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quiltgirl_gw

To 'toe kick' or not

quiltgirl
9 years ago

I have noticed in some pictures of kitchens that the cabinets do not have toe kicks. Also, that part of the cabinet is higher than the average toe kick. I do have an old store counter in my temporary kitchen that does not have a toe kick and it seems to be fine. I was wondering if any of you have eliminated the toe kick on your cabinets, and if so, have you had any issues? Here is a picture that might show it better than I am explaining it.

Traditional Kitchen design by Other Metros Interior Designer In Detail Interiors

Comments (25)

  • breezygirl
    9 years ago

    I thought about it, but then noticed several times while prepping that my toes do end up under the toe kick. I think I would have been fine with it in certain areas, just not at the sink and prep area.

  • jenny_from_the_block
    9 years ago

    In our last house, we had a master bathroom vanity made, as well as one for our kids' bathroom. The cabinet maker did not put a toe kick in the master bath vanity. I think he made a mistake because the kids' vanity had a toe kick. I always thought they were standard. Anyhow I found it to be slightly uncomfortable and I never got 100% used to it, my toes were always banging up against it. In the bathroom though I was often leaning forward to get close to the mirror to pluck eyebrows or put on makeup, wash face, what have you. In a kitchen where you are more often standing upright, and not leaning over the counter, it might be more bearable.

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  • ci_lantro
    9 years ago

    Long time ago, we rented an old farm house where the kitchen didn't have toe kicks. I ab-so-lute-ly hated it. Forces you to stand farther away from your work so you lean over to compensate. Not at all back friendly. Plus, the fronts of the cabs got scuffed up from the toe bumps.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    9 years ago

    I think a toe-kick is an absolute must. Try with and without and I think you will agree..

  • ci_lantro
    9 years ago

    Long time ago, we rented an old farm house where the kitchen didn't have toe kicks. I ab-so-lute-ly hated it. Forces you to stand farther away from your work so you lean over to compensate. Not at all back friendly. Plus, the fronts of the cabs got scuffed up from the toe bumps.

    There is an important functional reasons for toe kicks.

    If you look closely, you'll note that a lot of European cabs have even taller toe-kicks than is conventional on this side of the pond. Around 5 inches, IIRC. That much seems a little extreme but then maybe they wear a lot of snow boots in the house or something. Haven't quite figured that out!

  • ci_lantro
    9 years ago

    Long time ago, we rented an old farm house where the kitchen didn't have toe kicks. I ab-so-lute-ly hated it. Forces you to stand farther away from your work so you lean over to compensate. Not at all back friendly. Plus, the fronts of the cabs got scuffed up from the toe bumps.

    IMO, the lack of toe kicks is all about 'The Look'. There is an important functional reasons for toe kicks. I'd wager that you would regret not having them and, if not, the next owner of your kitchen will think a lot of unkind thoughts about you! Don't lose sight of the fact that a kitchen is, first and foremost, a work environment. Don't foresake ergonomics for a fashion trend.

    If you look closely, you'll note that a lot of European cabs have even taller toe-kicks than is conventional on this side of the pond. Around 5 inches, IIRC. That much seems a little extreme but then maybe they wear a lot of snow boots in the house or something. Haven't quite figured that out!

  • quiltgirl
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Yes it is all about the look. I do not think it would be a problem for me since I have a nine foot long cabinet now that has no toe kick. I have not really noticed any discomfort, but then I have "short" feet! However, the scuffing up part is what I do not like. I was thinking of just having one cabinet without the toe kick. It is a hutch looking piece that I have in mind that will hold dishes and glassware at the end of a run. Maybe I will put some ball feet on it or something instead. Thanks for the comments! As usual, you are all so very helpful! More advice will be sought as I try to get this kitchen done before I die!

  • freckles
    9 years ago

    I strongly prefer the no toe-kick look. Yes, it is an aesthetic preference, but I really like things to look grounded. Several folks here have kitchens without toe kicks and seem plenty happy - see Celineike, Cotehele, and Katieob (her old kitchen). I've asked around because I also don't want to regret going down that path. The consensus has been that something is needed around the sink area - so either a farmhouse sink that sticks out from the cabs a bit, or a toe kick, or the cabinet design where the entire lower cabinet sits several inches shallower than the sink area above. Same with a prep area. Cotehele mentions that her counters overhang a bit, which achieves the same things as a toe kick. When Celineike unveiled her kitchen, I asked about scuffing, cramped toes etc - and she said the lack of toe kick was no problem.
    Here's an earlier thread discussing this topic.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Base cabinet design -Toe-kick space or not -ie cabs to floor?

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago

    If you spend most of your time in open-toed sandals like I do at home then a toe kick is an absolute must. I've broken more than one toenail hitting my toes against things sticking out.

    I think also if you grew up with toe-kicks and then tried to live in a house without them you might have problems adjusting.

  • quiltgirl
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Califreckles, I am so glad you posted that other thread! I too love the look of the no toe kick. Since our house was built in 1860, that look just seems to fit. I already have a counter with a furniture base that sits right on the floor and I have never once hit my toes on it. I prep on this counter. My sink has a toe kick and I just stood by it to rinse some dishes and made a point of noticing where my feet were. They were not under the toe kick. I really like the look of the sink being recessed in a couple of inches and it also fits my dilemma. I am making my cabinets 27" deep, but the sink cabinet can only be 24" deep because the plumbing is already in for it. I see setting it at 24" and the others at 27" works just perfectly now that I read the other thread and looked at the pictures posted there. I am going for it!
    rmtdoug: I am usually barefoot in the house. I guess that is why I have never had a problem. Well that and the fact that my stomach probably hits the counter way before my feet do! I have no back problems either!

  • motodetroit
    9 years ago

    I also prefer the no toe kick look so have a mix in my kitchen. The sink cabinet is inset a few inches with the farm sink over it so that is a 'functional' toe kick. My butcher block and baking tables are open underneath. The other areas either have no toe kick or a minimal 2" toe kick similar to the 'Plain English' style. The areas i work in definately have a toe kick though. I am fine with mixing things. I think it comes down to personal preference. I think your inspiration pic is lovely.

  • raenjapan
    9 years ago

    Our current kitchen doesn't have toe kicks except under the sink and it has never bothered me, despite always having had them before. They're not scuffed up, even in my very heavily used prep area, and I can't remember ever having hit my toes. I'm pretty neutral on the look and didn't design this kitchen. I'm surprised some people have so many issues with down-to-the-floor cabs.

  • colorfast
    9 years ago

    I love your photo! It looks cool. If you do an arch like that, make sure there's a back board as this one has, so that things dropped from the sink can be retrieved.

    Whether you want a toe-kick or a flat front, beware of changing the height! Measure the height and depth of your current toe-kick before turning in your order. Then, check your current plumbing under your sink.

    In my kitchen, it all worked out but my bathroom it was a little stressful.

    My old kitchen and bath had cabinets I assumed were standard. My new kitchen was custom, the cabinetmaker never asked,but did all his own measuring and everything worked out. To this day, I don't know if he measured the toe-kick we had before or just put one in and I was lucky.

    My bathroom was another story. I bought a good (but not the same quality) cabinet from Canyon Creek. I was told the toe-kick was the standard size and didn't check my own. Big mistake!

    Their toekick was taller. And I had an extra knob for the plumbing jutting into the back of my cabinet too low for the new cabinet floor. The plumber told us it was something they used during construction and not needed and it could safely be removed, but it was very stressful. And you either need to do this repair yourself, or you need to have the plumber come to remove the knob (trip 1). Then seal the wall, install the cabinet and have the plumber come back to do the regular plumbing hookups (trip 2).

    There were several things that made my cabinet feel like it could hold less items than before, and this was one of them. Fortunately I did not have my master bath done at this time and, I do have the extra knob in there and will go with custom when I do bite the bullet.

  • freckles
    9 years ago

    Quiltgirl, I like your inspiration pics. As others have said, it seems fine to mix & match according to need.

    Here is another thread on the topic, with some useful pics:

    Here is a link that might be useful: PiCTURES of cabinets finished at bottom

  • freckles
    9 years ago

    A few more inspiration images:



    {{!gwi}}

  • quiltgirl
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    How high do you think the "furniture" bottom of the cabinet should be? For those of you who have the "no toe kick" look, what size is the trim at the bottom of your cabinet. What other things must I consider besides loss of cabinet space etc. The picture below is one I like for style. I think it is a Christopher Peacock kitchen from eons ago. The base looks pretty high, maybe 5 or 6 inches? I have seen a stepping block at the bottom of cabinets or a tray that slips out with dog dishes in them. What else could you slip in there?
    {{!gwi}}

  • raenjapan
    9 years ago

    Mine don't stick out at all.

  • eandhl
    9 years ago

    We only did a toe kick at the sink and brought the others down within an inch of the floor. With narrow stiles my 3 stack drawers are very deep.

  • quiltgirl
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    What great pictures and what neat kitchens! Raenjapan, I am assuming that the wood at the bottom of your cabinets is the same height as a toe kick?

  • quiltgirl
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    okay what am I doing wrong here? Everytime I post it enters twice! Sorry about that. Will see if this corrects it.

  • la_koala
    9 years ago

    My husband has size 12 feet.

    And a tendency to end up where I wish they wouldn't. :-)

    It would never occur to me to have no toe kick space in the parts of the kitchen where the countertop is. Our pantry cabinet is an exception (though who knows? he might stub a toe standing there too!)

  • arch123
    9 years ago

    If I am in a work area - sink etc I really want a toe kick. last house we did not have some and husband had back pain from leaning over.

  • catlover5
    9 years ago

    I can't imagine not having a toe kick. I would imagine it would be hard to keep that area scuff free. These photos are beautiful but I prefer a toe kick so I have a place for my toes!

  • a2gemini
    9 years ago

    Wow -never thought about it - but I do like the look but would still want a toe kick at the sink as I know I like to be closer to the sink to protect our backs - but like the idea for the pantry area.