As Kitchen Designers are opening up the Kitchen space to the rest of the home, there are many cases where a support post may be needed.
As much as we may want to have completely open spaces, that is not always possible.
The cost of an engineered beam may not be in the budget, or services for the entire building may run through the area to be opened up.
As the Kitchen Designer, it then becomes your job to make the post work with the structure and integrate with the overall design asthetic.
Let’s look at some solutions to integrate posts into your Kitchen Designs.
Hide It In a Wall
One approach is to integrate the support post into a wall.
In the examples above, the structural support was hidden in a wall with cabinetry strategically placed around it.
In both cases a raised element was designed and the post was constructed to be the same width as the raised counter.
A beam was also disguised within the wall to provide the open concept the designer was after.
By painting this area to match the other walls in the space, it integrates beautifully into the overall design of the open concept Kitchen.
Specify a Freestanding Post
In some cases including a freestanding post makes more sense than a beam.
A post becomes a single vertical element in the design where as a beam across the entire room would be more distracting.
In the examples above the designers opted to include a single post rather than having a beam protruding down from the ceiling across the entire space.
The key is finishing the beam to work with the room’s design aesthetic.
In both cases the beams were clad in wood to compliment the overall finishing choices for the space.
Attach the Post to the Island
Often a Kitchen is opened up to the rest of the home to accommodate an island.
If a support post is needed to take down the walls, an ideal place to locate it is at the corner of the Kitchen island.
This location can anchor the island and often allows for the addition of counter height electrical outlets or a cavity to run other services.
Run Services through the Column
Speaking of services, if you renovate Kitchens in multi-family projects, you will often run into services running floor to ceiling that cannot be relocated.
This was the case in the two examples above.
In both these condo projects, the entire building’s electrical ran through a wall the designers wanted to remove.
The solution was to build a column around the electrical wires to encase them.
They were then clad in wood to coordinate with the Kitchen cabinetry, producing a cohesive design and opening up the space.
Work with the Post & Beam Construction
A form of home construction called post & beam will entail the Kitchen Designer to integrate posts into the design.
When working with this type of construction, the designer first needs to determine the material the posts & beams will be constructed from and then design a Kitchen to compliment them.
The milled fir beams in the first example work well with the horizontal grained Kitchen cabinetry.
The rustic log posts and beams in this second example are beautifully complimented with a country inspired painted cabinet.
In both cases the Kitchen Designer planned the layout to work with the posts & beams, and not fight with them.
Embrace Decorative Beam Structures
A form of post & beam construction with very high ceilings includes posts with attached buttresses.
When faced with this type of construction, the Kitchen Designer needs to pay close attention to the buttress that protrudes from the post.
In the first example the wall cabinets beside the the post were specified with no doors because a swing door would have hit the post.
In the second example all of the base cabinets were pulled forward the depth of the post so that the buttress portion would not become an obstacle when working at that counter.
If the Kitchen Designer had not worked with these architectural features, the final result would have been a disaster!
Use Posts to Define an Entry
When a support post is needed in a design, consider adding an additional decorative one to define the area.
The entry into the Kitchen is a good place to employ this tactic.
Both the examples above required a support post that was clad to compliment the Kitchen design.
An additional decorative post was added on the opposite side of the entry way for a cohesive design.
Incorporate Decorative Columns
Sometimes you may want to add decorative posts to your Kitchen Design to enhance the stylistic look of the room.
In this Kitchen the designer incorporated faux marble columns to compliment the old world Tuscan feel of the space.
These columns added the finishing touch to the Kitchen Design.
So, the next time you are faced with how to open up a space, consider incorporating a post or two.
Often this can be much more cost effective for your client, and it allows them to spend money on other features in the Kitchen.
Let me know your thoughts on post. Leave me a comment below.
Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.