Removing Soffit, Moving Cabinets Up Question

debtroFebruary 10, 2013

Has anyone ever heard of removing the soffit and moving the existing cabinets up flush with the ceiling, then installing open shelves under the cabinets? Because the cabinets would then be higher up, the open shelves would fill the extra space.

I'm wondering if it would look disproportionate or stupid?

We have 8' ceilings -- cabinets flush with the ceilings might make the room feel taller (or does that trick work only with tall cabs?!), plus this would squeeze in a bit more storage. We have a celadon bowl and plate collection that would make a nice display on open shelves.

I can mock this up in photoshop to see how it looks, but before doing the work, wondered what others thought!

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GreenDesigns

It can work well if you are tall and own a step stool. If you are short, then it's utility is greatly diminished unless you store your most used items on those open shelves instead of decorative objects. You'll need the stool for almost every other shelf though.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:22PM
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debtro

I know, I thought of that! I'm only 5'. No inches! Husband not much taller and actually he cooks most. Definitely will need a stepstool nearby. The celadon things we do use every day but they're also decorative and would look nice on open shelves. I don't bake or cook a lot, so there are many items rarely-used that could go on the top shelves. But it's good to be realistic and consider if I'd find frequently needing the stepstool to be a pain. Thanks, good point!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:33PM
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debrak_2008

Can you remove the soffit and put your collection on the top of the cabinets?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:54PM
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ginny20

Were you planning on UCL? Would they be under the bottom open shelf or under the cab, highlighting the open shelves?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Baby steps first. Soffits are often in place to hide plumbing and electrical. Cut a hole and investigate. Then if you can remove them, use that new space as your display space. After you dust that a few times, you may wish you had your soffits back!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:28PM
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arlosmom

Here's somebody that did that. I think it turned out wonderfully.

Here is a link that might be useful: great transformation

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:24PM
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arlosmom

Here's somebody that did that. I think it turned out wonderfully.

Here is a link that might be useful: great transformation

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:25PM
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jennyaz

We removed the soffits and put cabinets to the ceiling. We have a small cabinet on top of a standard sized one in most places. The top cabinets have a door that opens up. Along one wall we are putting glass in these so that we can display items... With accent lighting the cabinets. On the 2 side walls (u shaped kitchen) we didn't use glass... Planning on putting rarely used things up there as I am less thatn 5 ft and will need a tall step stool to get up there. If you want to display items, I think displaying on top might be more functional. I can at least reach the bottom shelf without a step stool this way. Install is in progress right now. The pic shows the basic size of the upper cabinets (above the windows) the cabinet in the middle goes all the way to the ceiling as one cabinet and will have glass doors.. I plan on storing china and glassware there.

This post was edited by jennyaz on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 20:24

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:21PM
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nancyinmich

Love the kitchen that Arlosmom linked to, but Debtro, please note that the homeowner is almost a foot taller than you are! Check out the microwave placement - on top of the refrigerator!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:08PM
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marcolo

Your height has nothing to do with it. It's no different than a tall cab that reaches the ceiling except that the bottom shelf is open. Yes, you'll need a stepstool, but you probably need one now to reach your top shelf. Just make sure all your everyday items can sit out in the open. And, you do need to find out what's in those soffits first.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:42PM
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debtro

Thank you everyone for your comments and sharing photos! I really appreciate it. The renovated kitchen in the blog link is exactly what I was envisioning and it's good to see someone else has done it.

We'll peek in the soffits to see if anything is in there. Our house was designed very efficiently (in 1969) so all water and toilet systems are stacked all above each other from the basement to the top floor. It is possible there's plumbing in the soffits.

I probably should have been more clear that the open shelves below cabinets would hold dishes and bowls that we use daily. It's just that they're nice-looking so they're okay to leave in the open as a display. Right now our kitchen is full and those dishes, bowls, platters, etc. are stored in another room! They're in an antique Chinese cabinet so at least that cabinet is useful and not just standing there looking good, but it's a pain to go to the family room to get the dishes for the dining room.

I think our lack of kitchen cabinet storage space is due to two big windows in there, but I wouldn't want to lose those!

I will think through if anything we need frequent access to would get placed too high up. This shouldn't affect our microwave because it's located above the oven in a double-oven wall unit that won't be impacted by this change.

We have high quality oak cabs and I wouldn't want to discard the entire cabinetry. So I'd also paint the kitchen lighter like the owner of the kitchen in the blog link did. What a nice renovation!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:17PM
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debtro

And oh I thought the lower cabinet paint color in the kitchen re-do linked above looked familiar! We used F&B Mouse's Back on our front doors -- great color. It's a neutral color that doesn't look too much like a specific color. Not too brown, not too green, it's just right.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:19PM
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a2gemini

It could work with shelves below- I have seen slotted shelves for dishes in one of my friend's high end kitchen.
She is really short - so it is handy for her.

We had plumbing, electrical, and venting in ours -
Most of the electrical was for the can lights - solved
The one plumbing run was a challenge - but solved
The vent was moved to the basement and then went straight upstairs with less turns and more efficient.

First GC - said we couldn't do it - the second opinion - go for it!

This post was edited by a2gemini on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 16:30

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:28PM
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xyankee11

I'm in the process of remodeling my kitchen. I have 8' ceilings too. I wanted to remove my soffitts too to allow for more storage. We weren't able to do so due to plumbing & hvac but we were able to raise them up about 4 inches. That allowed me to have molding & still make sure I have 18+ inches between counter top & bottom of my cabinets. Maybe that'll work for you?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:45PM
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