Bays that make kitchens seem bigger and brighter

Bay windows are the ideal addition to kitchens to improve lighting and add to the illusion of space. Three innovative designs for attractive bay windows are presented. These three remodeled kitchens each feature a sink with a view

KITCHEN REMODELS don’t have to be large in scale to make a big change. One of the most satisfying small additions you can make is a bay window in an outside wall. And we’re not talking just the traditional three-sided bay. Distinctive shapes can be used to bring light and airiness to one of the most hardworking rooms in the house.


Melanie and Steve Spahr of Lake Oswego, Oregon, wanted to brighten and expand their small kitchen with a minimum of obvious structural changes to the house’s exterior. As part of a remodel that included removing walls between the kitchen and adjacent rooms, Portland architect Jerry L. Ward added a 30-inch-deep bay to th Spahrs’ kitchen. The traditionally shaped bay, with angled sides and a broad, flat front, was tucked unobtrusively under the existing eaves without altering the pitch of the roof.

Daylight also streams into the bay from both sides and overhead. One angled sid wall contains an operable window, while the other has a 9-square-foot opening filled with glass blocks. Covering the clear block wall is a wall-hung cabinet with glass doors that lets light through while providing storage space. To introduce even more natural light, Ward opened a section of the 8-foot-high ceiling above the bay to add a pair of 5-foot-long skylights.


Opening up part of the kitchen ceiling to the rafters and adding a skylight als played a part in this kitchen remodel designed by San Francisco architects Hous + House. In this kitchen, though, the original roof line played no role in shaping the bay. Instead, the bay’s external footprint was determined by an angled countertop that seems to thrust through the outer wall like the bow of a runaway boat.

This sense of collision is enhanced by the bay’s stuccoclad peak pushing upward through the eaves of the shallow-pitched roof. The countertop and bay shapes introduce contemporary lines to the 1960s ranch-style house. The opened ceiling, black slate floors, stainless steel backsplash, and uncluttered, gray-stained maple cabinets help to update the house.


With no overhanging eaves to shelter it, the 5 1/2-foot-wide bay that projects 1/2 feet from this house could have seemed too conspicuous. However, a curving window that arcs across the front of the frame and an overhead trellis scale down the appearance of the bay and blend it with the rest of the house.

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The bay has its own mini-roof and downspout. Its side walls contain two operabl windows, but the center of attention is the curving pane. The 4-foot-high windo is 1/2-inch tempered glass, custom formed to follow the bay’s curve. Inside, th bay wraps around a generous granite display countertop behind a stainless steel sink. Design was by Los Angeles architects Scott Johnson, of Johnson, Fain and Pereir Associates, and Margot Alofsin.


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