Small kitchen makeover should I lower bar to counter height?

Jen Eve
August 13, 2019

Adding granite and a backsplash to this small kitchen. Since counter height is all the rage, should I go to the trouble of hiring someone to bring the bar down to counter height? Seems like an extra step and expense, but afraid I may regret not doing it. One legit reason that crossed my mind; this is a beach rental and families with small children may appreciate the lower seating.

Comments (17)

  • justerrilynn

    Yes, yes and yes. Also, you will be amazed at how much larger the kitchen will look.

  • artemis_ma

    A rental with potential children, yes I'd lower it. Even at my height I appreciate regular counter height seating.

  • Shannon_WI

    I agree with the others. Also, it will give you a more uninterrupted expanse of counter, you will love that.

    I am only concerned this might not be an easy job.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Place

    You will need to have the electrical reworked and get six new shorter barstools factor that in to the budget. I would want it lowered...but for a rental? It's your call. If you live at t his property part of the year, then do it.

    For the disposal switch, get an outlet in the sink base cabinet and hookup an $80 airswitch. VERY nice.

    For the outlets, add a Task angled plug strip to the end of the base cabinet. Or cut an outlet in to the side of the cabinet.

    Keep the knee wall, just have it cut in height and a new top plate attached. This wall need to be done a few days prior to the tops being installed.

  • Jen Eve

    Thank you Artemis, Just, Shannon and the Kitchen Place. It’s a unanimous yes. Kitchen Place, I don’t know what Task angled plug strip or air outlet is but I will make sure my remodeled does!
    Backstory .... We stayed at this beach house a couple of times and just bought it as was on the market. We will enjoy occasionally in the fall and spring, but it will remain a rental during the summer months. A different family has it rented every week through September. It crossed my mind, too, that families with younger children would appreciate the lower height. We are updating floors, furniture, roof etc. can’t wait to get rid of all that ugly furniture including the bar stools. Any suggestions?
    The appliances seem to be newer, but would stainless look better than the white on white? But I digress! So much to do. I didn’t realize lowering the counter would be that involved, but if we are updating, I suppose we should add this to the list.
    I love all the advice so feel free to give me more. Haha! Thanks for your help.

  • thinkdesignlive

    Interesting that the tile floor is in the seating area and the wood floor in the kitchen. For a rental you may want to think about a continuous lower maintenance floor throughout. As for the kitchen upgrades do you have to do those right away? It’s perfectly fine for awhile as a rental. Maybe have a comment card out and find out what your weekly renters think? No need to rush. You may find that people like hiding their kitchen clutter from view more than the lowered seating.

  • wilson853

    I would also change out the sink to a single bowl and definitely lower it to one level. When we have a crowd at the beach we usually serve buffet style which is easier at counter height. As long as the appliances are in good shape I would leave them for now.

  • daisychain01

    Not just children, but seniors will also appreciate the lower height.

    Once you lower it, you can sell me your stools. I've been haunting our craiglist for some just like those :)

  • Jen Eve

    Daisy I would love to sell them to you along with the matching dining room chairs! Haha
    Wilson, good point. This house sleeps 12-14 and you are right we also do buffet style and it gets crowded.
    ThinkDesign, we are planning on LVT throughout first floor. Debating on it for 2nd floor where 4 of the 5 bedrooms are but replacing the carpet may be cheaper. carpet under the feet is nice, too, but gets dirty, especially with renters who don’t care if they don’t wipe their feet.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Place

    These are the best barstools ever and affordable. They are comfortable to sit on for hours and have a heavy weight capacity of 500 pounds. So these barstools will stand up to a rental usage. The broad base makes them less tip resistant, so very safe. I have them in my showroom and even after a two hour appointment, you're still comfortable. I have ordered 8 of the clearance stools...they say scratch n dent, but have yet to really see anything that bothers me. I'll post a picture of my showroom.

    Catalina in another finish:

    My showroom: Holland Barstools "Contessa" #810 model in Black Wrinkle metal with black vinyl padded seats 25" Counter height stool.

  • justerrilynn

    Say no to carpet in beach house rentals. Particularly in the bedrooms. I’m having a sinus attack just thinking of it. Seriously, can’t breath out of my nose the whole night. Cranky! I recently sent for samples of a few different luxury vinyl plank flooring and was highly impressed with the Flooret Modin. It has a 40 mil wear layer that falls in a commercial grade category without commercial pricing. They have lots of colors.

    Tried to sent pictures but it wouldn’t go through.

  • Jen Eve

    Kitchen Pro your show room is beautiful and I like the stools.
    TLynn I’ll look up the Flooret Modin. We were looking at 12 mil
    And was assured that was plenty, but could go to 20 mil but not necessary. 6 is common. That’s what the flooring consultant told us.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Place

    At only $104 each plus shipping, these are an amazing deal. I purchased some stools from Target for $80 each, trying to save since I needed 8 for my basement bar. They are not nearly as comfortable!!! And two have already broken. Not worth the all! Will someday replace with HOLLAND.

  • justerrilynn

    Jen, I really have no idea what mil would be considered “enough”. My criteria would be different from yours probably as I have dogs, one is big , big feet claws. Really though, of all my different brand samples the Modin (to me) had the most realistic grain and pattern. It’s also not too shiny and not too dull...just right! And, waterproof!!!

    There are many other colors.

    Anyhoo, I decided Not to do the living/kitchen floors as I’m selling. I will use this in the next house though.

  • AJCN

    The renter's perspective is different than a homeowner's perspective. It comes down to making a business decision, your budget, etc.

    As a frequent renter of beach houses, I appreciate cleanliness and I wouldn't care at all if the bar was lowered, there was a 2-bowl sink, nor if the appliances were stainless. I also wouldn't care about the stools, unless the seat covers were dirty. Sort of "campy," "beach-themed" furniture can be kind of fun in a beach rental because it's not the type of decor a person would choose for their primary home, but is sort of a fun change for a vacation. If I were looking at the house online, I'd be a little put off by carpet though, even if it looks clean in the listing, because I would assume it would be dirty by the time I checked in, from other renters. If everthing else was good though (location, number of bedrooms, price), I would probably still rent a house with carpet. But if there was another house next door with no carpet, I would rent that one.

    As a homeowner, I'm the complete opposite. I prefer that the bar is lowered to counter-height, a 1-bowl large sink, stainless appliances, consistent hardwood floors downstairs and carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. I also don't like furniture in my permanent home to fit a theme like "beach" or "mountain" or "lake," etc. So, two completely opposite feelings depending on if I'm a renter or it's my own home.

    Since you are going to use the house in the off season you sort of fit into both camps. It's a rental, but you are going to use it a lot. In your case I'd probably treat it more like your permanent house and make changes that you like rather than only doing changes to get rentals. If you incorporate a little bit of whimsical beach-themed decor, that might be a fun change of pace for you as well as renters when you visit the house, because it'll be different from your permanent home.

  • Jen Eve

    AJCN you make some good points. I’m definitely going to make it a little fun and beachy because our permanent residence is in Ky and the whole coastal living theme doesn’t jive here. It’s surprising though how much beach themed decor is actually for sale.
    I probably should pose this question on another thread, but everyone has been so helpful and insightful I will throw this out. Can you think of what to do with a small useless foyer that has a front door to nowhere? You can go out the front door to an elevated porch but there are no steps to the driveway. Put an ice machine in there? Hidden to the side? We always need tons of ice at the beach and the frig doesn’t cut it.

  • Jen Eve

    No one comes in and out of this door because it goes to a porch that faces the street. Everyone sits on the back deck overlooking the ocean and you can go down steps to beach or driveway

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268