Kitchen cabinet design - soffit or not?
April 6, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We have a beam over the main sink (on the left), so we will hide it in a soffit. The uppers on that side will be underneath the soffit.

My question is for the upper cabinets on each side of the hood vent. Shall I make a mini soffit above each cabinet (as drawn), or just keep it open? The hood vent will stretch to the ceiling (8'6").

Thank you!
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Patricia Colwell
Why are you running cabinets at different heights? I think this look sucks go to the ceiling where you can , much better use of space and a more timeless look.
   April 6, 2014 at 6:15PM
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Patricia Colwell
Sorry did not look at sketch properly why not run cabinets all the way across that window wall to the ceiling and no soffit.
   April 6, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Take those cabinets full height instead of fake soffits.
   April 6, 2014 at 6:25PM
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Essentially there are two design obstacles.

1) Given the beam, you must have soffit on the main sink wall.

2) Ceiling height of 102" (8'6") means even a 42" tall cabinet placed at standard 54" would take the top of kitchen up to 96", leaving the 6" gap that probably prompted this discussion.

Unless you are getting custom cabinets built, a 48" tall cabinet is not possible and would look odd.

My suggestion would be check what height wall cabinet would fit under the soffit on the main sink wall. Say, for example, a 30" tall cabinet would fit. On the range wall, continue with 30" tall cabinets which takes you up to 84" and add an 18" cabinet above that.

Over the windows use 18" tall cabinets or a soffit/valance combo like is sometimes used over a sink. Either way you would have something above the window and to me I would do cabinetry and get some storage out of it.

The alternative would be isolated double stacked cabinets which IMO would look odd.

Try modeling these ideas and others on the IKEA 3D kitchen planner to get a better visual idea of how they would look.

Essentially align the top of your range wall cabinets with the bottom of the soffit on the main sink wall, and add a second layer of cabinets to take you up to 102".
   April 6, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Thank you everyone for your input so far. We are definitely getting the same sized uppers for the main cabinet, and hanging them at the same height. We are not going for a stacked look where the main cabinet is a different size and/or height. The question, as the last poster mentioned, is for the extra space that is left over where we don't have to have the soffit.

Here are the options that I can think of:

1. Keep it open
2. Have a mini-soffit above each upper to mimic the other soffit
3. Do a long soffit along that entire wall - I think it would look too heavy over the windows, but I can see why someone might choose it
4. Double stack the cabinet just in that spot
5. Other????

I am leaning between 1 and 2, but I am really uncertain.
   April 6, 2014 at 7:50PM
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I just looked up the dimensions, and the uppers are 36" tall. So there is an extra 12 inches of space to figure out (on the range wall).
   April 6, 2014 at 7:56PM
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12" is not a lot to work with, especially since 2" or so will be needed for molding. It is too tall to look right as a soffit and too short to be much good for storage.

To me, either

1) add narrow second layer cabinet above what you plan and extend above windows ; or

2) get a solid wood shelf ( or plywood with face frame ) and run it a too entire range wall (except above the range. It would be topped with a rail to give a finished look and could be used for decorative items. This wouldn't have the heavy appearance of a cabinet above the window.

Same concept as in this pic below.
   April 6, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Yarbro Home Improvement LLC
"Open soffit" is another option. Some folks would call it a high shelf. Add LED or rope lighting above to illuminate / wash the ceiling with mood lighting
   April 6, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Hide the beam inside a full height cabinet so it gives an uniform flow on the neuter kitchen
   April 6, 2014 at 10:42PM
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I meant entire kitchen- not 'neuter'. (iPhone auto correct)
   April 6, 2014 at 10:44PM
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Hiding the beam inside cabinets IMO is neither practical nor doable without huge expense. First, a full height cabinet 42" tall would not reach the 102" tall ceiling as explained earlier. Second, it appears from pic that the beam extends 20" or more into the room .

In best case scenario you would have to have a second layer of cabinets the length of the main sink wall to cover the beam; if shallow, they would have little storage; if regular depth wall cabinets they would protrude further into room than base cabinets.

IF the beam extends out into the room as far as it appears, extra depth uppers could provide a way to make uppers and soffit flush on the main sink wall. Extra depth base cabinets in that case would work. But extra depth would cost more.
   April 7, 2014 at 7:13AM
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