Backsplash Windows

Narrow backsplash windows bring natural light to the kitchen while maintaining privacy.

The windows in this kitchen are set above a walnut countertop. This is the first time architect Alison Rainey of merzproject designed windows in this narrow space, but it made sense in this project where the kitchen is along the western elevation. 'In Arizona, we try to minimize sun exposure on the west side. Also, it is an infill lot in a neighborhood in downtown Phoenix where homes are close together. We wanted to bring in light, but not necessarily bring in neighbors,' she says. Two of the three windows are operable to allow the owners to use natural ventilation to cool the house. The aluminum commercial units have a thin exterior profile to blend in with the fa??ade.

Architect Phil Rossington of Rossington Architecture in San Francisco has used backsplash windows in two projects. He says the purpose of a window in this area is to bath the counter with light during the day, as seen in this kitchen, while maintaining privacy.

The kitchen has two 18-inch high windows that flank the range. One of the windows is an awning unit that opens for ventilation. The kitchen is part of an condominium renovation by Rossington that included removing walls for better flow for entertaining

In this project, Rossington says the windows bring in light, but are narrow enough to maintain privacy without having to use frosted glass. Bamboo screens in the backyard provide additional privacy. He specified tempered glass behind the stove to withstand the heat from that appliance.

Iris Harrell of Harrell Remodeling had seen glass block used in a backsplash, but for this remodeled kitchen in a Southwest-style house in California, she used clear glass to provide the client, who is short, with a view of the backyard. The remodeler chose fixed windows because a nearby door provides enough cross-ventilation. Between the full-length glass door and the backsplash windows, the small kitchen is flooded with natural light. Open shelving over one set of windows provides space for the artist owners to display their work.

This rear fa??ade photo shows the narrow muntins in the windows. Harrell chose these units to match the original 1930's steel bronze-colored windows. Since the remodeling project involved not just the kitchen, but adding a second story, and the windows were close to the corner, Harrell provided additional structural support to meet California's earthquake codes.

For this modern kitchen, architect John Rogers of Rogers Labarthe Architects chose a continuous expanse of glass in the backsplash. Electrical receptacles are fitted into the low, stainless steel backsplash ledge.

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