Dining Kitchen

Why 39 inch high wall cabinets should not be used.

With the objective of maximum storage space, Inexperienced kitchen designers and homeowners often design kitchens using 39 inch high wall cabinets. This is both a costly and unsightly mistake for homeowners with kitchen ceilings that are eight feet high (96 inches) or so.  Here’s why.  

Most walls and ceilings are not level

Failing to take into account that walls and ceilings are rarely level is the first mistake inexperienced designers and homeowners make if they’re considering 39 inch cabinets with eight feet (or so) high celings.  Experienced kitchen designers know that most kitchens are at least an inch off level and plum. Not accounting for this will make crown moldings unattractive. And, because this size cabinet is rarely used by professionals, the cost is higher – often 25% up to 50% more?!

How to do it right-

Using stacked crown moldings and 36 inch high wall cabinets in a room close to 96 inches high looks better. It also can cost much less. See the photograph below of a common stacked crown molding. If you look very closely you can see that the height of the ceiling is slightly higher on the right than on the left. Because of this, more of the flat riser is exposed on the right than on the left.

Two piece crown molding
Two piece crown molding disguises the ceiling being slightly unlevel.

Had 39″ high wall cabinets been used in the design above, the molding on the right would have been at least 1/4 inch away from the ceiling.

This would create a large calk line and looked unsightly. The two piece molding is also more attractive than a smaller molding would have been.

One inch out of level across an entire kitchen is a common dimension. 

The kitchen below is only 1/4 inch out of level and uses 39″ wall cabinets. Look closely –  you can see the crown molding touching the ceiling over the refrigerator and 1/4 ich away on the right side of the photo. The differences would be 100% more visible with the level just another 1/4 inch off.  

Notice the 1/4 inch gap between the molding and the ceiling on the right.

The designer of the kitchen below did NO favors for the homeowners.  

As is often the case, when we see one mistake, there are many. 

Do you see any other mistakes the designer made in this kitchen? 

You would NOT get this kitchen from Main Line Kitchen Design! 

The homeowner who bought this kitchen was short.

This is why the sink area is higher than the cooktop. The designer couldn’t lower the sink because the height of the dishwasher dictates the height of the countertop. Lowering the cooking area may seem like a good idea for a short person but no one who is normal height or tall will ever buy this home.

The hood is also very low and shallow.  This makes it difficult for taller people to see what they are cooking.  The unusual dimensions also make it less efficient catching smoke and grease from anything cooking on the front burners, which are not under the hood.

And while the designer appeared to adjust the cooktop for the shorter homeowner, the oven is unusually high with multiple drawers below it??

Imagine the shorter cook opening the oven door. He or she will burn their arms on the oven door reaching inside the oven when it is placed so high. Only French door style ovens can be used at this height.

There are also going to be a lot of spills in this kitchen.  Placing the faucet on the corner of the island sink allows the faucet to pour water onto the countertop when the faucet is pivoted to the right.

The designer was able to make these mistakes – most of which are quite costly, by having the homeowner purchase more expensive, custom cabinetry. Today, this kitchen – with these cabinets would run $60,000 in cabintery alone. WHAT A WASTE!

Kitchen designers should help their customers get better kitchens and not just give people what they want when it doesn’t make sense and hurts the value of their home.

Avoiding 39 inch cabinets is just the first step and reason to only work with qualified kitchen designers.  Feel free to learn more about our designers in the video below:

Looking forward to working with you on a beautiful, functional and most importantly mistake free kitchen.  Until then, 

Bon Appetit!