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Old 01-12-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


I'm building my own kitchen cabinets (basically following the method in Udo Schmidt's fine book, that is, face frames, pocket hole joinery, etc.). We have a relatively small kitchen and house, so we need all of the storage we can get. I've decided to build the wall cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I'm not keen on any moulding, so I want the face frame to abut the ceiling. In fact, I'm using slightly narrow face frames (1.5 inch, whereas Schmidt recommends 2 inch). So far, I've built a deep cabinet above the fridge and a pantry, both of which reach the ceiling. They do not yet have doors---that will come later. I think they look great, but, of course, I'm biased... Btw, I would attach a picture but my wife is on vacation and she has the digital camera.

Anyways, I'm just wondering if anybody has any opinions---pro or con---on my "to the ceiling" approach. I want to maximize storage, but I don't want it to look too weird. At this point, it's not too late to, say, add a larger face-frame at the top, which would leave room for moulding.

Thanks.

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Old 01-12-2009, 11:08 PM   #2
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


I don't think that moulding is necessarily necessary at the transition from the cabinets to the ceiling, but I think a 1-1/2" horizontal faceframe will look very odd. Honestly, I'd go with nothing less than a 1x4 at that location. That way your cabinet doors don't seem to be right up against the ceiling. Larger elements like that don't really sacrifice space, and they lend visual "weight" or the illusion of structure to the cabinets. With teeny tiny narrow faceframes, I think you'll need that weight.

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Old 01-13-2009, 05:59 AM   #3
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


If you insist on not having trim molding, make the front top rail of the face frame a bit wide and scribe it to the ceiling. Personally, I think a nice crown molding adds to the finished product.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:10 AM   #4
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


I agree with what termite says with using a wider top rail. Since you're using 1 1/2" face frame, I'd personally use 3" if I wasn't going to put any kind of trim at the top. If you don't like the look of crown, you could always go with a slightly larger top rail, like 3 1/2" or so, and put a round over or chamfer on the bottom edge of a 1" wide block and use it in place of crown. Putting some kind of top moulding really finishes off the cabinets and makes them look a little nicer than just plain boxes. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


I agree with the thicker top rail but remember also that because ceilings are not straight, you'll have gaps. That's why most people use molding, to cover the gaps. If you don't like full fledged molding, you could use 3/4 round or a ripped piece of wood about 1/2" thick and 3/4" wide.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:09 PM   #6
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


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Originally Posted by sausagefingers View Post
I agree with what termite says with using a wider top rail. Since you're using 1 1/2" face frame, I'd personally use 3" if I wasn't going to put any kind of trim at the top. If you don't like the look of crown, you could always go with a slightly larger top rail, like 3 1/2" or so, and put a round over or chamfer on the bottom edge of a 1" wide block and use it in place of crown. Putting some kind of top moulding really finishes off the cabinets and makes them look a little nicer than just plain boxes. Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for all of the responses.

So, if I go with a wider top, that could be accomplished by just using a wider face-frame on top (which would be the easiest way for me to do it). That seems a little bit odd to me, particularly if it is significantly wider than the rest of the face frame. Or would it make sense to have a board across the top plus a face frame below that? Hmm... That seems even stranger.

Thanks again for the suggestions, and don't hesitate with any additional suggestions/advice.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


I think I would drop down a 2X4 soffit, make it level as possible and rock it. A few inches minimum from the cabinet face. Just a thought
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:42 AM   #8
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DIY kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling?


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Originally Posted by Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD View Post
Thanks for all of the responses.

So, if I go with a wider top, that could be accomplished by just using a wider face-frame on top (which would be the easiest way for me to do it). That seems a little bit odd to me, particularly if it is significantly wider than the rest of the face frame. Or would it make sense to have a board across the top plus a face frame below that? Hmm... That seems even stranger.

Thanks again for the suggestions, and don't hesitate with any additional suggestions/advice.
It isn't odd, most cabinets top style is usually bigger. Especially when a crown moulding is used. If you make the top style 3/4" to 1" bigger, and once you put crown on top of that it leaves roughly the same reveal that the rest of the face frame has. Like in the picture, the side styles are 1 1/2" and the top is 2", and once the crown is put on, the reveal around the door is the same all around. And what I meant to do was to run the top rail just like you normally would, then put a smaller "decorative" block at the top of that along the ceiling, just like you would run crown.
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