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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Open kitchen counter - kitchen height or bar height?

imlaurelJanuary 30, 2013
I love the look of a wide counter eat-at counter but like a bar height counter to hide mess and reduce splatter from stove. Our stove will be on the kitchen side. Our dining room is about 12 x 12.
Need people's experiences with open kitchens.
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Kaplan Architects, AIA
If the stove is going to be on an open peninsula the hood ventilation becomes a consideration. Usually exhaust hoods function better when they are up against a wall. Cross currents tend to disrupt the exhaust on a more open area.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Ironwood Builders
Open kitchens with a raised bar are popular for keeping the mess of the kitchen out of site of the formal dining area. Doesn't help when your guests are sitting at the bar anyway! The raised bar can infer, like a hood or pendent lighting, ceiling beams or soffits, a separate area or room (see the Not So Big House Book by Sarah Susanka). A single level counter top seems to be a popular trend, but then, in magazines and professional photos, there is no mess to hide. Issues with this style are location of code required outlets...how do we make those look really clean and nice? Plumbing, electrical and ventilation are also issues. Regarding island or peninsula hoods, all hood manufacturers offer some version of their hoods for these locations. They tend to be larger and have stronger suction to compensate for their location.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:02AM
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nFORMAL design
Not sure what is really being asked here. You are asking what height the counters should be at? Open counters are great, but part of your message seems to suggest open kitchen layout. Which are you asking about? Maybe you want to put in an island? Would love to help, but the wording and the image of your layout loses me a little.

If you are wanting to open the kitchen up where the stove is and not make that a full height wall, I'd agree with Kaplan above on the hood. However, depending on your situation, you could get a really nice, retractable down draft. If the fan pulls enough CFM and the duct work is leak free, you could make it work.

Is the question about the counter height away from the stove...should it be bar height or typical counter height? That is personal preference. I have strong opinions because I'm very tall. Also, I like bar height because that puts me almost at eye level with the person on the other side.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:10AM
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JDM Countertops, Inc.
I recommend a raised bar top, even though all-one level peninsulas and islands are more of the trend. I personally have a raised bar top island, and guests love to sit there. The kitchen side of the counter is still a functional work space, which is great to entertain and work in the kitchen simultaneously.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:19AM
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The wall between the dining room and kitchen is gone now!. We have a pony wall, but seeing the one-level counters on Houzz is making me second guess my decision. There is no place else to put the stove--the other walls are all taken. Anyway, all wiring and gas lines are in place now.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:25PM
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nFORMAL design
Have you already bought the stove? I still think that either way you go a downdraft hood is the best choice...if you aren't cooking but in the kitchen, you don't have an obtrusive hood in your face.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:09PM
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We would have preferred a downdraft, because I didn't want a stainless monstrosity in my face, but cost and bad reviews decided us against them. We found a very simple hood with a slender chimney and we will have it installed so it is the max we can put it above the stove. Thought about skipping a hood altogether (we don't fry or deep fry) but they are required in San Diego.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 7:56PM
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nFORMAL design
Laurel (I'm assuming)...at least you thought about it. San Diego, huh? I have a friend out of La Jolla named Chris Burgin. He goes between Chapel Hill, NC and San Diego. He loves to cook and I'm sure would be good advice. He own's an interior design firm with offices in both places.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:05PM
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N Dobos Architecture
I would change the layout. Put the fridge into the recess above (can't read what you were going to have there, the dimension say 52") with a pantry next to it and move the stove on the opposite side (were the fridge is shown now). In this way you don't need to worry about hood blocking your view.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:14PM
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It's too late to change the layout. All the wiring is in and cabinets are being made. We originally had the refrigerator on the top wall and then realized it would be a long walk from the counters to the frig and no counter next to the frig to set things on.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:51AM
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