Should cabinet crowns all be the same height?

bellajourneyAugust 29, 2012

Hi everyone!

Some of our cabinets have a soffit over them (the soffit has pipes close to the edges, and we can't afford to reroute them - so sadly they must stay). There is about .75" - 1" of space for a crown. I should also note that the soffit protrudes past the cabinets depth-wise.

However, on the opposite side of the kitchen - there aren't any soffits. DH is considering putting a larger crown on the non soffit cabinets, but I feel like they need to all be consistent, and should all be the same (although short) height.

What do you think?

Thank you! :)

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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, make them consistent....if soffit is needed over one, make it over all so they are consistent and the room looks cohesive.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 6:00PM
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AnnieDeighnaugh - Thanks for your reply! So - you're suggesting to build a soffit over the other side of the kitchen? Hmmm - we hadn't thought of that. We hate the soffit that we have and hope to one day get rid of, or at least shrink it down in size. I don't think that DH will want to actuallly build another dreaded soffit. I am however, kicking myself that I didn't listen to his suggestion of taking the cabinets all the way to the ceiling on the non soffit side. Sigh - hindsight is 20/20, right? I guess we will have to chalk this up to another rookie mistake. =/

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:19PM
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So buy some shorter cabinets and stick 'em up there. I'm painting, so that's what I did to get a stacked cabinet look.
I'm not sure about building another soffit, but without it, I'd tend to use the same crown, but taller.

[wheedle] maybe if there were some pictures....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Bellajourney, have you already purchased your cabinets? If not, I also had plumbing in a soffit. My cabinet maker was able to build my cabinets in such a way where the soffit was incorporated into the valance above the window. Is this an option for you?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Here's the same area with the valance installed.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:13AM
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CEFreeman - Thanks for your reply! How I wish we could add cabinets above! I've seen photos of kitchens like that and adore them. Unfortunately, we're DIY on a small budget and have Ikea cabinets (and limited size options). There is only 9" of space above the cabinets on the non soffit size. We can't afford to get them custom made. :( I'll post pics below.

april love - Your cabinets are beautiful! That is so fantastic that you could get them to the ceiling and allow room for the pipes. Our pipes come right to the bottom front edge of the soffit, so we couldn't do what you did. And, our cabinets are already installed. But - that is a fantastic idea for a future reno (when we can afford to reroute everything) and I will definitely save it in my files! Thank you!

So - here is what we're dealing with. (I should note that we have 8' ceilings and the kitchen is about 10' wide from the soffit side to the non soffit side.)

Huge soffits on left and back of kitchen:

No soffits and 9" of space above cabinets on right side:

These are the various crown options we've come up with:

Option A: Ikea bullnose crown (might paint it, since it is whiter and glossier than cabinets)

Option B: Bullnose with small vertical detail on bottom

Option C (only for non soffit cabinets): stacked trim - very rough mockup

And here are some of the details of our kitchen (it is still missing a white wide plank v groove backsplash, cover panels on the sides of cabinets and light rails, etc.)

Do any of these crown options work?

Thank you, again!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:47AM
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I'd build the soffits. Especially with that odd corner to the left of the fridge. If you want to remove them later, it will be much easier to remove the whole "box" that's applied to the ceiling than it will the ones on the other side that were built to conceal the pipes. Take down the cabinets, build the box, drywall face the front and the first two inches of the lower portion, then attach the box to the ceiling from the underside. Then you can put in a bit of tape and mud and make it look like a solid soffit. Rehang the cabinets, and when you want to remove the soffits down the road, this side will at least come off really easy with the cut of a utility knife through the drywall paper and the removal of a couple of screws.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 10:10AM
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GreenDesigns - Cr@p. Really? Wouldn't adding soffits to the other side make a dated and already small kitchen feel even more dated and smaller? The pantry to the left of the fridge does feel awkward now...I never thought a soffit would "fix" it. I have no idea how to talk DH into building a loathsome soffit...

Here's a render of the left of the fridge.

And here's an actual photo. Side panel is missing, and the wall is angled where it meets the ceiling (top left).

Is the main problem having space above the cabinets in general, or having it unbalanced with a soffit on only one side?

Aside from a soffit, or additional custom cabinetry - is there any other way to fill and balance the space, while still retaining a sense of openness? Maybe pretty items could be displayed? Or - perhaps we could build some sort of cubbies? =/

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:07AM
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I think if you get creative you could add crown to the existing soffit and match it on the other cabinets. I would not want to add a soffit.

You have a beautiful kitchen going on there and excited to see the finished results.

Contemporary Kitchen design by Charlotte Design-build Case Remodeling

Contemporary Kitchen design

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I meant to add that the contemporary kitchen design picture I posted above with the dog figure is on top of the range wall cabinets - at first glance it looks like a soffit over the range with added crown. I think you could achieve the same look with crown and trim.

I searched "soffit crown" on and got several results you may want to look at for inspiration.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:50AM
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rtwilliams - Thanks so much for your replies, photos and kind words. They are very helpful. I think we can handle that - adding a nice crown to the top of the soffits and have it continue around the kitchen to the non soffit side. Hopefully that would give it some continuity. And, as for the cabinet trim, we can keep it small and matching. Our soffits do extend 6" past the doors of the cabinets (I wish they were flush, or at least only a little bit past them) - but, I did look on Houzz as you suggested, and saw some that were similiar to ours. Thanks, again!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Just figured out how to link to a Houzz photo! Here is a kitchen with deeper soffits (on wall with window) like ours, with a bigger crown at the ceiling, and smaller trim on the cabinets. I will definitely share this photo with DH: :)

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco Interior Designer Sophie Azouaou

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Yes! In your inspiration picture it might flow better if the soffit areas where painted a lighter neutral paint, it would make the cabinets taller visually. I can't tell by your pictures if the soffit over your dinette has a stopping point or not. Just a thought : )

Traditional Kitchen design by Toronto Interior Designer Jennifer Brouwer (Jennifer Brouwer Design)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 2:28PM
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rtwilliams - Thank you, again! :) I actually have been contemplating changing the green to a paler, more neutral shade of green (for the whole kitchen, actually). The current green is deeper and more vibrant than the photos show. BM Spring Bud is my front runner at the moment. Can't wait to test it out!

And yes, the soffit does run over the breakfast nook as well. Here's a photo from a bit earlier in the reno showing it (all trim will be painted white - at some point!)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 2:59PM
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rtwilliams - Now you've got me wondering - should we paint the walls and soffits some shade of white and make the backsplash a color? I was planning on having pale green walls and soffits and a white backsplash - but - you're eyes would be drawn to the green first. Maybe we should reverse it. Hmmmm....will discuss with DH...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Did you see mpagmoms kitchen reveal? this is a picture of her kitchen using a green on the walls and taking the white of the cabinets up to the crown making the cabinets appear to go all the way to the ceiling. I think it visually would make your kitchen area seem larger and bright. If not it is just paint and you could change it if you didn't like it. Even with your soffit being past the front of your cabinets your eye would not see that unless you are standing directly under the soffit area and looking up.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:12AM
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rtwilliams - You are too kind! What a beautiful kitchen! I wish I could get my kitchen to look like that, but our soffits go over the eating area too, not just the cabinets. If we painted only the soffits white, it would look like the ceiling was low (well, which I guess it is!).

Our DIY kitchen remodel is being done on a strict budget. One day, for a future remodel, I hope to have enough funds to get custom cabinets (or at least custom doors) and completely remove (or at least shrink down) the ugly soffits. I can't WAIT for the day when I can take a sledgehammer to them!! It will be SO gratifying!! :)

I talked the ideas and photos over with my DH. He doesn't think the crown where the ceiling and soffit meet will work b/c our kitchen has some strange angles and opens up to both the den and foyer so we couldn't continue the crown to envelop the kitchen - it would have to stop awkwardly in a number of places. =/ Sigh - I think, in our case we are going to have to "embrace" the soffit. Maybe I can dress it up with some pretty decorative plates, and add some collectibles over the non soffited cabinets to try to make it look cohesive. Our kitchen is never going to be anywhere Near as gorgeous as the kitchens that are shown on here. It will probably look like most people's before photos. But, we just have to try to be grateful for what we have, and make the best of it.

Thank you again, for all of your thoughtful help!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:48PM
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B and no soffit over the ref and no collectibles on top.

I like the little detail for you (little bit more cottage than the plain bullnose). I think the no soffit looks cleaner than "total soffit", but that's my personal taste.

I have something called solid crown as part of the house casings and we added a piece to the top of the over the ref cabinet which is partly under a soffit. You can just see it in the photo. The whole top molding treatment is an echo of the door casings with a thin divider molding, then a plain board on edge with the solid crown on top.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 12:23AM
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bmorepanic - Thank You!!! We are going to do exactly what you suggested - crown option "B" (so glad you got a hint of a cottage vibe from it!) and we will skip adding a soffit and displaying collectibles. We'll just keep it clean and simple. I'll stop stressing over it now. :) (By the way, your kitchen is lovely! Love your cabinets and the solid crown looks great. Thank you for the photo!) :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:35AM
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I didn't read everybody's comments, so part or all of this may be redundant.

I would paint the soffits the same color as the cabs. I am not a great fan of white cabs, but in this case, the whiter the better. Maybe cabs and ceiling the same color, even.

I would use the second molding to close off the gap between cabs and soffit.

Then I would install cabinets above the existing cabinets on the right all the way to the ceiling.

In my head this works.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Regarding the molding:
What would happen if you put crown molding above the soffit and above new ceiling height cabs on the right? Again, working to unify the two areas?

Also, I have seen people put mock ''doors'' and hardware on soffits. You could do this with thin lath strips and knobs.

I do realize the soffits protrude slightly beyond the cabs, but I think I would ignore that except for the smallest possible trim to close the gap.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:26AM
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