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I’m working with a local client on a kitchen renovation as a design consultant, together we’ve come up with a plan to renovate her space. We’re replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts on her old 1990s oak cabinets, installing a new island, countertops, backsplash, and lighting to transform her kitchen and bring it into the modern age. (See the picture of the kitchen ‘before’ at the bottom of this article.)

One of the issues we ran into was her ceiling height and the dilemma of what to do with her upper cabinets that sit on a tall slanted ceiling. I recommended removal the dated looking 6″ tall soffits installed by the subdivision builder. The dilemma presented was once the soffits were removed, how to fill the blank space above her cabinets? Together we debated how we’d fill it, or if we would fill it at all.

Kitchen ceilings taller than 10 feet present this issue and designers choose one of several options. For kitchens with ceilings from 11 to 13 feet, one of the most popular solutions is to add a small cabinet on top of the upper cabinet. It can be glass front, solid front, or open cabinet and it’s a nice looking way to provide extra storage and fill the space above a standard upper cabinet.

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Some designers totally eliminate upper cabinets in kitchens and replace them with windows. I see this more in new builds, and I have mixed feelings about trading storage for light, but it’s still a streamlined pretty look.

via houzz


An alternative solution in kitchens with taller ceilings is to simply stop the cabinets short of the ceiling and top them with a thick crown molding. The range chimney stretches to the ceiling for functional reasons, but also to contrast the height of the upper cabinets.

delpino custom homes

plank and pillow 


Same concept here with this even taller and sloped ceiling, but there is no use of crown molding due to the contemporary style of the kitchen.

tim campbell design

Here again, the tall sloped ceiling does its thing, the hood and chimney rises to the top, but the kitchen cabinets stay at the same height.

We opted out of adding additional cabinets as seen in the first few examples. My client’s kitchen solution will somewhat resemble this one, with a sleek chimney running up to the top of the sloped ceiling and the addition of thick crown molding. The only difference in hers is that we’re having a custom hood built instead of having an exposed hood as seen in the kitchen below.

Here is her kitchen in progress and there is much to do!

We’ve had the 6″ soffits removed, we will remove the countertops and prep for new quartz. All of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts will be replaced with new shaker style doors. The frames remain and the oak grain will be filled then all the cabinets professionally primed and painted a lovely taupe color. It’s exciting to transform this 1990s oak kitchen into a beautiful modern space! The goal is to have it all done by summer, fingers crossed. Stay tuned!

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