When I start a room it usually has to be wrapped up within a pretty short time frame, otherwise me and Shaun try to kill eachother daily. This puts a lot of strain on me to figure out what I want ahead of schedule...because the opinion Shaun has about renovations goes like this..."Is my tv still in the room? Then do whatever you want, babe." Absolutely no help. One room that has me paralyzed by indecision is the kitchen. Or, home of the 'sorry soffits' as I like to call them. They are monstrous. Really big.
They stand at 11 inches tall and a 1-2.5 inches wider than the actual cabinets. What the heck?? Ok, the height might be normal, but they seem unnecessarily big to me.
They are so long that there is hardly any space between the counter and the upper cabinets (which are 36 inches long). Alas, nary a blender, knife block, coffee maker, espresso machine or anything taller than 13 inches can fit on most of our counters. This is clearly a big issue because you all know how I feel about my coffee!
I guess that when this kitchen was remodeled, people didn't have tall appliances sitting on their counters. I'm not sure when this kitchen was redone, but the cabinets are solid wood, so I know it was awhile ago. Our coffee makers are currently living near the windows on an Ikea console table, but we actually want an eating area there (imagine that!) so they can't stay after we remodel:
I decided one day (on my lunch break of course) to put a big drill bit in my Dewalt and go to town 'exploring' what was in the soffits that required so much room. Because nothing dresses up an outfit like plaster dust.
What I found was that the entire thing is framed out with extremely sturdy studs.
After I stopped trying to drill into this stud (duh), I was able to peek in and see that as far as 'stuff' goes, there is only a bit of wiring for our light above the sink. No vents, no plumbing, no Ultra Screen movie theater. Whew. Also, no drywall or plaster on the wall side and hardly any insulation. Great.
I have yet to check the other side, but I know there will be more 'stuff' over there because our stove is on that side. To sum up, we have two options when it comes time to tackling the kitchen:
Option 1 - Hire someone to remove the 11" soffits and reattach our existing cabinets a few inches from the ceiling, bridging the gap with crown molding.
~ Obviously, room for normal appliances on the counter, as we'd now have a 20+ inch space between the cabs
~ Soffits are dated and it would instantly update the room to remove them
~ Cabinets to the ceiling are really hot right now
~ Our uppers are already taller than standard 30" wall cabs
~ It is going to be expensive because I don't want to mess with it myself
~ The cabinets might suffer from being pulled out and reinstalled, although they are solid wood and probably will be fine - their quality is why we're keeping them
~ They are going to be really high and I may have to use a stepstool
~ We can't remove the lowered ceiling near the windows because the roofline is lower there, so it may look funny to remove the soffits:Option 2 - Live with it and paint the cabinets as planned, tile the 13" backsplash area with white subway tile and get our black granite counters as planned. Dress everything up with trim. Forget about what future owners may think of the short counter 'headroom'. We do have one 4 ft long area of counter that is tall enough to hold a blender and coffee maker near the fridge:
~ Cabinets are not too high to reach
~ I could possibly add an island with electrical that houses our taller appliances
~ They may still be ugly, even if I dress them with molding
~ My coffee maker, espresso maker and blender may all have to be crammed into the small counter space by the fridge - which may not even be there if we alter this area to accommodate a standard-sized fridge. Our current one is 30 inches wide, another what the heck problem!
~ Resale value, home buyers may be turned off if they notice (I actually didn't when we walked through)
~ And the biggest con, what is the point of updating all the surfaces while ignoring such a big flaw?
So, what say you? Live with the soffits or rip them out? I should mention that this is not our 'forever' house, but we do plan to stay in this house for the foreseeable future. Has anyone removed a soffit but reused their existing cabinets?