Any help for these soffits?!

jellybenAugust 15, 2014

These soffits are 28inches tall from the crown to the top of cabinets. I love the cabinets(plus we can't really afford to replace them) but the soffit is just so big! During my latest bout of insomnia I had the idea to remove the soffits without removing the cabinets. Any chance this is actually possible?! I have no idea if the soffits even contain wires or pipes. If they have to stay(which I suspect is the case!) is there any way to make them less in-your-face?

Sigh. We looked at a dozen houses and this 'perfect in every other way' house was the only one with a troubled kitchen!

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Another view. Don't know how to post two pics in one post!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:29AM
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You can removed the can light from over the sink to take a peek inside :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Brilliant! And this is why I love this board. Thanks!!

ETA: darn. There is a tube around the light so that I can't access the soffit at all. Where's my sledgehammer?!

This post was edited by jellyben on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 11:55

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Oh, sure, those soffits can get LOTS of help!

-paint them to match your cabinets and fool the eye
-trim them out like wainscoting and with crown molding
-depending on what is behind them you can remove them partially and convert them to open display shelves.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:33PM
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Take a drill and a 1-inch spade bit and drill one or two holes that you can see into with a flashlight and check it out. Holes are MUCH easier to patch than sledgehammer damage, ha ha!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Is it just a trick of photography or are those the tallest soffits I have ever seen?? I mean no offense by that...just never seen them that big. I can't imagine that they actually NEED to be that big...even if there is wiring, plumbing and HVAC running through them, I bet you could at least use part of that space.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Jellyben - I would sigh too. I'm still scratching my head over the hole for the arched light, but I bet it looks great from the outside! Your soffits look to be purely aesthetic and should not be too much trouble to change. I would not let it stop me from buying. At least take care of the sink wall. That's what would bother me the most.

You do have wiring in part of the soffits because you have a can light over the sink. If you have a bathroom anywhere above the kitchen, you might have some plumbing. If not, then it's a pretty safe bet you only have wiring to deal with. Rerouting wiring is fairly easy.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:35PM
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One of the simplest way to help blend in the soffits is to paint them in the same shade as the cabinets -- the viewers eye will see a far more cohesive wall .....

.... Also some folks have added wood trim and moldings to the soffits (and then paint the whole thing in the same color as the cabinets) -- again -- a great way to help the whole wall space look more visually cohesive ......

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- pin board of soffit ideas

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:42PM
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I got lost somewhere on Pinterest, so I do not know f this is the same board that teacats shared, but look at this one, I love it! They trimmed out the wall like wainscoting, but they also added a plate shelf and are displaying some beautiful things up there!

Here is a link that might be useful: tricked-out tall soffit

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Oh how lovely, greenhaven!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Dcward89-they are 2 1/2 feet tall! The thing that gets me is the previous owner worked for a custom cabinet company. He did so many things in this kitchen(29 in soffits being one!) that make me scratch my head.
My next question is, before I start hacking into the soffits, who would be the best type of person to call to see if it can be done? A contractor, a kitchen guy? Does anyone think they can be removed with the cabinets in place?

Greenhaven and teacats, thanks for the links. At least y'all have given me some soffit options!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:01PM
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My DH and I DIY'd everything but the electrical in our "down to the studs" kitchen reno. There is no way I would attempt to take down those soffits with the cabinets in place...I just can't see that happening without damage to the cabinets. It should be fairly easy though to remove those upper cabinets. I say "should be" because as DIY'ers we have run into so many things we didn't expect! Typically upper cabinets would be screwed into studs in the wall and those may be screwed into the soffits as well...shouldn't be too terribly hard to unscrew them and take them down and store them out of the work area. Of course that would be after figuring out if the soffits can be removed or not. I agree with Greenhaven...grab a drill and a big ol' spade bit and start drilling holes and see what's in there.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Any time and $ spent trying to dress them up would be wasted without taking a peek inside first. Take down the cab above the fridge (it's the smallest and easiest), then knock a hole in that soffit and take a look :)

This post was edited by Errant on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 17:00

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Ok y'all have given me much food for thought. Going to think long and hard about whether we even want to go down this road!

Thanks to everyone!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:43PM
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I would cut a large (plate size) piece out of one of the soffits so I could clearly see what's inside. Why? If you don't like what you see, you can ease your plate-size piece back into place and fix the cut edge. We just ripped right in to take 'em out and found they were filled with insulation that ended up *everywhere*. What a mess.

Friends of ours, however, bought a house with soffits and easily removed all the front panels, finding nothing but space behind. They did not remove cabinets first; everything stayed in place while they remodeled. I think (not sure) that they stacked short cabs on top where soffits had been.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 3:44AM
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I think painting them to match the cabinets is the best option in this case. Even if the soffits are empty and could be removed , I think the cabinets will look "too small" with all that empty height above them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 9:10AM
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i didn't read all the replies, but since you mention that you won't be able to replace the cabinets, what's the plan for the 28" of open space IF you can/could actually remove the soffit?

Stack smaller cabinets? Add molding? Baskets? Shelves?

This is all speculation, but I wonder whether there may be ducts, pipes, etc. for the upper portion (as far down as where the can light is, and then Mr. Carpenter extended the soffit for a streamlined look)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 9:37AM
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I just redid my condo kitchen that had a soffit but not quite so big. I purchased a USB wired camera that had a small light at the end of it on amazon, It was inexpensive, drilled a small hole inside my cabinet top, connected the camera to computer and looked around inside. I figured if there was something inside there then I would not have to repair the soffit. Luckily there was nothing in there and was able to get cabinets to the ceiling.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:21AM
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jancy, that is so smart, I feel dumb for not thinking of it! Great idea.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 2:35PM
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I prefer cabinets that go to the ceiling. But my second choice is soffitts. The idea of a cabinet terminating before the ceiling and all the dirt, grease, and dust that collect up there...totally grosses me out. JMHO.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Nosoccermom, you bring up a pretty darn good point! The open space would be too big and I am not a fan of putting baskets or similar up there because of the dust. I think I will live with the soffits and perhaps look at painting them the same color as the cabinets.
Thank you everyone for helping me think this through!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:41PM
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That is what we are here for! Have some fun with it, and don't forget to share pics!

*edited for spelling, stupid Nook!

This post was edited by greenhaven on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 10:13

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:01PM
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I would do the camera idea and see what is up there. That is so brilliant. Then, if there is dead space, I think I would have short cabinets put up there. It would drastically increase you cabinet space. Worst case scenario you would have to repaint all the cabinets to get them to match. But a good cabinet guy would be able to match the molding and such.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 2:14PM
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I ditto what navychic said. I actually like the soffits even if my preference is ceiling height cabinets. Your room looks finished and custom. It is not usual but is pretty to my eye.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:53PM
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I would paint the soffits the same color as the cabinets and live with them since your cabinets are beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:28PM
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