1920s kitchen double whammy problem
Hi guys, Okay, I have double trouble in my 1920s kitchen remodel. After months of agonizing over which cabinets to choose, I finally made a decision. I've settled on layout. I've ordered appliances. I've put a deposit on a slab of marble. I'm really close to finally ordering cabinets. (Kitchen forum is great btw.)
We are not moving walls. We are working within the existing space.
Here's problem one. My (plaster) ceilings are really uneven. Not unusual for an old house. Mine are about an inch different over a pretty short span of 8 feet or so right where the bulk of the upper cabinets will go. I've considered various options for addressing this: 1. Stack the molding and cheat the difference on the stock piece. This is actually how it is currently and it is definitely noticeable. 2. "Even" the ceiling so the crown can go all the way up without needing much of a cheat- probably using furring strips to shim and then doing a cottage style 6in tongue and groove ceiling. 3. Float the crown a few inches below the ceiling
Option 2 adds a lot of extra expense- and I don't mind that so much- except nothing in our house is even, level or plumb because it is so old and I just wonder to myself- once you start trying to even things, where do you stop? Also, several folks have told me that shimming the ceiling and then recovering it (essentially making a kind of drop ceiling) might not actually fix the problem. I don't really understand this but it apparently has to do with the joists themselves being potentially uneven and/ or continued settling. (Feel free to chime in if this totally off.)
So reluctantly I came to peace with having the cabinet and crown not go all the way to the ceiling. (After 2 months of obsessing over pictures on Houzz.) And just when I was about to place the order, I remembered the kicker- the double whammy of it all... On the main wall of upper cabinets, there is a heating duct that goes through the very top of one of the cabinets. It comes up from the basement and through the wall behind the cabinets and then angles up to the bedroom heat register on the second floor. It can't go straight up because it would be outside of the room it heats. The current cabinets (which are site built) have been modified so that they are built around the duct. And our new cabinets will be custom so they too can have that modification. But obviously I do not want to see the heat duct coming up out of the top of my new cabinets... which means having my cabinets down a few inches from the ceiling is not a viable option.
Which brings me back to needing the crown to go all the way to the ceiling, correct? Is that the only/ best option even if it means adding considerable expense to the project?
Or are there options I am not seeing or considering?