Upper cabinets don't line up with Lower---Help!

rkb21February 21, 2013

We are going to be changing out the tile countertops/backsplash and I would like to get some ideas on this corner of the kitchen before we begin the remodel.

The top cabinets end before the lower cabinets. The backsplash juts out. Trying to figure out the best solution.

Open to any and all suggestions!!!!

The kitchen ceiling ends and opens up to the vaulted ceiling of the hearth room.


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I don't greatly like it, but here is one alternative:

I think I prefer it with the inside curve rounded instead of square.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Is it possible to take out the lower, angled cabinet and upper shelves and end the run with the lower bank of drawers and upper cabinet?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:59PM
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I agree with purplepansies. The combination of the angled cabinet and backsplash and curved open shelves sticking out beyond the main run of cabinets looks awkward and seemingly cobbled together. I don't know how much storage you have in the rest of the kitchen, but I don't see how you'd be losing that much by getting rid of this angle and weird arrangement.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I thought about taking the angled lower cabinet out but we are not changing out our floors or refinishing them with the remodel. I'm worried that we would need to at the least refinish the hardwood floors if we did that.

I was thinking of just adding a cabinet that was about adding a cabinet half the width of the one already there and then adding an angled cabinet at the edge with the same angle of the lower cabinet.

Still not sure of the alignment...

Here are some pictures of the entire kitchen....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of the kitchen

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:49PM
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The hardwood surely runs under the cabinets - take a toe kick off and have a look to see what condition they're in.

Removing the angled cabinets will update the look of the kitchen. You could remove them from your island as well. Replace those ends with squared off open shelving to maintain the size/footprint of the island and have better storage.

Of course you would want to loose the angled upper cabinet as well, which means altering the crown molding too and wall paint work.

What kind of counters/backsplash are you moving to? Knowing what materials you're working with would help.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Another thought...

Keep lower cabinet set-up as is.

Keep tile as is.

Remove upper cabinets (corner and regular double-door). Replace with open shelving that is the full length of the lower-cabinet counter to the left of the sink. Perhaps the open shelving is narrow - like a display ledge - so it doesn't jut out over the corner of the lower cabinet.

Open cabinets get mixed reviews. I had some in my old kitchen and loved them (but not the dusting).

Houzz has some great examples of open shelving.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz example

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:11PM
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When we redid our kitchen last year we had to add flooring (and consequently refinish all of the rest) because the hardwood was not installed under the base cabinets when the house was built.
It doesn't sound like your getting new cabinets so I think the suggestion to take down the upper and replace with floating shelves sounds like a good idea. Or just take out the upper curved shelves and add straight shelves that would end in line with the base cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Floating shelves would be a good idea. I just would prefer a cabinet to hide things...I don't want to have shelves that I need to put knick knacks on :)

TorontoTim: We are putting in granite counters and maybe a beveled subway tile backsplash. I hadn't thought of getting rid of the angles on the island....I'll have to think about that one...is that easy to do without replacing the entire island? I actually don't mind the hexagonal shape of the island. We're going to have an overhang on the island to create some seating there, if that helps.

We are going to change out the crown molding on the upper cabinets to give them a little more height.

What about an angled cabinet to match the lowers with a frosted glass and mullions?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:41PM
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rkb21, you already do have an angled cabinet to match the lower one. The wall cabinet is the same width (side-to-side) as the lower cabinet, then has an angled shelf going to the wall at the same angle as the base angled cabinet. The reason that they do not "line up" is that the wall cab is only 12 or 13 inches deep, compared to a likely 24 inches for the base cab. So any angled shelf going to the wall will be shorter than the angled cab going to the wall from the lower 24" cabinet. It does not have as far to travel to get to the wall!

You do have the option of sliding the upper cabinet to the left along the wall until you line the edge of the flat wall cabinet up to where the edge of the lower angled cabinet sticks out from the wall the same distance as the front of the upper flat cabinet does. That would line up the angled cabs pretty well. The problem with doing that is that the upper cabinet doors will now be out of vertical alignment.

I like the angled cabinets in your kitchen. They keep a person from hitting sharp corners if they turn too quickly. The kitchen I bought from Green Demolitions has those angled cabinets. The ones on my island are not separate cabinets. My island is made of one row of cabinets that are all one integrated piece of furniture. I do have one angled cab that I did not use that was a separate angled base cab.

I believe that the best way to make the backsplash visually honor the angles of the cabs is to follow that angle with the bachsplash material, as well. Draw a straight line from the lower left edge of the upper cab to the upper left edge of the countertop material. Have the backsplash material follow that line. If you are using a material that you cannot round off and polish, then plan on using a liner tile in the design, as well. Use that liner on that edge. In my first kitchen remodel, I edged my backsplash with half-inch wood trim to match the cabinets. Anywhere the backsplash ended on a regular wall, a maple trim piece served to frame it.

Look at your image #2434. Imagine that the tile does not go higher than the bottom of the wall cab. Draw a line from the bottom of the angled shelf down to the leftmost spot where the counter meets the wall. End your new backsplash on that line. Is that more visually pleasing to you that having that big rectangular "chunk" of backsplash hanging out there? Another option is to follow the same line, but stagger it (like stair-steps if using subways) or do a free-form edge generally following that diagonal line.

Here is a link that might be useful: My maple edges

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:21PM
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nancy_in_mich: What great ideas you came up with! Thanks so much for taking time to help!!! You have a cool backsplash, by the way!

I have never thought of changing the line of the backsplash like that [bottom of top to meet left most spot of counter]. That's an interesting idea.

What do you think of the picture below in link? Would that look weird?

Here is a link that might be useful: angled bottom cabinet only

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:31PM
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No, it doesn't look weird to me, but I think klutzy me would bang into that upper cabinet all the time!

Thanks for the compliment on the backsplash. We ended up moving out of that house only two and a half years after spending a fortune to remodel it. I still own the house, though, and visit it occasionally!

Try looking at the Finished Kitchens Blog at the backsplashes and see if you see examples of the different ways of ending backsplashes when things don't line up nicely.

Here is a link that might be useful: Finished Backsplashes

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Completely agree with purple pansies idea! Hopefully there is flooring under that base cabinet or maybe it would be possible to add a little to refinish it like the rest of the floor. Or if you're explanding the island maybe you could steal some flooring from there?

I think if you extended the top cabinets to the left they would look odd continuing passed the dropped ceiling.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Island- we are just doing an overhang on the island. I would guess that there is flooring under the cabinet but I think the floors were refinished by prior owners before we moved in so I think it would lead to needing to refinish the floors :(

I do worry the ceiling would get in the way of adding cabinets.
Just a bit stumped!

Thanks for all of the great ideas!

What program does everyone use to make a 3D drawing of kitchens?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:30PM
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If you just want to change out the counters and backsplash, I would resist falling prey to scope creep. Your kitchen is already nice so I say just pick a way to end the backsplash without altering cabinets.

Here is another possibility: go straight down, but extend it just enough to balance the height and width of tile on the other side of the upper cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:05AM
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I've seen some pretty interesting examples of staggering the backsplash down from the uppers to meet the end of the counter run. I wish I had some pics to show you, though. I've seen the same effect with granite slabs used for backsplash, particularly over the ranger area.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:38AM
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bellsmom- I realized I didn't thank you for your suggestion...Thanks for taking the time to photoshop it :) We are planning on changing out the backsplash to a beveled subway tile...would you still keep a small ledge at the bottom to the end of the counter?

elwydee- Thanks for your suggestion and visual to go along with it. Wow, when I looked at your picture, I really thought it looked good. Thanks for taking the time to photoshop it. We do have some door fronts that need to be replaced and we are adding an overhang to the island so I wanted to change out the drawers/cab combo into longer doors and adding panels to the island to close off the shelves. So, we're left with the big question of do we get new doors/panels where we need it and then repainting everything to match or just replace all of the doors/drawer fronts. Not sure yet...decisions, decisions!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:29AM
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So, I found a photo editing software and tried my hand at some options for our angled cabinet dilemma.

First, here's what we have now:

Here's a side by side of either stopping the backsplash to line up with the upper cabinets or adding an upper cabinet so that the upper and lower line up.

What do you think???

Thanks for your help!!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Great photo editing. If it were my kitchen and I would add a cabinet like you did in the photo on the right. You can never have too much cabinet space. Either way though looks better than the backsplash hanging out beyond the upper cabinet like in your first post

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Badgergal- thanks...it was my first time with this photo editor. I think I'm addicted now! I do like the idea of more storage, too.

I forgot to draw attention to the ceiling...the lower cab does go past that line into the hearth room but by adding an upper cabinet will it look odd?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:13PM
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I don't think it will look odd. It looks like the current open shelf cabinet extends past the ceiling line so I think it will look very similar to what you already have except it will extend a little further. As I said before it will actually look better than the backsplash extending out there. Adding that extra wall cabinet balances the lower and upper cabinets nicely.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:09AM
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badgergal: thanks again for the input. One decision down... I'm still stuck on whether to just get new doors or get all new cabinets. I like the layout of the kitchen and want to keep it a white kitchen, but don't want to have regrets. By the way, I LOVE you kitchen...especially the curves.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:01AM
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rkb21, In some ways I really like the added wall cabinet. I do see one problem, though. The second full wall cabinet appears to extend past the point where the base cabinet angles in. I am afraid that it may jut out and be a hazard for bumping a shoulder or head on. You will have to measure carefully to make sure it is safe.

I agree - great job with the photoshop!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:02AM
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nancy_in_mich: Thanks for the suggestion. I will take some posterboard and mock it up just to see how much it would jut out.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Wow how awesome is the ability to photoshop!
Elwydee's verson looks great! Think that's the same as the first one you did isn't it? Your 2nd verson with the added cabinet also looks great. From that angle it doesn't look strange with the ceiling change above. Nancy made a good point though. Maybe you could check out both of those isues with another mock up from another angle or simulate with some cardboard at home.

RKB and Elwydee can you please share what photoshop software you used? I learn something new every day on this site! Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Island, I use Photoshop CS5. Be aware that it's pricey and has a rather steep learning curve. Casual users might prefer Adobe's consumer version, which is called Photoshop Elements.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photoshop Elements

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Great thank you!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Island: I used a free program called gimp... You can google it. I researched it and it seemed to get good reviews. I just started using it but its pretty cool. I'm sure Photoshop is much better but I was looking for something free to use :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Oh, I measured out a 16" cabinet to place there and it seems like it almost hits right where the angle is. If it did jut out, it may do so by 1/4inch or so. It may just work! Since open shelf is angled, it wouldn't really be an issue.

Not sure how to photo edit it from another angle. I'll try to draw it out on graph paper...old school way. Lol.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Thanks I'll look for that program. Fre sounds good to me especially since nothing else will be free in this remodel!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:32AM
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