Posts Tagged ‘kitchen remodel’

Remodel Woes: Kitchen Ceiling and Cabinet Soffits

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

We’ve owned and rented homes over the years with kitchen cabinet soffits, those boxy sheetrocked rectangles that take up space above kitchen cabinets. They’re a common element in many a subdivision kitchen built in the 1980s and 1990s and I’m not a huge fan of them, so in a remodel, removing them or disguising them is my first plan. 

Kitchen soffits as a drop down ceiling can serve a purpose, often it is to hide beams, wiring, and pipes but sometimes not; I’ve always preferred a kitchen ceiling the same height as adjacent rooms. Kitchen cabinet soffits are often space fillers, there are decorative ways to disguise or improve the look of them and there’s the more challenging architectural undertaking of removing them. It’s a topic on my mind this month since we’ve encountered a situation where we’re unable to remove the drop down soffit in our two ongoing kitchen remodels.

Here’s a view of the kitchen in Las Vegas from last fall before we removed the old countertop and cabinets and lowered the pony wall. It shows the drop down kitchen soffit above the footprint of the space which I wanted to remove so very much so that the kitchen’s ceiling was the same height as the adjacent family room and breakfast nook.

soffit vegas kitchen

We tore out part of the ceiling only to discover that a structural beam and water pipes ran through the middle of it, the soffit wasn’t there just to house the big box florescent light, it was the hub of all the electrical, plumbing, and structural support of the home which made me upset because I wished the architect of this subdivision had designed the home so that the beams and pipes lived in the subfloor instead, grrr. The cost and headache and permits were just too much to change it so instead we paid to repair the demo and live with a drop down ceiling soffit in this space.

The new lighting plan will help – we did remove the florescent light box and updated the lighting with recessed cans and pendants over the peninsula in December – new cabinets and countertops will also be a huge improvement.

Grandma’s kitchen remodel (below) is progressing but we hit a similar road bump when we discovered the drop down ceiling soffit couldn’t be raised because of structural issues running through the center of it. Strike Two. We had to delay the cabinet order so that the new upper cabinets fit the lower height and thankfully we caught the issue in time to not be charged for the changes, however again we are stuck with a ceiling that we originally anticipated raising to the same level as the family room. (See the “before” for this space here and the kitchen design plan here.)

grandmas kitchen progress

While our issue is one of a full drop down ceiling, I’ve been in plenty of kitchens with a similar issue of soffits that exist just above the cabinets (also called fur downs in different regions of the country). I went in search of kitchen spaces where soffits look good because they’ve been incorporated into the design plan of the kitchen.

This wood and white kitchen’s cabinet soffits are trimmed beautifully with molding so that they blend in with the upper cabinetry.

white trim kitchen soffit

authentic oak

Here’s another dreamy example in a favorite kitchen of molding used to enhance the soffits above the white cabinets.

white kitchen fiorella design

fiorella design

In this all white kitchen, the cabinet soffits are hidden by beautiful beams and part of the architectural plan from the start.

white kitchen wood floors plank ceiling with beams

 wendy resin interiors

 

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Kitchen Remodel: It Begins!

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Last week we placed the order for our kitchen cabinets for the Las Vegas fixer and we’re now in the process of picking appliances and the backsplash tile. We gutted the kitchen in November now it sits empty with no cabinets or appliances until the end of December when the new ones arrive.

Ordering new kitchen cabinets is always a huge deal, one that requires a lot of research – it’s not like a quick refresh with paint or toss pillows ha! No, the decisions are so FINAL so you’ve got to think it through. We spent many months considering our options and I decided instead of repainting the 25 year old cabinets, to upgrade and replace them with a classic yet contemporary Shaker style. For this remodeling project I’m partnering with Cliq Studios, this post is part one of a four part series where we’ll be documenting the kitchen remodel from demo to completion in February.

First, some details about the kitchen itself. When we bought the house the kitchen was my least favorite space. I’ll come right out and say it, I hated it at first. It has no window, so it must get all its light from adjacent spaces. I’m a big believer in the idea that a kitchen of all spaces should have a window so that little detail was disappointing. Also the kitchen sits right in the middle of the home so it acts as a pass through and as a result will see extra traffic from kids and pets and visitors. As a cook I prefer kitchens that are tucked away, especially when I’m simmering sauces while drinking wine :) It also has an awkward angled peninsula and I prefer the classic U or L shape with a window above the sink so this kitchen’s layout was almost a deal breaker, but I concluded since I liked the rest of the house so much it was a space that if modernized could be really nice!

Here are pictures of the old kitchen cabinets before we removed them, it will give you an idea of the layout since the new cabinets have a similar elevation.The first thing we did over the summer was remove the *lovely* wallpaper which was everywhere and we replaced the tile floors (full details of the new porcelain wood tile here).

kitchen before range wall

Same view a few months later, but that big ugly box florescent light above has been replaced with four recessed lights and we added three pendants over the peninsula which is already a huge improvement.

range wall

The adjacent wall and old pantry…

cabinet wall

 

When we pulled out the cabinets they were in pretty bad shape, so we had no regrets replacing them. Pulling out the backsplash destroyed the sheetrock so we replaced that too. Here it is today, our blank slate!

kitchen before

 

Instead of an all white kitchen we opted for gray bases and white cabinets above. After our samples arrived, we chose the basic White and the very pretty Harbor hue.

cliq studios painted cabinets

The new cabinets will look much more modern thanks to the elevation drawn up by the kitchen cabinet designer at Cliq Studios. We’re not moving any appliances but we are upgrading with details like drawers and lazy Susan cabinets in the corner.

To the range wall we added drawers on the left for cookware, and to the adjacent wall we included a few glass cabinets in the new design. We are not adding a microwave, only a hood. We may build a chimney hood ourselves and paint it to match, we will share the step by step if so!

new kitchen cabinets cliq studios

 

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