webuser_152579871

Massive Kitchen cabinet dilemma

Shmoo
3 months ago

Hi Houzzers, happy new year to all. We have our wall cabinets attached but are very unhappy with the height of the cabinets. We aren’t sure WHY this happened (originally there was no soffit in the kitchen but pipes were discovered so the soffit was added). I feel like the cabinets should go almost to the “ceiling” of the soffit.


its a modern flat panel so no crown moulding.


One option might be to just get longer (taller) doors, the current top could be another “shelf” without having new boxes made. Another might be to put some sort of glass up top, but how to keep it modern and not country looking. We could put backsplash up high but I’m not loving that.


What would you do in this situation?


Comments (157)

  • Angel 18432
    2 months ago

    Didn't know you had other dilemmas going on in your place.

    Good luck with everything. I don't think there has been a reno without

    issues. It will end and hopefully you will be able to look back and say

    it was all worth it. Keep us posted.

    Shmoo thanked Angel 18432
  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    I am so sorry to hear that you are accepting any level of responsibility for a job poorly performed by a professional..


    This issue was clearly caused by the CMs incompetence. He clearly measured the height from the floor to the bottom of the soffit and used that measurement as the height of the ceiling. His attempt to cover his mistake was both irresponsible and deceitful.


    I understand that we have emphasized tolerance over the past 50 years. We should accept differences without prejudice. But that should only apply to things like race, gender, religion, sexual preference, disabilities and culture.


    When did this grow to include incompetence, dishonesty and the lack of integrity.


    Why is being scrupulously honest in all dealings no longer important?

    Why do we support tradesman and business and political leaders that lack integrity?

    When did the boundaries for unacceptable behavior completely disintegrate?


    Why have we become so disengaged in the moral compass of society?


    My personal ethics would prevent me from paying the CM. If I were to to pay him I would be supporting the idea that incompetence and deceit are acceptable behaviors and I would be culpable for the death of integrity in our society.

    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
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  • Angel 18432
    2 months ago

    The question to be asked is "did he actually measure the kitchen".

    Apparently he has done a few kitchens in this building and they have all been

    measure the same.

    This unit, being on the top floor has a higher ceiling. So he maybe didn't measure at all, just went off previous plans.

    You said you had a designer involved, was she paid? Where was she when all this

    was going on.

  • mdln
    2 months ago

    If you are going to have them redone, have you considered using a different cabinet maker?

    By using the same guy, you are giving him more $$$$ and rewarding his bad business practices.

    Shmoo thanked mdln
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks again all. I personally have a feeling the CM did not take our higher ceilings into account. He was on to measure and marked the wall but we believe he didn’t know the ceiling would so high. Why? GC missed something as well.


    And to clarify, we DID sign off on the cabinet plans. We relied more on the pictures than the little numbers on the side of the drawings and that’s what the issue now is. He gave us exactly what was in the plans. His so called expertise and brilliant eye simply failed us, when he could’ve just told us what it was going to end up looking like. I feel so bad about putting our trust in people who let us down.


    Jennifer Hogan I too am having a very hard time with paying him. It goes against everything I believe. I’ve told my husband we should just slap a sleek molding up there, put in a few lights and not give him any more of our $$. mdln, I’ve also suggested using someone else to finish up but my husband is concerned about the matching of the whites, if something goes wrong with these current cabs in the future due to weird install of other ones, stuff like that. etc.


    There was a “designer” who works often with our GC. She too has done a number of units in the building and has been awful but I won’t go into that here. She came into the process after most of the kitchen planning was done. Was supposed to help coordinate and keep everyone accountable while we were Chi. She’s the one who talked me out of using the marble on all my counters because of its busy-ness

    and when I decided I actually wanted to use it, the last slab was gone. She messed up several bathroom related things too and we have basically cut off communications with her. She has never billed us yet oddly enough. You get what you pay for?


    If I were reading this as a stranger, I’d be shaking my head as to wtf is wrong with us and why we did this in the first place! I’m feeling like we rushed into buying this condo and remodel in the first place . We were just so excited. Initially We planned to come monitor progress during the work phase but with covid we ended up not wanting to fly back and forth.


    Thanks again for the moral support. After everything is done I will use social media to advertise what these people did and didn’t do.

  • flopsycat1
    2 months ago

    @Shmoo I am a stranger reading this, and not at all thinking anything is wrong with you. The people you hired, and trusted to do their best for you, screwed up. Their measurements were simply incorrect, and, in my opinion, they should make it right. Unfortunately, my opinion, as well as that of other posters here, carries no weight.

    Many of us could find ourselves in similar circumstances. Hoping for a resolution so that you can move on and enjoy your new home.

    Shmoo thanked flopsycat1
  • Angel 18432
    2 months ago

    Just my opinion (for whatever that is worth) but because you signed off on the plan,

    I don't think you have any recourse but to let him finish what you contracted for

    pay him and live with what you have for now.


    I wouldn't be paying him any more of your reno budget. As stated, it's kind of rewarding him for bad planning.


    I think what we have all learned here, including yourself, is that you have to be on site

    monitoring the work. Sad to say, but no one cares as much as you do about a project.


    Reminds me of a recent incident with a girl friend's home in Florida. She had a flood and drywall had to be ripped out approx 8" above the floor, lower cabinets ripped out etc.

    She thought she could look after it from up north, that they would look after things properly.

    We went down to our home nearby and checked on the site for her. They were doing all the work

    sanding drywall etc without removing the furniture etc. from the home.

    We reported back to her the situation, they

    then brought in a container to store furniture in, dry cleaned drapes etc. etc.


    It all turned out ok in the end, which I am sure your project will, but not without a lot

    of heart ache in between.



    Shmoo thanked Angel 18432
  • Stefanie Alexander
    2 months ago

    @Shmoo, I do think your kitchen will be beautiful when all is done. Please post finished pictures!

    Shmoo thanked Stefanie Alexander
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Group, I’m so loath to give this guy any more money, I’m considering something like shown in these photos. If we put a strip light in the back corner maybe, and put up items that work stylistically, what do you think? Instead of horizontal boxes, which I’d have to pay him for.


    And I am still depressed about the dark countertop on the perimeter. I think this marble is much lighter than we were remembering and it would have been great on all the surfaces. But that’s not changing. Just another reason I hate the designer as much as the CM!

  • A S
    2 months ago

    Don’t put items like that up there. It draws the eye up which you don’t want.

    Shmoo thanked A S
  • Angel 18432
    2 months ago

    Thanks for posting back to us. Actually it doesn't look really, really bad and I think once you get your stove and hood it, it will look different again. Then back splash will make it look different again and each time you have to get used to the "new" look.

    I agree, do not put anything up there.

    It has made a big difference to the room now that the counters are in - a good difference.


    Next question, what does your hood look like and have you chosen a back splash?


    Shmoo thanked Angel 18432
  • Angel 18432
    2 months ago

    I wonder if a sleek piece of trim could be added to dress it up a little.


    Sleek Kitchen · More Info


  • Chessie
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I would want cabinets up there, I just couldn't stand the empty dark space. Sorry - just my own preferences. If not, then yes definitely do strip lighting up there, and lighting under your cabinets as well. I think you will surprised at how that lightens things up.

  • Muriel Thompson
    2 months ago

    I agree to put no objects up top, and to add lighting.

  • Jean
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    A maybe crazy idea....put lights up there and a piece of frosted glass in front, across the top. Make it look intentional...Add a piece of trim first, as Chessie suggested; then the strip of frosted glass above.

    Shmoo thanked Jean
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Angel, it’s a GE profile hood and no we haven’t selected a backsplash yet.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    @Shmoo

    I understand that you are disgusted and angry right now. I wouldn't/couldn't pay this CM more money, But I would hire someone else to finish the job and I would use the money stilled owned to the CM to finance the job. You are married and feel you have to compromise with your husband, who is just as adamant that you not hire someone else to finish the work.


    Between you and your husband you have to decide what you want to do.


    1. Pay the original CM and have him place another row of uppers above the cabinets that are there.

    2, Pay the original CM and have him place remove the incorrectly sized cabinets with cabinets that are the appropriate height for the space

    3. Pay a new CM and have him place another row of uppers above the cabinets that are there.

    4, Pay a new CM and have him place remove the incorrectly sized cabinets with cabinets that are the appropriate height for the space

    5. Live with what is there.


    1 and 2 require that you pay the remaining balance to the original CM and any amount agreed to to finish the job.

    3,4,&5 will require a second decision - do you pay the remaining balance of what you were billed by the original CM or tell him to pound sand.


    5 would be my last choice. I don't want to be harsh or mean, but the cabinets look like they are a mistake or like you couldn't afford custom and just bought stock cabinets that were on sale and stuck them on the wall. Do you really want to compromise on the aesthetic aesthetic and be reminded of the issues every time you look at your kitchen?


    I know you feel that by signing off on the plans you somehow are obligated to pay, but I think that the CM failed to install the cabinets according to the plan - where is that 2:" scribe to soffit? Where on the drawing that he provided is the 14" gap between the cabinets and the soffit? Any deviation from the plan has to be agreed upon, and there was a deviation from the plan when the CM could not install the cabinets with a 2" scribe to soffit. Most courts would hold the professional to a higher standard and would use a reasonable consumer test to determine fault. In my mind a reasonable consumer would have expected the cabinets to be within 2" of the soffit. It may be worth the cost of an hour consult with an attorney just to get an opinion on how much risk there is to not paying the CM the remaining monies and using that money to pay another CM to make things right.






    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Jennifer your comments really do hot home for me. I will always see it as MY mistake even though it isn’t. Unfortunately I don’t think any lawyer involvement is in the cards. So we are hoping to adapt what we’ve currently got. Some more insight/design help needed please.

    If we do go ahead and make these cabinets taller, we would probably put a trim piece at the top (like the one beneath them). How tall can/should these cabinets be? Truly up to the soffit? That would make them somewhere around 48” tall, seems really big. Would that look dumb? If we do the horizontals I’d go up without a trim piece.


    Stuff from top is already down!


  • Chessie
    2 months ago

    Either take them up to the soffit, or add some cabinetry up there. The tallest I could have would be 42 and if I ever replace mine, that is what they will be (unless the soffit above them contains something important). Could you do smaller boxes with glass doors? I always thought that looked nice. Here are some threads/articles to give you some ideas.



    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/842856/are-48-tall-upper-cabinets-too-huge


    https://www.bobvila.com/articles/upper-cabinet-height/


    https://www.byhyu.com/home--podcast/ceiling-height-kitchen-cabinetsawesome-or-awful-byhyu-177


    https://www.bestonlinecabinets.com/blog/double-stacked-cabinets/



  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    Updated your photo using excel and snipping tool, so not perfect, but should give you a pretty good idea of what it would look like with single cabinets up to the ceiling



  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    One with stacked cabinets



  • molman
    2 months ago

    I think the tall cabinets look odd. Something isn't right proportionally. I don't have the tools Jennifer does for a mockup but would love to see the existing cabs hung to the soffit and remake the one shorter to hit at the same height (shown in the article I linked to earlier). This is really easy to do yourself, if you are inclined. It looks so clean and simple, and can make a backsplash take center stage. I like how the stack above the fridge looks though (less massive), and can see how that would be awesome storage in my house so I would add that to the existing fridge cabinet. It can look intentional and great.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    2 months ago

    I'm sorry, but I think I would dig my heels in based on this picture you posted earlier:


    This clearly indicates what should have happened - the cabinets should have been 2" below the soffit. It is also showing a height ( most likely a ceiling height ) of 106 ".

    Clearly you have more height. Whoever measured and the designers are both on the hook for the measuring error. If the cabinet maker measured, then shame on him when he saw this plan knowing the height of the soffit.

    If the soffit was not in place, then it would have been up to the GC to determine where the soffit would be.

    I f measure something wrong in the field or dont ask the right questions when things are up in the air and the cabinets don't fit - I am on the hook for the fix.

    I would not settle for anything.

  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Jennifer Hogan, thanks for doing that! I think the stacked look pretty good.


    As far as digging in, believe me I want to! I think with timing and costs, at this point we will not be able to find someone else to finish the job before we return north in May. I’m disgusted by all of them.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    Shmoo, I know you have struggled with this. I know you are disgusted. I also know there is a time to step back and let it go, move forward and stop stressing. It sounds like that is where you are at and that is okay.


    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Hello, I wanted to share a photo of the almost complete upper cabinets we put into the space between The soffit and the shorter cabinets. I’m pleased with how this turned out. Still have 3 panels to go in, then the backsplash install will begin.


    Thanks to all who commented here previously.



  • Chessie
    13 days ago

    That looks much better. I did not realize how far the soffits extended - but those last pictures really make that clear.

    Shmoo thanked Chessie
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    13 days ago

    Much better - Enjoy!

    Shmoo thanked Debbi Washburn
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    13 days ago

    "You can also file complaints with the licensing boards the bbb and give them lousy reviews on yelp and other social media outlets."

    Florida law specifically exempts cabinetry installation from licensing requirements. Tile too.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    13 days ago

    Looks 100 times better. Glad you are happy with your new kitchen!

    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • RedRyder
    12 days ago

    Much better. Looking quite lovely!

    Shmoo thanked RedRyder
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    Thanks again everyone. What color would you paint the soffit?


    and the lights can’t be moved, will live with the shadows.😕

  • Angel 18432
    12 days ago

    Looking good after a lot of heartache. Paint the soffit as close to the same color as the cabinets. You don't want to make it a feature, you want it to blend in. Painting it a different color will make your eye go directly to them, not the rest of the kitchen. When do you move in?

  • Angel 18432
    12 days ago

    btw who did you get to finish the job the original contractor or someone else?

    Shmoo thanked Angel 18432
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    Angel18432, we did use the original cabinet maker. My husband was concerned about matching the finishes, and about the voided warranties of we did these apart from him. I’ll never recommend him to anyone, will be sure our GC is further aware of our unhappiness (which he is, and he basically stood with the cabinet maker, not us) and then just enjoy them and move on.


    Interesting thought about the pain color, I thought it would all get lost with light paint and that contrast would show it off better. Shows you what I know about design! Thanks for your interest.

  • Angel 18432
    11 days ago

    Glad it all worked out.


  • chispa
    11 days ago

    I see a tile sample propped up in the photo ... please do not use that mosaic style and color! That style was trending about 13 years ago and many people are tearing them out. That color will also make your kitchen dark and drab.


    The upper cabinets look great.

    Shmoo thanked chispa
  • Chessie
    10 days ago

    Agree with Chispa on the mosaic tile!!! No no no no.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    10 days ago

    I would post a closer picture of that backsplash tile - If it is what I'm thinking, it would be pretty cool - it's glass/marble and a sparkly piece.

    You are renovating the space for yourself - if you love it - do it!

    Shmoo thanked Debbi Washburn
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Chessie and chispa, what do you recommend? I like it (except for the mirror) but nobody else does. Please help me! I want to bring out the gold handles.

    Sorry about the mess.


  • Mary T
    4 days ago

    I think the backsplash is awesome!

    Shmoo thanked Mary T
  • Jennifer Hogan
    4 days ago

    Love the backsplash!

    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Angel 18432
    4 days ago

    I would be looking for something similar to these. Go see what is out there and bring home



    Shmoo thanked Angel 18432
  • crcollins1_gw
    4 days ago

    I think your backsplash competes with the gold handles, drowning them out. It doesn't help "bring them out." I would go with something less busy.

    Shmoo thanked crcollins1_gw
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Debbi Washburn, it’s not marble, there’s the mirrored tiles, a glass with golden veining, and the faux crystals.


  • Jennifer Hogan
    4 days ago

    @Shmoo - Question: After all the drama and heartache are you loving your kitchen?

    Do you love the backsplash and your gold handles?

    I think they look great together, breaks up the white and adds interest, but my opinion doesn't really matter. The only person who needs to love this is you.


    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Jennifer Hogan you’re very kind! I was away getting my covid shot when they started installing the backsplash and the installer expressed the concern that it was “too much” and my husband called me and so the past few days have been stressful, But we are trying one more place to look at alternatives for the backsplash and if we don’t find something we like better, will keep the ones we’ve got. I like it.


    so in response to your question, my answer is almost! I have enjoyed cooking, we have a bit of furniture now so it’s starting to feel like a home. I appreciate all your comments and really wish Houzz had a message option (sometimes it feels so weird for every comment to be on every thread) but you professionals would probably be bombarded so I guess there’s a reason!

  • Jennifer Hogan
    3 days ago

    Shmoo - Houzz has changed a bit over the past few years, but I just looked at the profile setup and opted to let anyone message me. I agree, sometimes comments would be more suited to a private conversation.


    I am not a pro, just an active Houzz member. I am connected locally with Real Estate Agents and am asked to help people with new homes pick colors. I have never charged anything. Someday when I retire I figure I will be able to add a few dollars to the kitty by doing color consults.

    Shmoo thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Chessie
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    ShmooOriginal

    Chessie and chispa, what do you recommend? I like it (except for the mirror) but nobody else does. Please help me! I want to bring out the gold handles.

    I find the backsplash to be extremely distracting , just way too busy. The small mosaic tiles, in that quantity, are also rather a thing of the past, IMHO. I would rather do something dazzling with the range backsplash and keep the rest lower-key. BUT, like others have said, it IS your kitchen. I just feel like you may get very tired of that look, very quickly.





  • Shmoo
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    Thanks everyone For the backsplash help! I believe we have solved the problem. We discussed etching the mirror with steel wool to dull the finish but Decided against it. We decided we were going to keep the current gold/mirror tile unless we found something we liked better.


    And we did. We decided to embrace the blue in the marble, the hint of it it the counter quartz, and found a sheet of 2x2 squares in a range of blues. It looks amazing to me. So we are going with that. I’m picking them up tomorrow and hope to have pictures by the end of the week. I’m not sharing now because I don’t want to continue to second guess myself!


    I really liked the gold but it wasn’t meant to be weple les.


    man, it’s really hard to type on houzz! If NEEDED we will etc....