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When designing new kitchen layouts, many builders have to select either to install upper cabinets or add in windows for more natural light, but they may not have to choose any more. Houzz contributor Becky Harris identifies a “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” solution that suggests placing windows behind cabinets outfitted with glass. With this option, there is storage for glassware and also natural light filtering in behind the cabinet items. See how one design team has incorporated the idea into a project below.

When designing an Illinois kitchen, the architects at Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects had seasonal affective disorder in mind. They wanted their clients to enjoy as much sunlight as possible during their region’s long winters.

The lines on the traditional divided windows presented a challenge. If the windows and cabinet doors both have divided lines, the lines of the muntins (the bars between the glass panes) should line up for a clean look.

Here they started with fixed windows, then had the cabinets custom built so the muntins on the doors would line up perfectly. The windows below the cabinets are separate awning windows that open. Their panes are the same size as those on the windows above them, which creates a cohesive look.

To support the cabinets, the architects had to get creative. They couldn’t hang them from the angled ceiling, and there weren’t walls on either side to attach them to either. So the sides of the cabinets contain steel plates that are fastened to steel angles built into the vertical posts between the windows.

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