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Counter top height

grandpabuilder's picture

I will be starting a kitchen remodel, and will probably lead to a complete new bath as well. Here is my question......

The family is tall, the shortest being 5' 11", the tallest being 6'4". So as can be expected, the first thing requested were cabinets and counters, sink height, food prep area, custom island, etc. that will be comforable for taller family members. Being over 6' myself, I understand having 'been there' myself. I remember in a FHB there was a scale for custom counters and cabinets. I can picture it in my mind, it was based off the elbow. Arms at the side, bent at the elbow, forearms parallel with the floor, palms down. I've dug through my entire library, and can't find it. Does anyone know what the scale is or know where i can find it (or what issue of FHB).

 Thanks in advance.


FWIW, I'm 5-9 and fairly (post #205285, reply #1 of 6)

FWIW, I'm 5-9 and fairly normal build.  Our kitchen counter (35.5") is about 3" below my waist and 6" below my elbow.  I could stand it an inch higher, but it's perfect for my wife who is a couple of inches shorter than I am.  (BTW, we don't tend to wear shoes in the kitchen.)

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

gp (post #205285, reply #2 of 6)

When you raise the base cabinets, be aware what it can do to the distance between them and the uppers.

Normal distance between-18" .   Anything below 16 and you start having trouble with the counter appliances and other clutter.

If you are limited by a soffit at 7' or taller uppers that run to the ceiling and are topped with larger crown, re-think the distance you raise the base cabs.


Also, the DW .  This might raise it up beyond the lower panel cover.  I don't like the look of the lower panels usually on a DW and some like Fisher-Paykel even allow you to use toe kick material fastened to their bottom bracket.

If using a normal DW w/o that option, I'll fasten velcro to the metal lower panel and the backside of a pc of toe kick material.  This continues the color/finish line of the cab. toekick, yet still allows you to remove the panel for service.


The couple I've raised for families only took the countertop to 38" .  Any more than that and you start getting too high for resale.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Yeah, and you want to be a (post #205285, reply #3 of 6)

Yeah, and you want to be a little careful about raising the upper cabinets.  The middle shelf is already a hair too high for most people, and the folks in your tall family may have gotten used to the convenience of having them relatively lower.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

There is no law that says (post #205285, reply #4 of 6)

There is no law that says counters must be 36" high. You can make them any height you want, however, appliances are made for the standard height. If you jack the cabinets up, you will need a filler over the dishwasher. If you have a stand alone range, it will be below the countertop. Neither is a big deal and having a wood filler over the DW to connect to can be great with stone counters. I raised my own cabinets 2", the CT hits me just below my belt buckle, seems about right.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Pick the sink first (post #205285, reply #5 of 6)

When I did my kitchen I picked the sink first, and then built the cabinet so that the bottom of the sink is at my knuckels with my arms hanging down.  This has made doing the dishes, doable without making my low back ache. 

Which made the counter tops 38-inches.   

The dishwasher is set in low, with a pull out cutting board mounted above it.  

A quick update.... The (post #205285, reply #6 of 6)

A quick update....

The counter top will be at 38". The stove and dishwasher will be sitting on a 2" platform (hidden behind the toe kicker). The undecided part for right now is ...keep the narrower toe kick and increase the height of the bottom drawers/cupboard, or increase the toe kick height 2" and install drawers in the toe kick. (I'm opting for the latter, because you can never have enough storage. But I'm not the guy making the final decision)