What to do about low-soffit?

lethargoFebruary 28, 2010

Our ducts, plumbing, gas lines etc. require a soffit that is 4'9" from the wall and a 1' drop in height (all these things+ run side by side under the floor joists). The soffit will run the entire length of the main room (bar/media). The soffit ceiling height will only be 78"-80" (depending on what floor we go with). That's just too low, considering that the soffit would stick out to almost the center of the room. What do we do???

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At this point, the only thing to do is redesign the space so that the low ceilings are hidden in storage space, washrooms and nooks for seating areas, bars, built-ins and the like.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 10:55PM
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The soffit runs the length of the main room, which is basically a rectangle. The soffit is 4'9" wide, while the room width is only 10" wide. Hiding the low ceilings would require losing nearly half the room. The basement is rough plumbed, and we're not paying tons of extra money to re-run the plumbing to this area, same for the wet bar. I can place the couch under the soffit for TV viewing, but that's just a fraction of the length of the soffit. Also, the soffit is on the side of the room that you enter from, so you come in under the low ceiling which I think would be awkward, especially for our friends that are over 6' tall.

The duct work is the lowest lying obstruction, and is about 86" or just under from the concrete floor. We're going to lose 1.5"-2" just on the subfloor, plus whatever flooring we choose-most likely carpet. Then including drywall, and the soffit itself we lose another 4.5", for a total loss of 6-6.5". We would just make the soffit skinnier by boxing out the ducts and the pipes/etc. seperately, but there is no room inbetween to work with-no way to attach to the floor joists.

Any other ideas?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 7:58PM
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I'm having a hard time visualizing it, but can you use it as an area for built in cabinets for media or whatever? I'm thinking about the type that pull out, say bookshelves in front that pull out and rotate to show the TV behind it. That way it's not an area you need to be walking in very much, so taller people shouldn't be a concern. And, perhaps on the other end, a card table/seating area, where people won't need to be standing.

Where is your laundry room- that would be a good thing under a soffit like that.

I think this would give you the opportunity to get really creative! And, I live in an old house with built ins everywhere! They really knew how to utilize space back then.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:40PM
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Ok, Lethargo, I'm posting again, because I had seen this post previously and I went and looked at his website. Perhaps this will give you some ideas? He's got some great stuff on here! www.thebasementdesigner.com He's in Denver, but with the right information will design all over the country. I'm thinking of using him to plan my basement. Good Luck! I feel your pain, and you certainly don't want to start from scratch......again!

Here is a link that might be useful: basement photos

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:24PM
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Oldhousegal- Thanks for the link, there's tons of pics on there.

The major issue is the width that the soffit cuts into the room, it nearly splits the room in half with one side being the very low ceiling.

So, I'm thinking we're just going to have to move the water pipes to opposite side of the room. That will save us a little more room, and if we can push the gas line over a little we might be able to cut back about a foot off of the soffit width. But with sewage drains running along the ducts for the length of the room, we're still going to be stuck with at least 3" of low soffit on the entry side of the room. Argh.

I have no problem moving the water pipes, but I really don't want to move the sewage drains. I'm assuming it's a messy job.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 1:44PM
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Hiding the low ceilings would require losing nearly half the room.

What I'm suggesting, as did oldhousegal, is to use the area under the soffits for things that one doesn't expect to have a high ceiling above. Such as built-ins, closets, study area with bookcases etc. But with half the ceiling lowered, you obviously can't hide it all.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:15PM
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