An Inconvenient Height for Kitchen Designers – What to Do?
Architects began raising the ceiling in higher priced homes in the 1980’s. Partly to make homes feel more spacious and partly as an inexpensive design feature to give homeowners more for a very small increase in price. Homes still had the same floors, basements, mechanicals, fixtures, and roofs, only the walls were stretched a little. Building products followed with 9 ft studs and drywall becoming standard, and the cost for this added feature became even less.
Unfortunately, 9 ft (108 inches) is inconvenient for kitchen design and doesn’t create the best visual designs. Adding a few inches would allow designers to stack cabinetry with appealing size cabinet doors. Subtracting a few inches leaves room for slightly smaller more appropriately sized moldings. Alas, Architects live to make functional and appealing kitchen design a challenge.
One of the most dramatic and least expensive solutions to the 108-inch dilemma is a tray or coffered ceiling. Below is an example of each.
The cabinetry is appropriately sized in both these built-in designs and the tray or coffered ceiling will cost less to build than the cost of stacking the cabinetry to the ceiling. The tray in a tray ceiling can also have a crown molding around the inside top corner and even along the bottom edge with upward light strips highlighting the ceiling. The ceiling itself can be flat, beadboard, stucco, tin, or a painted raised wallpaper to look like a tin ceiling.
So, if your ceiling height is 108″, before you start stacking cabinetry, staggering cabinet heights, or installing more traditional soffits. Take at least a moment to consider the tray or coffered ceiling. It will cost you less than some other solutions and may be the design feature that makes the kitchen that much more attractive.
Best of luck with your 108″ decisions, and as always…Bon Appetit!