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Old 03-23-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

Hello. I've been lurking around this forum for a while and finally found the van to start my project. Right now its a totally stock 2014 E350 XLT V10 RB window van. I'm still not sure exactly how I want to configure it but I'm getting close.....thanks to all the great information on this forum!

One thing I do know for sure is that I want all interior cabinets to remain below the factory windows. I am looking for an open feeling with no window obstructions. I know I will lose storage but that is not an issue. I need a fridge, microwave and sink. No cooking inside. Any advice/suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:53 AM   #2
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

Welcome and congrats on the new van. Love widow vans.

Re: cabinet height - are you planning a pop top in your build? How tall are you? Planned usage? would Keeping the counter height below the window line is difficult from a utilitarian and comfort point of view. Take some cardboard or thin plywood and mock up what you want. The size of fridge will dictate the minimum counter height. Using a sink will be VERY uncomfortable at 28", the bottom of the sink will be at around 22". You will probably have use something at that height sitting down. SMB trys to strike a balance of window availability and ergonomics and it is still pretty low. Mock it up and see if it is acceptable. Good luck!!
Ray
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:15 AM   #3
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

nice timing! i was just wondering what height smb uses for their cabinets over the weekend. is it the typical kitchen height, or is it different in rv's?
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

That will depend if you want to see thru all windows or not.
I decided to block the rear ones for storage and keep the front ones.
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

If you are doing your cooking outside, you may want to reconsider your sink option. A sink ends up eating up a lot of counter space and storage space (though you can put a cutting board over the sink and or use it as a storage space as well I suppose).

We had a small sink in our old van. For us, it wasn't big enough to use as anything more than a drain and still found ourselves washing dishes outside in two plastic tubs. We are in the middle of our next build and do not have plans to have a sink; however we DID decide that we wanted a built in cooktop this time for ease of making easy things like coffee, pasta, and pancakes especially if weather is not too good.

As Ray suggested, get some cardboard and start mocking things up. It makes a big difference to see it in the actual space! Your fridge size/height will have a big impact on your overall cabinet height. Mock up several different fridge sizes and see how they look.
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:07 PM   #6
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der
Welcome and congrats on the new van. Love widow vans.

Re: cabinet height - are you planning a pop top in your build? How tall are you? Planned usage? would Keeping the counter height below the window line is difficult from a utilitarian and comfort point of view. Take some cardboard or thin plywood and mock up what you want. The size of fridge will dictate the minimum counter height. Using a sink will be VERY uncomfortable at 28", the bottom of the sink will be at around 22". You will probably have use something at that height sitting down. SMB trys to strike a balance of window availability and ergonomics and it is still pretty low. Mock it up and see if it is acceptable. Good luck!!
Ray
Thanks for the quick reply!

Pop top for sure.

I am 6' but shrinking.

Usage will be primarily a long distance vacation rig and a weekender race car hauler. Might do some light camping. I have a wife and two kids (8 and 10). Most every trip will have a trailer being towed with plenty of storage.

Even if cabinet height is below standard and uncomfortable, I will sacrifice for the fit below the factory window. I really like the cardboard mock up idea!
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:30 PM   #7
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

That's a good point on usage height. In my pop-top SMB, the counters were well below "standard" counter height (36" is standard in houses, IIRC). In fact, they were a pain to use when standing up, and I would typically use them while sitting down even when the top was popped. This was an aisle layout, so everything was right there (gaucho/couch ran along the driver's side right across from the counter which was on the passenger side). I've always wondered how people work it in a "50" layout where the couch is not directly across from the counter (I'm sure there is a fine way, just haven't had one to try it).

So, what sort of top are you going to have? OEM roof, pop top, raised top?

I'm not sure there is a good way to have the "normal standing height" counters in a pop top (because what about when the top isn't popped?). My RB-30-ish layout worked perfectly when the top was down (everything easily in reach from the couch), but was very low for doing things standing up (why I pretty much did them sitting down even with top popped).

I don't know the exact height, but if you look at the typical windows in an SMB Ford van (they are long but the bottoms are relatively high up), well, the top of the counter was just below the bottom of those windows. In other words, the counters did not cover the windows at all.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

Hi Battman: Boywonder here....

I've got a similar van and similar goals for keeping the windows clear. To get the sink at a reasonable height and still access the opening window behind the driver's seat, I'm integrating a vessel sink. My cabinet is around 28" tall or so, and the sink is another 6" high, so that combo gets close to the typical 36" kitchen counter top.

I've also got a PH, and I'm about 6'1", so I've biased the sink to the front of the cabinet to allow visual access to the faucet and other stuff that will be behind the sink.

Here is the cabinet (still in progress):......microwave is pointing toward the rear of the van....this allowed an extra-long bed downstairs.





I've also built small shelves and screwed them into the support rails of the penthouse; this also keeps the windows clear, and provides the option of getting a dirt bike inside if I need to. Since you have a window van, you'll also need to re-route the rear-AC vents. I've built a couple of them into one of the rear shelves after burning considerable brain cells thinking about this.



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Old 03-23-2015, 02:34 PM   #9
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

For fridge you can go with a top loader like an ARB, Engel or similar. You can mount it directly to the floor or put it on a platform to make it line up with the counter top. I have seen tops mounted to them to extend the counter, you'd still have a seam and a usability issue of the fridge. We raised ours but left it just short of the counter, full door clearance and basket removal was a bigger priority for us.

We ended up going with 30.5 inches for counter height, the sweet spot for us between window access and basic functionality. It was definitely discussed many times.

Welcome and congrats.

-John
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:45 AM   #10
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Re: New guy - Window van - cabinet height question

Dangitt Boywonder! Could you share a few of these great ideas before I build my cabinets next time????

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