How to make cabinets up to the ceiling look good - 10 ft ceiling

enrightJune 24, 2009

I really like kitchens with white cabinets with crown molding that goes up to the ceiling (ie Christopher Peacock style). But I cannot afford custom cabinets-- I've priced it. I want to know how to stack cabinets so that it will not look ridiculous. Should I put a 12 inch cabinet on top of a 42 inch cabinet?? A kitchen designer (who I did not like) told me that upper cabinets that are taller than 54 inches look bad. Is this true? I am not sure how to make a crown molding to close the huge gap between the top of 54 inch cabinets and the ceiling, which is at least 14 inches taller. Any suggestions or pictures would be helpful. I have looked at the finished kitchens blog but most of the cabinets are custom made or do not go to a ceiling as tall as mine.

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Mine are 42" with a 15" stacked above and a piece of trim (about 3/4-1") in between to make the look more finished. That left us about 7 inches for the crown. You could do a 12" with a taller crown, but I liked having the room in the cabinet (would even go 18 if I could) and we were matching an existing crown in the adjacent rooms.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 3:18PM
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Thank you for the help. I would love to see a picture so I could get an idea of how it would look. I am not sure how to do that though.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 3:27PM
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The link shows a photo during installation. You can see how the crown is part way up (there is a piece attached to the cabinet box that doesn't show when done, then the base that is a straigh piece of trim and then the angled crowm trim. The multiple pieces allow you to attach to frameless cabs and adjust the height to accomodate any changes in your ceiling height.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 3:38PM
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many people on these threads find custom cabinetry to be less than going through a dealer, so don't dismiss it without some investigation.

I think prettykitty's kitchen is amazing and her ceilings are even taller than 10'.

Here is a link that might be useful: prettykitty's kitchen

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 4:04PM
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Our ceilings are about 12 feet. We installed a coffered ceiling to bring the height down to the level of the cabinets. As you can see, we have quite substantial moldings at the top of the cabinets, which is consistent with moldings throughout the house.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:22PM
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One way would be to make all the uppers with glass (either transparent or opaque) doors so that they store stuff but do not contribute to the "tall" look by extending the wood all the way to the ceiling.

An alternative is similar to PrettyKitty's kitchen (Fabulous btw), where the cabinets have similar color to the ceiling -- or the other way round -- so that eye is cheated into thinking that it is a part of ceiling and not cabinetry.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:13PM
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The thing about very tall upper cabinets is that they tend to feel like they're looming. If you split the vertical area up, you get eliminate a lot of that walls pushing down on you thing. Breaking the door into two helps, with the shorter one on top. In both of the kitchens above, the door styles are different--that helps more. They also have glass on one rank of doors, which splits up the vertical plane more by pushing part of it back into the cabinet (view through the glass).

I've also seen a nice version where instead of the upper cabinets, they just put side framing to make cubbies that line up with the cabinets. The back wall is painted, and the space is used for baskets, large bowls, etc. It's a bit dusty, but decorative, uses the space, and breaks the vertical plane by remvoing it!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:31PM
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I am envious of your tall ceilings. I wanted the stacked cabs but it just wouldn't work with my 8 foot ceilings and I had to strip out a lot of stuff anyway to make budget.

I've been living on the Crown Point web site lately and if you go there and check out the Victorian kitchens you'll see several examples of stacked cabinets. It is a great look!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:39PM
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There was no way I could afford something as nice as the above cabinets, so I made do with 42" uppers and painted paneling above to sort of match the divisions of the cabinets.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:16PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions and pictures. Your kitchens are so beautiful. They are very inspiring!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:52PM
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We have 11 foot ceilings and did stacked 18" glass fronted cabs on 42" uppers. We also staggered the heights for more interest.

The middle cab was missing the top part of the crown moulding trim in the above pic.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 5:27AM
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Thank you you so much for your suggestions and especially for the pictures! It is very helpful to know how good the cabinets look stacked.

Lascatz, Jeanne Kitchen and Lishaana- your kitchens are so pretty; what type of cabinets did you use?
Sombreuil-- your paneling is GORGEOUS but way beyond my capability!
MamaPapaPaige--I did price out custom cabinets from 2 separate cabinet makers. I got a quote for $14K from each which I know is not unreasonable, but I cannot justify spending that much. I have a large family and can only spend that much if one of the kids agrees not to go to college. Right now they refuse to agree that a pretty kitchen is more important than their education! They are SO unreasonable.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:00AM
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We too are trying to design our kitchen using stacked cabinets with the top cabinet being glass.

Jeanie_Kitchen, your kitchen is stunning. (As is all the other kitchens pictured on this thread!) What is the name of your two granites in your kitchen? Also, do you have a picture taken of your stove mantel taken from the side? I can't tell if the piece that has the corbel at the bottom is flush with the side cabinet or pulled out a bit.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:47PM
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i have 9 foot ceilings and put cabinets on top. Here are the photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinets

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:45PM
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I have a 13' ceiling and put up the 5 glass upper cabinets myself all for only about $350.00. (IKEA).

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:11PM
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Anybody knows where I can buy 12" cabinets I really like to stack them on top of my top cupboards.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:49AM
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nalcar-that is ingenius and looks custom! you were very creative to think if that and i love how you added something to the sides to make it look like 1 custom cab!
marthese0206- you can get 12" cabs from any kd, or box store or ikea like nalcar did. i saw a diamond display at lowes that has the lift up cabs like nalcar's that i though would be an awesome otr micro cab alas they only came 12" tall.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:53AM
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We had 9' ceilings and couldn't afford, well almost anything at the time. But we had SO much wasted space with 30" cabinets. So we ordered inexpensive cabinets from lowes and stacked them ourselves. We got cool cup pulls and knobs. It came out so great looking in our 100 year old house. We used a combination of small boxes and larger ones for the top layer.

The design guy at lowes thought it'd be too closed in, no way. It felt bigger and WAY prettier than before.

House sold in one day years later and we got the use of space for years!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:22AM
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