Soffit woes

chickpea8February 1, 2013

I've been lurking on GW for sometime and now that I am in the midst of my kitchen renovation I am so happy to have this community to reach out to for advice.

In my original kitchen I had a horribly oppressive soffit that was 15 inches high and about 20 inches deep. My ceiling height is 8 feet. My cabinet designer and contractor were certain they could make the design so that the soffit would only be about 8 inches high and 12 inches deep (flush with the face of the cabinets). Well, in the middle of construction my contractor now tells me that he can not make the soffit any less deep, he can only shorten the height due to complications with the plumbing that is housed in the soffit. Needless to say I am bummed, but I am trying to find a solution to make it bearable.

Here are some pictures. The contractor left a 2 1/4 inch space between the soffit and the cabinets to put the same crown moulding that is on the facing wall. The cabinets on the facing wall go to the ceiling. I am concerned that placing the moulding under the soffit may look strange and draw more attention to the soffit.

My question to my fellow GW'ers is what would you do?
1. Put in the same moulding that is on the facing wall which hangs down about 2.25 inches.
2. Push the cabinets up closer to the soffit and simply trim with small piece of trim which hangs down about .75 inches.

Any opinions would be appreciated. Now that I lowered my expectations, I would love some input so I can move forward and feel I made the right decision. Thanks so much!

PS Sorry the pics are sideways.

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That really stinks, sorry!

Did your contractor say that burying the pipes inside the cabinets was not an option? Obviously it would detract from your storage area but it would be better than soffits. Mine mentioned that we could do that if there is unmovable plumbing inside them (I really want to get rid of mine, too... )

I guess you mentioned crown molding, though, so maybe you weren't going to have cabs going to the ceiling?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:16PM
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I'd put up the crown molding to match the other side.
I don't think your soffit looks bad at all.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:28AM
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Purrus - We were hoping to bury them in the cabinets, but the problem was that the pipes jutted out towards the middle of the room. I'm bummed, but ready to move forward and make due with cards we have been dealt. Thanks.

Hosenmesis - Thanks, for your thoughts.

The crown moulding on the other side where the cabinets go up to the ceiling is quite substantial, almost 3 inches high. I am kinda thinking I'd like to do a shorter crown but wonder if it would look weird if it did not match.

Here is a picture of the 3 inch moulding on the opposite wall.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:03PM
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I've seen some interesting moulding applications that almost make soffits look like a good thing. Let me see if I can pull up some pics of a few examples for you.

I mean, how cool this is?

Some people even light the soffits, with up or down lighting. This one shows both, conveniently.

I hope these give you some ideas. It might be worth a google.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:43PM
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We had high hopes of a new soffit-free kitchen...only to be told that all but one would stay, unless we were willing to gut our upstairs bathrooms (yikes!) So the last soffit stayed. I tried to make it blend in with the non-soffit side, and with the cabinetry below. Molding is on the side of the soffit, ceiling paint is underneath it, and BM "Healing Aloe" is above the window between the two cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Sorry the pictures are soooo big (oops). First time trying to figure out posting multiple pictures. Need to work on that...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Gosh it's fun to see all of these beautiful kitchens.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 2:00AM
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Love the big pics, atgd -- more detail to devour. Yum. :-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:13AM
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Steph2000, thanks so much, these are some wonderful pictures. This is giving me some ideas.

ATGD - Love what you did. A few questions:
Did you put any kind of moulding between the top of your cabinets and the bottom of the soffit?
Also, did you match your ceiling paint on the bottom of the soffit to the color of the moulding?
And lastly, the moulding on the soffit it 2 or 3 separate pieces?
Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:53PM
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Thanks! Erinf8, yes the whole side of the soffit is covered in molding so it matches the molding on top of the cabinetry that goes to the ceiling. My guy made the top part to match the original dentil molding throughout my house. Underneath is a piece of flat stock. Underneath that is a small rounded piece. All the molding is painted with the cabinetry paint (sprayed on). We bought extra cabinet paint from Schuler (semicustom). The cabinet paint has a certain look - it's not shiny but it's not 100% flat. The ceiling paint on the bottom of the soffit matches the ceiling paint elsewhere - it is flat paint and it is the same color throughout my downstairs. I had ordered my cabinets first and they were all here before demo. So once I found out about the bad news regarding the soffit, we basically played around with ideas after the cabinets were installed. I was so nervous but in the end I was really happy with the results.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:22PM
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Sorry, I think I misread your question. No, there is no moulding between the top of the cabinets and the bottom of the soffit. And in person I think it looks fine. I hadn't thought about covering the bottom of the soffit in moulding...trying to picture how that would look. Interesting idea!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:31PM
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ATGD, The moulding on the bottom is just a thought to make it all look like one piece of furniture, I think to keep it easy we would just leave the bottom drywall as well. Thanks again for your input.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Did you put similar moulding on the other wall of the kitchen or in areas where there are no cabinets?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:42AM
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OT: Abouttogetdusty, You pics are not to big (IMHO). I wish everyone would post photos people can actually see. You kitchen is beautiful!

erinf8, I would do molding and I don't think the soffits look bad. I think soffits get an unfair bad rap. It really depends on the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Is your picture your new soffit or your old soffit? Just wondering if the soffits have already been opened & replaced. We had similar looking soffits in our kitchen, powder room & laundry room that all contained plumbing. Some the soffits contained cast iron pipes that were replaced with smaller PVC piping. They were able to replace/move all the pipes & get rid of the soffits. We had a couple of different plumbers look at it. One said it could be done & successfully did it. Could the plumbing be moved/replaced so at least the soffit didn't jut out? If your still in the building phase, you might have some other plumbers look at it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:12AM
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We too were bummed since we couldn't lose our soffits.

Here's what we did.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:24AM
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We had to use antique mirror behind the mullions to hide the soffit.

If you're interested I can send you more photos of how we fixed all of the awkward spots that arose from covering the soffit with wood.

We're very happy with out it came out.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:27AM
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One more photo to show the solution we came up with for the corner.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I'm sorry to hear that things aren't working out as you hoped. But, I really do think that it can be done nicely and once you get everything finished, you'll be happy.

Seeing some of these lovely kitchens with the photos where they've embraced the soffit has to help quite a bit. I think that a big part of making the soffits look good seems to be putting some crown molding on looks like you just have a lot of crown molding then. Maybe not the look you were originally going for, but still might be workable.

Since yours seems to be coming forward more than many shown here, I'm wondering if the picture that used it to hold lighting might be one of your best options.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:11PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Make the soffit extend the same heught and depth alll the way around the room. You now have a tray ceiling instead of a soffit. Treat it as such with the molding.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Crown molding around and into the ceiling, which will make the ceiling appear higher if painted a different color. I also was thinking tray ceiling effect; I'd even paint the ceiling a very light blue.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Go with the crown mold; your soffits will look great.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Innovative ideas in some nice kitchens

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:41PM
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