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different height base cabinets. wall cabs not straight. crazy crown

October 25, 2018
Hi. Thank you for the help.
1.) my countertop is 37” at one end of run and 35 5/8” at the other. Shouldn’t they be same all the way around? Isn’t that what shims are for?

2.) wall cabinet slopes 1/8”. Is this an industry acceptable standard variation? Because the cabinet slopes all the crown molding on top also slopes and it’s driving me crazy.

3.) there’s a slope in the ceiling. I wasn’t consulted and go went ahead and installed so it’s a mess. I’m open to fixing the ceiling. I’ve had to fix issues through the whole process.
Comments (21)
  • PRO
    Creative Visual Concepts, Kevin Strader

    In the pictures you've posted it doesn't seem to look bad. However, if you plan to install a back splash then that's probably where the difference would be noticed. I don't know what the "industry standard" is but I would talk with the installer before anything else is done.

  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    The problem here is most likely the opposite of what you are thinking. The base cabinets don't slope. They were shimmed to be level and so there is a 1 3/8" slope in your floor. Same with the crown molding the slope you are seeing isn't the 1/8" it is that just like your floor your ceiling slopes 1 3/8". This is what happens when a house settles. Unfortunately you selected a crown detail that accentuates how out of level your home is instead of a crown that disguises it. This is partly the kitchen designers fault. However some people insist on what they want over a designers objections and then it is the homeowners fault. A less detailed crown would have disguised how out of level your home is.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Where is your kitchen designer ? Those cabinets are too much IMO with all that trim to clean the walkway in front of the sink is too narrow IMO so many things I don’t like about the design but putting that aside the floor has to be level to start and so does the ceiling and yes there are some variations that need tweaking but the counters need to be level everywhere. To fix the ceiling would require the removal of all the cabinets and a start over I don’t have a fix for the crown I find the uppers too close to the counters the lack of drawer storage in the base cabinets are all things that would make me crazy too.

  • AE S
    Thank you. Ok. I understand the height change in the countertop. Any suggestions for how to fix ceiling? KD helped pick the crown and never mentioned anything about ceiling and sloping etc. There have been other measurement issues as well, so not surprised. But I can’t live with the crown so I need to find a way to straighten. It’s the KD’s and installers fault. So I need to come up with a solution and have them handle it. Their stance is that there’s nothing to be done or could have been done.
  • PRO
    Brickwood Builders, Inc.

    When one contracts for a remodel, you have the option of contracting for a complete overhaul of the space which would include replacing/augmenting floor and ceiling joist systems and furring out walls to minimize out of plumb conditions. It is not part of standard pricing as it adds many thousands $ to the price. Most people can't afford it or choose to put their money other places. It can be done and it should be discussed during project planning, it 's just not at standard pricing. Even with spending the extra money, level can't be achieved in many cases. If a floor is out of level 1.5" and leveling it would cause the floor to be higher than surrounding surfaces or be 1.5" higher than the exterior door threshold in the room, then it's not going to happen.

    Countertops should be applied to a flat surface and flooring should be laid on a flat surface - that is not the same thing as level. When a house settles as much as yours, shims can be used to minimize differences and create a flat surface on which to install the countertop - they do not take away the fact that the floor and/or ceiling are still not level.

  • AE S
    Ok. So the countertops are level. I understand that part now. Height can be different because of floor change. Main point is countertop is level. As for the upper cabinet. Shouldn’t this be the same height from the countertop all the way around? For example one of the cabinets is 18 3/8 on left and 18 2/8 on the right side. Shouldn’t the distance from the countertop to the underneath of wall cabinet be the same everywhere?
  • bikertoni

    anhsobo you are correct the difference from counter to upper cabinet should be the consistent. I worry about any backsplash you might add, especially if tile. If it is the same as the counter you will not notice the difference as much. Tile will highlight the difference. Are the upper cabinets level?

  • PRO
    Brickwood Builders, Inc.

    Not only are the traditional issues encountered, but by wrapping the corner with cabinetry a whole other dynamic comes into play in trying to marry so many elements that are, most likely, out of kilter in all different directions. There is only so much that can be done with shims (particularly with all the toe kick stuff going on). The countertop is probably not level - it was leveled as much as possible in the space and flattened to make sure there were no countertop gaps. Again, level and flat are not the same thing. There is no home (including a new build) that is perfectly level, flat and plumb.

  • AE S
    @bikertoni I don’t know if uppers are level. Waiting on friend to big a long level, mine is too small to accurately measure.
  • ci_lantro

    As for the upper cabinet. Shouldn’t this be the same height from the countertop all the way around? For example one of the cabinets is 18 3/8 on left and 18 2/8 on the right side. Shouldn’t the distance from the countertop to the underneath of wall cabinet be the same everywhere?


    Get a level and check the counter top first.

    Then use the level and check the bottom of the upper cabinet to see if it is level.

    (Either the counter or the cabinet is out of level; the 1/8" differential tells you that much.)

    Then check the ceiling directly in front of the upper cabinet.

    That should tell you where the problem is/ the problems are.

    If the upper cabinet is 1/8" low on the right side, correcting that will help with leveling up the trim/ crown. The rest depends on how wonky the ceiling is. The level will tell that story.

    And, yes, the sloping crown is pretty bad; it would drive me bonkers, too.

  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    1/8" is very minimal and within deviations that should be expected in any job, and particularly this job.. It seems like you are fishing for a reason to place blame. There is some blame in that these issues might not have been discussed but leveling the floor and ceiling could have created other problems. A simpler crown molding would have been a wiser choice. All the ornate moldings and valances added to the base cabinets do not go with inset shaker door style you selected so you are mixing styles on top of the other function issues.


    This job has the feeling of one where the designer and the contractor had a tough time saying no to the requests you were making. The best kitchen designers don't give customers what they want, they explain what works best and give their customers a lot of warnings when their ideas create issues.

  • scrappy25

    Take a deep breath. It will be a beautiful kitchen. If the counters and uppers have been leveled the best possible based on the limitations of your home then your installer has done the best he/she could and circumvented many of the problems that we see posted here. When I saw your other thread with just the picture of the upper the slope did not jump out at me and I suspect that nobody will be looking up to notice, but that upper cabinet should be leveled if it is not already. Once that is corrected (if needed), live with it for a while and see if it still bothers you, because the fix for crown assymmetry is redoing your ceiling which is a huge job.

  • AE S
    Main Line Kitchen Design,

    I’m not fishing for a place to put blame. I’m asking questions and seeking answers to help me with a problem. I’m sorry you see it that way. It’s not what I intended.

    Also this design was taken directly from the KD’s very own showroom display and this picture from the WoodMode catalog. So I didn’t pick the door styles or mix of crown. If anything I simplified the crown. I’m sorry you felt it necessary to attack my kitchen aesthetic.
  • AE S
    Thanks for all the input. I learned a lot.
  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    The answer is to either remove the crown molding and level the ceiling if this is possible or to remove the crown molding and create another crown that has a 4 or 5 inch flat riser to disguise the slope of the ceiling and the top crown. The resulting crown will go better with your door style.


    Kitchen design is not an exact science and often even the people judging design competitions in our industry or appearing in national magazines don't really know what they are doing. And so Woodmode and individual showrooms can display kitchens that make poor design choices.


    For example in the photo you posted above, extending the detailed white crown molding across the grey wall on either side of the hood without cabinets below is a poor choice usually made by less experienced designers. The hood and that wall would look better with the crown only around the top of the hood. It's only my opinion but when I show customers the design both ways most people choose not extending the crown this way and the designers that choose this are almost always the ones with less knowledge and ability. If you liked this type of look a tray ceiling like in the photo below would be a better way to achieve it, and be more consistent with the shaker door style on the cabinetry.

    Grayscape Custom Home · More Info

  • luckyblueeye

    Are you using the same material for your back splash as your counter? That would hide any visual differences, and you won't have partial tiles etc that call attention to the settling of the house.

    ps. I love your kitchen faucet :)

  • Miranda33

    The Wood-mode pic that you posted is a kitchen that is triple, maybe quadruple, the size of yours. Its ceiling has several more feet than yours does, so it can support an ornate and large crown, and columned corners on the cabinets appear balanced. As has been mentioned a couple times in this thread, your KD should have explained how a good design includes balance, proportion, and marrying the elements of the design to the size, shape, and light of the project space. Any reference to that Wood-mode inspiration photo should have included a warning on how your kitchen will have to differ from it.

    I think when the newness wears off, and you live with the kitchen daily, the things you are posting about will cease to bother you.

  • wannabath

    Those look like very expensive cabinets being inset face frame and all the moldings. I think it looks great if it is your style that your business.

    I understand with wrapping cabinets it makes leveling or whatever word you want to call it difficult. Problem is sometimes you have to pick you visual doing that you want levels and to have the correct measurements. I agree that the counter to cabinet top should be it. If the counter is level then the measurement to the top of the cabs should also be level and the ceiling should not throw that off as the cabs were hung level then the moldings were added. I think you are correct in saying there is an issue at the point of measure. If your counter is level then 17" up from that should be level as it is parallel to the counter. If the ceiling is off it will effect the ceiling to cabinet top which again is parallel to the counter level.

    It should be off at the ceiling to crown measurements. You can go on Amazon and buy a laser level and tripod for about $150 and then will shoot a line across the entire room. You can start at counter height and work your way up to see where it is off.

    Picking a backsplash without a design that make this very visual will be difficult and the installer should have stopped and told you that. Hiding it and walking away for the next trade to deal with isn't professional. You have a valid concern it isn't an IKEA kitchen.

  • shead

    As has already been mentioned, the elaborate moldings on the bottom of your cabinets has created a huge issue. If your floor slopes, then yes, the slope could have been minimized with shimming and trim but if those moldings were already cut and applied, there's no way to level your cabinets without having the moldings either cut down on one end or off the floor on the other. And I guarantee that you will absolutely hate yourself for choosing those moldings after one month in that kitchen because cleaning around and behind them is going to be a terrible PITA. I 99% guarantee it.

    It is also the elaborate moldings at the top of your cabinets and crown style that are causing you issues. You chose moldings that cannot be cut down to adjust for anything out of plumb/level. They become your "fixed element" and everything has to work around them and in your case, those fixed elements worked against having everything being visually level.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes

    A shout out to Main Line Kitchen Design for such good diagnostics and advice!

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