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Has anyone tackled that 1 foot high soffit area in the kitchen?  We priced out removing the soffit and replacing it with cabinets, but wow is that ever pricey!  We've been thinking about mounting cabinets so that they 'overhang' the other wall cabinets.  We'd like to put on glass doors and maybe even lights in the bottom that shine down on the counter (LEDs?).

Or is removing the soffit area not so difficult or just a way better way to go?

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Sharon, being a cabinet maker I have tackeled this job many times.  I have removed the soffits many times in different jobs to build and install higher cabinets or just to change the feel of the area by removing the boxed in look of some rooms.   In some jobs it is difficult and in others very simple.  It all depends on how they they are built and attached to the framing of the wall and ceilings and or where or not they have some framing in the bearing wall(s) of the construction.  A good way to determine how it is built is to cut some inspection holes into the soffit and see it it is just a "hang-on" type of soffit framing.  Sometimes it is build like a box and there is the possible chance of removing the cabinet side of the soffit and build a faceframe and doors to match the exhisting cabinets giving you the cabinet space you wish.  AS A WORD OF CAUTION;  if you do any cutting or drilling into the soffit there is the possible change that there may be electrical wiring and or plumbing hidden in the soffit, SO BE VERY CAREFUL.....   Your idea of adding overhanging cabinets to the exhisting cabinet configeration would be a matter of how it would change the total look of the kitchen. 

 As a suggestion I would drill some 2 " or 3" holes in the soffit on the vertical soffit wall, facing you as you  look at the soffit from the cabinet door side.  That way should you change your mind you could hide it easier than you could if you drilled up on the soffit bottom.  (like a plate or the like over the hole)  Save the pieces you cut out as they can be used to fill the holes should you change your mind.  Use a inspection mirrow and flashlight and look up inside.

 Also if there soffits on different walls the framing could change to a different method wall to wall.  Good luck and if i can be of help, post some photos so I can better advise you as to what I would do.

Good notes Jay.  Susan, i'm considering the exact same thing....I was lucky enough to get a Ridgid "SeeSnake" for Christmas a couple years ago, which is an inspection camera.  So i'll be popping holes in my soffit to do the exact same thing.  Jay's suggesting of a mirror and flashligh is the next best option.  As for the LED's for lighting, i've never really been a fan...they just don't generally throw out the right light, or enough of it.  That said, i have a dark kitchen.

 

Good luck and let us know how you decide to proceed!

 

Cheers

Jay ~ thanks for all the suggestions and especially the cautionary notes!  If we get around to tackling this one, I'll be sure and let you know.

 

Geoff ~ We were thinking about the LED's more as night lighting than work lighting.  Speaking of a dark kitchen...  I've wanted a solar (sun) tube since we moved in here.  My husband wants a traditional venting sunlight unit.  I'm not so sure with the history those things have of heat gain and loss and then there's the condensation drips in the winter; not to mention leaks from less than perfect installations.  We're in northern Arkansas but it gets really sunny and hot in the summer and the house is designed to compensate.  No eastern or western windows in the main part of the house.  There's a balcony/porch on the north side of the house and another porch on the south side.  Both have roofs and so even on the sunniest day, we turn the lights on when we go into the kitchen.

We have had recent experience with both of these issues. We debated for a long time about removing the soffits because of the cost and the mess. We finally decided to do it and we are really glad we did it. The mess exceeded our expectations because of all of the insulation that came down with it. Still, it was manageable and the mess eventually got cleared away. The room FEELS so very different. It makes our kitchen seem so much larger.

If you have a one floor plan, there should be very few things like plumbing or electrical stuff in the soffits to complicate their removal. So, for us, removing them was a very good decision.

 

The second best decision we made was to install LED lights under the wall cabinets. The one's we got are great. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003AKCT5G/ref=wms_ohs_product_T2

They are very bright, take almost no current, last almost forever, and create no heat. Our kitchen is dark also, so we leave them on a lot. At night they are on constantly until bedtime and always on when we leave for the evening. We love the mood they create. Overhead lighting is still required but they eleminate any shadows.

Be sure to install wiring to connect the banks of cabinets together BEFORE you put the cabinets up. (I have no association with Amazon or the company that makes the lights).

Good luck.

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