post.
You are probably not still reading.
Just look at the photos.
index of all kitchen remodel posts
9 million more kitchens on my pinterest board
November 4, 2015 @ 10:11 am
As a goddess (pays better than dictator and has a better wardrobe but not as many shoes), you can put anything you like and omit anything you don’t want. I’m totally okay with that.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:13 am
I sooooooo wanted open shelves when we built our home 3 years ago. But my John McCain did not. As the kitchen/family room is open concept he thought it would look cluttered 🙁 . I do love the way my kitchen turned out but….I’m slowly acquiring all white dishes in the hopes of someday removing the lower cabinet doors and having open shelving. Perhaps he won’t notice…Kinda like Syria hasn’t notice Putin ;D
November 4, 2015 @ 10:14 am
Great inspiration photos! I love the idea of the marble shelves and they would look fabulous in your space!
November 4, 2015 @ 10:18 am
A marvelous cook friend of mine is a fine-arts painter with a work background in design. In other words, she can pretty much turn her hands to anything. She envisioned a marble slab over her kitchen sink island to keep glassware etc. It would have been expensive to buy; superheavy and thus even more expensive to install; and probably would have brought down her early 18th northern New England roof beams, which would have been really expensive. So instead she made a marble slab: she painted a trompe l’oeil marble slab. It looks fabulous–I’ve spent many hours at her island (washing dishes, prepping vegetables, drinking wine) and it took me about 10 years that it was fake. Her one expense was the ironmongery to hang it: there are substantial hand-forged supports from the beams that also support (ha ha) the illusion that there’s something really heavy there. One of her neighbors is a blacksmith, though, and I suspect, what with a little bartering going on, the ironwork was not that huge an expense.
November 4, 2015 @ 2:46 pm
I think I HAVE to see a picture of this now!
November 4, 2015 @ 3:21 pm
Oh Tatticoram, you made me laugh out loud with your comment…. what a terrific friend you have and how clever she is!
I did a similar trick – we have real (horrendously heavy) 1.5in marble boards over the iron radiators (our house dates from 1920 and has 1001 original Victorian details such as beautifully decorated heavy radiators) – and one day we came back to our home finding a break over the width of the largest 4.5ft long shelf. I nearly fainted…. The house sitter was standing on it to take photos of the garden! No, I’m not going to invite them again…. Bought a roll of heavy self-sticking plastic with a great marble effect BUT couldn’t get myself to attack the problem. My ‘durable provisional solution’ is to put something cleverly over the ‘ridge’ of the damaged marble and being annoyed that I let this get to me still after many years!
November 5, 2015 @ 10:58 am
I just called my friend–don’t have a picture but she tells me her “marble” slab is made out of a cheapo skinny hollow door! And she pointed out there are two more slender ones in the kitchen holding some of her small sculptures and her husband’s pots . . . . . Her trompe l’oeil definitely fooled mine.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:19 am
I would look for a nice leaded glass window to hang as art behind the sink over the tiles. Simulates a window, brings in the art and metal touch to room.
November 4, 2015 @ 12:48 pm
I heartily second Jen’s idea of a nice leaded glass window to hang as art behind the sink.
November 5, 2015 @ 8:22 am
There are already two windows on that wall, so no one needs that colorful clutter back there, right?
November 4, 2015 @ 10:28 am
Is it weird that I have been awaiting with bated breath each new step in this kitchen remodel process? Seriously, this is quite the exercise in patience for me, and I cannot WAIT to see how it turns out!!! Also, you might be my spirit animal.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am
I had a nothing budget for my kitchen “remodel” (I use that term lightly) and I absolutely didn’t want any closed off above the sink. It would just feel so cramped to me. I kept nothing there for a few years, then got some crap shelves and made them pretty with vintage glassware, art, and a plant that died (but still sits there). I had envisioned a mirror to open up the space (my kitchen is maybe 9×11, I don’t know, not big enough for GFTs), but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror while doing dishes, and that’s just not how I want to see myself. I think that an antiqued mirror with open shelving in front would be pretty.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am
I suggest using mirrored tiles instead of a mirror to soften the look, just in the area behind the sink set at 4″ above the counter going to the top of that wall. This will give the illusion of depth and space needed to avoid the feeling of being too close too the wall, and will add the illusion of more space to the area by the softer reflection.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:19 am
Beveled mirror tiles could look quite rich, but, please, avoid the flat ones, or the veined ones. Just one woman’s opinion. (I have terrible visions of a 70’s psychedelic smokey den, reflected in broken veins of gold….shudder!)
November 11, 2015 @ 2:23 am
Plus, I think some elegant wrought iron shelving in front of the mirrors could not only look Giant and Fancy, but could also support an occasional curious kitty.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am
Sorry to sound practical, but since my cat (Hemingway) is athletic, open shelving would not be my first choice. He already jumps on top of my kitchen cabinets, and used to jump on top of my entertainment center, until I moved his leaping off point too far away for such shenanigans. I have friends who say that their cats don’t get up on the counters/cabinets in the kitchen! And I say, right, when you are there, they don’t. They are cats! Also, as someone who feels like she spends way too much time at the kitchen sink, be sure you get some good light over it. You don’t want to be washing the dishes over and over again because you can’t see that they are not quite clean. BTW, I do love your ideas and decorating style, so I don’t mean to be negative.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:34 am
You have probably already considered this in your marble shelf search, but I think that you could possibly use marble door or window sills as your “shelf” if you found a suitably fancy bracket to hold them with…..
Naturally, I don’t speak from actual experience using marble sills. I try not to get bogged down by stuff like “experience”, but, it is something I’ve been fantasizing about for what I call my virtual kitchen. Full disclosure, my kitchen reno has been delightful, but I ran out of energy for it before picking a backsplash and my final floating shelves (which necessarily must be installed after a backsplash, so, it pains me to report that I have an IKEA special for floating shelves in the meantime- functional but boring). But, from the neck down, my kitchen reno is perfect cabinet, appliance and counter-wise.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:37 am
I don’t care for open shelving because I don’t want to keep dishes that eat off of dusted. I like this one, design galleria, for appearance and I would put plants or something like that on the shelves. I notice every one of your inspiration photos is white shaker type cabinets. Is that where you’re going?
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
November 4, 2015 @ 10:41 am
Yes, white… with glass-front uppers, at least on the range wall. Probably my favorite photo in this whole post is the very first one.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:50 am
The first one! YES!
November 4, 2015 @ 11:17 am
To pipe up as someone who bought a house with open shelving already installed….. My first thought was that it would have to go, as I wouldn’t be able to live without having closed storage space, for both the dust/grease and clutter reasons. But – it has become my favorite thing about my kitchen. I think so much of it has to do with what you store and how you use your kitchen, obviously. We keep our glasses, mugs and bowls on the shelves and I have absolutely no problem with dust. The glasses and bowls are all clear glass, so I would be able to see if they are getting dusty. I don’t know if we just use these things at 10 times the rate of everyone else, but I have no sense that they get any dirtier than they would in closed cabinets. I use my kitchen every day, and love how convenient everything is – I can grab 90% of what I need within a step or two. I am not at all trying to convince anyone that open shelving is superior – I just want people who may be considering it to not get scared off by the dust refrain, and to know that it can work well in a working kitchen – it doesn’t have to just be a display of perfectly curated items, like the second picture, as lovely as that is.
November 4, 2015 @ 2:16 pm
I had open shelves installed in my kitchen on either side of the sink. Next to each set of shelves is a closed cabinet with appliance garage. I didn’t want acres of open shelves because of the cleanliness factor, and these have been perfect. Our everyday china is on them, and tea cups and pots, and some Delft pieces on the top shelf that can’t easily be reached. It works perfectly and is extremely easy and convenient. All the things are pretty and attractively arranged–which, once you’ve done the arranging, is very easy to maintain. The shelves are not fancy, nor are the supports–just wood painted to match the woodwork–but the effect is lovely. Those marble shelves are beautiful, but the weight! And then the weight of the stuff on them! And everyone is going to oooh and ahhh over your island to such an extent that they will never notice the details of your shelves. (You will, of course, and that matters too.) Yielding the desire for multiple GFTs in a kitchen that really has to be practical if you intend to cook anything in it may be difficult, but you already won the war: the island was your big win, and everything else is just a skirmish.
November 4, 2015 @ 3:25 pm
Rachel, exactly my experience too! Had open glass shelves for my glass thingie collection, fancy wine glasses, bowls etc and never had a problem. Had also cabinets with frosted glass doors for the dishes, again, no problem and wonderful fresh look. Miss my beautiful English kitchen very much still now, two houses later!!!!
November 4, 2015 @ 10:40 am
You have not yet hit upon THE THING. Which you will know when you see it.
That is all.
November 4, 2015 @ 11:30 am
This!! Yes. Don’t think you are there yet, but you will, and then your John McCain (and the real one too for that matter) better just do as he is told.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:43 am
All of these sink-with-no-window-over kitchens are fabulous, gorgeous, breathtaking. However, I spend so much time at my sink and look outside the whole time I’m there so I personally don’t like not having a window over my sink. I’ve had five windowless sink kitchens and haven’t enjoyed them a bit. They didn’t look anything like these kitchens though…..
November 4, 2015 @ 10:44 am
When I was 19, I spent one summer in England taking care of a very old lady. I spent a lot of time in front of a kitchen sink with no window. I hated it! My solution then was to put up poems I wanted to memorize and some postcards of paintings that were interesting to look for extended periods. And I listened to a lot of Radio 4. These were good solutions for a temporarily-housed teenager but hardly glam!
November 4, 2015 @ 10:47 am
Most people are not aware that carrera marble has lead in it.
November 4, 2015 @ 10:49 am
I am sure you will figure it all out and it will be grand!! But I love the piano. Is it complete yet? Can we see pictures of it. You are still going to use the piano right?
November 4, 2015 @ 10:59 am
As a lady who buys and sells turn of the century Victorian bath fixtures and hardware for virtually zero profit solely because she loves to touch and hold them, I can wholly appreciate your hesitation to drop a grand on anything new like those urban archaeology shelving units. HOWEVER, as I also died over the open sheves in the perfume designer’s green kitchen, I will let you know that there is a used Waterworks 3 shelf glass unit on ebay right now for 400 obo. You could always try mercury glass (look up krylon looking glass mercury tutorial, its fabulous) on the shelves to solve the constant cleaning issue while avoiding the weight/cost of marble. I love your updates and cant wait to see the direction you end up choosing. Good luck!!
November 4, 2015 @ 11:03 am
And if you’re comitted to staying true to period, I have a feeling your husband could fashion shelf brackets spanning across 2 Brasscrafters/San O La/JL Mott/ Art Brass Co./ Huber towel rods hung vertically and parallel to eachother.
November 4, 2015 @ 11:03 am
I think most dictators have a cleaning staff. Seems like you deserve this, too. Can you work that into your kitchen budget? Because the servants could take care of cleaning the glass and mirrors while you lay with the cat. Problems solved.
November 4, 2015 @ 11:04 am
I absolutely adore you!!
November 4, 2015 @ 11:28 am
I vote Cararra marble shelves. Let’s face it, as the “queen of fancy things”……you don’t have time for such mundane tasks as dusting glass shelves! Mirror above the sink, well then you can daily chant “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…..who’s the fairest of them all?” It will be lovely and unique whatever you do!