Staggered Cabinet Height?

chartma530April 4, 2009

I am remodeling our 1980's kitchen and I have a question on kitchen cabinet heights. I have 8 foot ceilings and the cabinets are to be staggered between 30" and 36". I am doing a full overlay so was told 42" would be too tall with the crown. The designer has the 30" cabs with a 2" crown and the 36" cabs with a 4" filler valance and a 2" crown, in order to bring them to the ceiling. That is causing a 10" difference in the heights of the 2 different sized cabinets. I think they will look funny with that pronounced a difference in heights, especially since I want a more contempory look. Normally when I see pics of staggered cabinets, they appear about 6" different in heights. I asked her to remove the 4" filler valance, but she says that I will then have a 4" gap between the top of the 36" cabinet and the ceiling and that would be a big dust collector and wouldn't look right. I would appreciate any thoughts or opinions.

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Do you have your heart set on staggered cabinet heights? I'm thinking for a contemporary look, cabinets should all be one height and go to the ceiling without huge trim moldings -- more streamlined and less fussy.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 8:00PM
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No, I don't really have my heart set on the staggered cabinets. I wouldn't mind if they are all one height but am still not sure if I like the 4" valance plus 2" crown to bring them to ceiling height. Would that add too much fuss to my simple natural maple mission style cabinets?
But if I remove the valance, I will have a 4 inch gap between the cabinet and the ceiling? Is that too small of a space?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:36PM
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If you want the crown, then why don't you use the same filler on the lower cabinets? That's what I'm doing to bring the crown over the top of the corner cabinet door (6" higher but same depth as lower cabinets). I think it looks better too. This is just a mockup, it's sitting behind cabinet slightly so I could get down and take picture. It will be the same height as the corner cabinet, and then the corner cabinet will use the same filler, crown, and bead molding but go all the way to the ceiling. My lower crowns will then be about 5.5"-6" from the (uneven) ceiling.

If you don't really want crown, but want to go all the way to ceiling, why can't you change to 42" cabinets?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 11:03PM
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Thanks for the picture. I had thought of that as well, but if I use the same 4" filler and 2" crown, I will only have an opening of 6" from the smaller cabinets to the ceiling and the designer thinks that is too short of an opening and will become a hard to clean, dusty, grease collecting area. Don't know if anyone agrees or disagrees with that? (I cannot use 42" cabinets because I selected full overlay doors and they would brush the ceiling.) I could change to all 36" cabinets with a 4" filler valance and 2" crown on all to bring them to the ceiling which would resolve the issue of the small gap.
This is my first major home remodel and I am getting so stressed out with all these details. I don't want to have any regrets when it is done.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 8:22AM
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I would do all 36" cabinets then. I hope the 6" gap won't be a pain - my carpenter didn't want to bring my lower cabinets all the way to the ceiling. Though I guess I can go buy 1x10's instead of the 1x4's I got and tell him to just do it (maybe add picture frame molding to create "panel" on those huge fillers there?).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Our cabinets are staggered and the tallest are only a few inches from the ceiling. Do they collect dust? Couldn't tell you, I haven't looked. :-)

A philosophical question: If dust collects and no one sees it, does it make a mess? ;-p

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 6:26PM
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I think your cabinets look fabulous. (I'm sure I will never be looking up there either) Thank you for sharing the photo. I guess my KD just prefers not to have the small gap to ceiling but it certainly looks fine to me. I think I would prefer the 4" gap to ceiling rather than add a 4" filler piece.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:27PM
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I agree with you kitty. I think too much filler and thick crown molding can look clunky and top-heavy, especially where you're going for a more modern, streamlined look. Dust collecting up there in that gap would drive me nuts even though I wouldn't see it ... just knowing it's up there, but I know people who lay paper towels up there and then change them out every few months.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:33PM
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If you are still trying to decide on a "look", find the "show me your island" thread - you can see a lot of kitchens there, most show the whole kitchen not a closeup of the island, and it's easier than surfing the entire FKB.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 11:02PM
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weedyacres, I love your cabinets and I'm not a fan of painted wood. I agree with the philosophical question - I've cleaned the tops of my cabinets 3 times in almost 2 years, 1) After construction 2) after retaping, mudding, sanding and painting all the ceilings downstairs (6 months after the 1st cleaning) and 3) app. a year after 2nd cleaning when I was standing on countertops holding up pieces of crown and saw how yucky they were. Not as yucky as first 2 times, so I think once we're done with construction (another year?) I could easily go a year b/t cleanings.

About the belly button - we've got the same thing with recessed lights. There is a screw in the can to adjust the height of the socket above the ceiling - the light above your range hood is an "outie" LOL.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 11:10PM
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