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Old 06-30-2010, 11:19 AM   #1
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to soffit or not to soffit


I was planning on taking out an old soffit from our former kitchen, which is now going to be the dining area. However, the more I look at it since taking out the aluminum framework and plastic sheets the more I wonder if I could leave it in place, trim it up with some stained wood, and recess some lights inside and around the soffit - obviously the pictured neon lights would go.

Has anyone ever seen or done such a thing with an old soffit like this? I'm not sure if it would still look dated to leave it in place, or whether the conversion might give the ceiling a nice effect and line, especially as I'm taking out the walls on two sides (the wall behind the fridge in the attached photo, and the one where the open doorway is.

If I keep it in place, I've toyed with the idea of putting a shelf along the exposed side of the soffit facing the camera in the photo, making it a nick nack shelf or a repository for some of my wife's art deco lamps.

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:31 AM   #2
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Any heating/cooling/plumbing etc running in the soffit ?

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Old 06-30-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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No, I wouldn't be considering removing it if there were those kind of issues. Our old house had a soffit over the top of our kitchen cabinets, and much as I wanted to get rid of it I couldn't as it had AC ducting running through it. This soffit only has a small AC outlet reaching down into it (you can just see the grill showing in the picture, near the fridge) and it's an easy fix to put a shorter one in place if I remove the soffit.
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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You can do whatever you want, it's your house, let your artistic juices flow and post pictures when you're done. I've seen some neat things done with drywall that really customize a home for little money.
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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There could be a beam in there as well. There is most likely a reason it's made that way, but maybe not.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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No, it was fashionable in the late 60's and 70's to put these kind of ceilings in because it looked hip. Now they look dated, at least as far as kitchens are concerned.

To reiterate what I said earlier, the removal aspect would not be under consideration if there were any issues, meaning that I inspected the cavity from above long ago to determine if there was any kind of impediment to the soffit's removal - it's simply a framework attached to the trusses. As stated in the previous post, the only minor issue is taking out a small AC elbow and replacing it with something shorter - if I take the option of removing the soffit.

The point to the post was to draw on the experiences of others who may have dealt with the same aesthetic conundrum of whether to retain and modify the look of a soffit or remove it.

@ Jogr. I could happily let my wild artistic fantasies reign free and throw buckets of paint all over the roof to see what kind of Pollock-like effect such a daring deed has on the entire house - and provide pictures to boot! But the likely outcome is that it would look like a complete disaster and cost me an arm and a leg to rectify. If someone comes on this forum and asks advice for how to build a brick wall, do you tell them to just be free spirits and 'go for it' - or do you think they might actually be seeking constructive advice on the basics skills required to construct the wall effectively and safely? If someone asks how to rewire the 240 volt outlet in the kitchen do you tell them to just stick the wires in, see what happens, and report back to the forum to tell everyone how they went - or if they're still alive? Or do you think that they just might be looking for expert opinion from someone who knows how best to advise them on the matter?

If you haven't got the point so far, it's the basic fact that if I simply wanted to play around and see what it would look like I'd happily do so - I do it all the time in other ways round this and other houses I've rehabbed. But contrary to your suggestion, this is NOT something that can be reversed easily and inexpensively once I set out on a particular course. If I remove the soffit I may regret it down the track, particularly if I see someone else's example that I like, and it would take considerable time, work and expense to put it back in place - hardly likely. On the other hand if I leave it in place and decide further down the track that I don't like it, I'll have to tear it down in a house that's been converted to an open plan design and have to deal with myriad issues resulting from all the dust, wool insulation, heat, etc permeating through every nook and cranny of the house, over furniture, etc. There are also other ramifications involving the extent to which I remove the associated walls. So I get it right now, or I don't.

If you have something actually constructive and helpful to say on the matter, similar experiences or work on soffits, examples of converted kitchen soffits you've seen - you get the drift - by all means add your two cents worth. The point was to glean some knowledge - maybe some pictures - from others who've been down the same road, or someone with architectural or building experience who might say 'yay, wonderful idea' or 'nay, kitchen soffits are SO yesterday'!

I can only hope you don't linger on first aid forums telling people that the way to deliver CPR is to just 'push up and down a lot on the chest and blow air in the mouth as much as you can - and take some pictures if you can to show us how you did it'.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:29 PM   #7
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Geez Timbo, your last reply was rather ungracious. You've made it clear you are not happy with the soffit and there is nothing underneath it so take a sledge hammer and sawzall and rip it down already. BTW my wife is Polish so I don't think "Pollock" is very PC.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:26 PM   #8
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Just Google "Kitchen Lighting Ceilings" and look under IMAGES. The bmp photo is lousy.... sorry.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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That's fabulous. Thanks for sending the pic.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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@Jim F. Are you actually serious? Guy, all power to you if your wife is Polish, but how you figure her nationality has something to do with Jackson Pollock, that his name can somehow be construed as an insult to Poles, is beyond me - and most other people I would imagine. That's one for the books. What did you think I was suggesting in my comment about randomly throwing paint over a roof Pollock-style? That Poles are particularly prone to such acts of artistic largess?

The derogatory term you think you're referencing to is spelled differently. And for the record, my father was European and my stepson is of Polish descent, and I'd be the last person to set about insulting anyone based on their cultural or ethnic background.

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Old 08-11-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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Having never heard of Jackson Pollock and having seen Polak spelled every which way, I guess the misunderstanding is understandable. My main point is the same in any case- when someone offers you advice after you have requested it be gracious even if you don't agree with it.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbo59 View Post
No, it was fashionable in the late 60's and 70's to put these kind of ceilings in because it looked hip. Now they look dated, at least as far as kitchens are concerned.

To reiterate what I said earlier, the removal aspect would not be under consideration if there were any issues, meaning that I inspected the cavity from above long ago to determine if there was any kind of impediment to the soffit's removal - it's simply a framework attached to the trusses. As stated in the previous post, the only minor issue is taking out a small AC elbow and replacing it with something shorter - if I take the option of removing the soffit.

The point to the post was to draw on the experiences of others who may have dealt with the same aesthetic conundrum of whether to retain and modify the look of a soffit or remove it.

@ Jogr. I could happily let my wild artistic fantasies reign free and throw buckets of paint all over the roof to see what kind of Pollock-like effect such a daring deed has on the entire house - and provide pictures to boot! But the likely outcome is that it would look like a complete disaster and cost me an arm and a leg to rectify. If someone comes on this forum and asks advice for how to build a brick wall, do you tell them to just be free spirits and 'go for it' - or do you think they might actually be seeking constructive advice on the basics skills required to construct the wall effectively and safely? If someone asks how to rewire the 240 volt outlet in the kitchen do you tell them to just stick the wires in, see what happens, and report back to the forum to tell everyone how they went - or if they're still alive? Or do you think that they just might be looking for expert opinion from someone who knows how best to advise them on the matter?

If you haven't got the point so far, it's the basic fact that if I simply wanted to play around and see what it would look like I'd happily do so - I do it all the time in other ways round this and other houses I've rehabbed. But contrary to your suggestion, this is NOT something that can be reversed easily and inexpensively once I set out on a particular course. If I remove the soffit I may regret it down the track, particularly if I see someone else's example that I like, and it would take considerable time, work and expense to put it back in place - hardly likely. On the other hand if I leave it in place and decide further down the track that I don't like it, I'll have to tear it down in a house that's been converted to an open plan design and have to deal with myriad issues resulting from all the dust, wool insulation, heat, etc permeating through every nook and cranny of the house, over furniture, etc. There are also other ramifications involving the extent to which I remove the associated walls. So I get it right now, or I don't.

If you have something actually constructive and helpful to say on the matter, similar experiences or work on soffits, examples of converted kitchen soffits you've seen - you get the drift - by all means add your two cents worth. The point was to glean some knowledge - maybe some pictures - from others who've been down the same road, or someone with architectural or building experience who might say 'yay, wonderful idea' or 'nay, kitchen soffits are SO yesterday'!

I can only hope you don't linger on first aid forums telling people that the way to deliver CPR is to just 'push up and down a lot on the chest and blow air in the mouth as much as you can - and take some pictures if you can to show us how you did it'.
timbo59, after this long, drawn out (and completely unnecessary) rant, I'd be surprised if anyone helped you with anything on this forum again...
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:36 AM   #13
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timbo...I'd lose the soffit. IMHO it looks pretty dumb down on top of the door casings. I'd opt for more head room.

Okay...let me have it.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:24 AM   #14
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@ Jim F. And people with class and character usually have the good grace to apologize when they make unfounded and serious accusations. You laid an accusation of ethnically slurring your wife, which is pretty nasty stuff in anyone's language. Your response? To rationalize it by claiming ignorance on the matter of art - and by the way, Pollock is one of the USA's best known artists of the 20th century! How about just basic ignorance of spelling? One is Polack (excuse its inclusion, I'm trying to make a point) the other is Pollock. You even tried rationalizing that one away by claiming you'd seen the slur spelled in many different ways! Pure BS. The slur has always been spelled exactly the same way, except perhaps in your very localized neck of the woods. I indulged in a little sarcasm at someone's expense for using the forum to indulge in pomposity - you accuse me of essentially being a racist. I think by anyone's measure, yours is the reprehensible behavior.

@12 Penny. What makes you think I'd have a problem with your view? Your opinion is exactly what I wanted, someone who actually expresses a view of yay or nay on the matter - you think soffits suck. Great. It's constructive, to the point, and helps in the process of helping me make a decision - and by the way, I had actually decided to get rid of it after all, as I think an uninterrupted ceiling through the dining and kitchen area would look better. It took me a month or so of cogitating over it before I finally decided which way to go, because I didn't want to screw up the decision and regret it afterwards.

@Proby. You obviously didn't get the point. I have an extensive level of experience and knowledge that I willingly share on a wide-ranging series of topics on other forums, and have done so for years. The general idea is to help people in a constructive manner that is designed to share knowledge and information without hopping on a podium, indulging egos, or waxing rhapsodic on issues I knows little about in order to sound informed, the resident expert or messiah. Unfortunately the net makes forums a haven for every kind of idiot on the planet who thinks the anonymity of the medium affords them the opportunity to develop a paper spine and indulge in the kind of rhetoric and opinionated garbage that they'd never dream of putting on display in their real lives. For others it becomes a panacea for their otherwise empty and vacuous lives, lurking on forums day to day, building up the number of their posts to add a little cache to their points, offering up views on everything and anything regardless of their scant knowledge base, and caring not a whit for the amount of harm their misinformed views can wreak if acted upon.

You're an electrician? I made the analogy earlier about someone asking for help on just that matter. Would you just say 'to hell with it, just try it and see what happens', or do you draw on your experience and knowledge of the personal risks and potential hazards involved and outline the procedure in detail to ensure that no harm comes to the person, that they don't goof up and create a potential fire hazard? Which way does your sense of responsibility as a professional lean when helping people on such a potentially hazardous subject?

I came on here obviously undecided on a major design element that would require extensive work, seeking a thumbs up or a thumbs down from those with experience of the matter, or at least a view of which way I should go. All that I got from this particular person was hot air, a self indulgence, a look-at-me post that offered nothing but a go with the flow view - what view? I was trying to make up my mind! And as I also pointed out, either alternative presented major headaches if I decided later that the decision process had been flawed, contrary to this person's airy fairy view that it would be an easy reversal. In short, the post offered up nothing except an opportunity for the author to hop up on a podium and pontificate in a manner that could have cost me time and money had I adopted such a cavalier attitude to the project. I'd like to see you take someone's ad hoc local advice on a complex wiring job only to find out later that you'd been misinformed and had to rip out walls and wiring and start again from scratch because local code had recently changed.

In short, if someone asks for help, either offer it or don't offer it - and make sure that you know what you're talking about and be aware of the consequences if you don't. If forums merely represent an opportunity to indulge your own ego and to act the paper tiger in cyberspace in lieu of any substance or spine in your real life, than you're here for the wrong reasons and doing more harm than good.

Have a nice day.

PS - I still get all the help I need, thanks all the same, because there are people out there who know how to go about things in the right fashion. Without ego, polite, informed and interested in simply sharing information and expertise. Just as I do.

Last edited by timbo59; 08-12-2010 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbo59 View Post
@ Jim F. And people with class and character usually have the good grace to apologize when they make unfounded and serious accusations. You laid an accusation of ethnically slurring your wife, which is pretty nasty stuff in anyone's language. Your response? To rationalize it by claiming ignorance on the matter of art - and by the way, Pollock is one of the USA's best known artists of the 20th century! How about just basic ignorance of spelling? One is Polack (excuse its inclusion, I'm trying to make a point) the other is Pollock. You even tried rationalizing that one away by claiming you'd seen the slur spelled in many different ways! Pure BS. The slur has always been spelled exactly the same way, except perhaps in your very localized neck of the woods. I indulged in a little sarcasm at someone's expense for using the forum to indulge in pomposity - you accuse me of essentially being a racist. I think by anyone's measure, yours is the reprehensible behavior.

@12 Penny. What makes you think I'd have a problem with your view? Your opinion is exactly what I wanted, someone who actually expresses a view of yay or nay on the matter - you think soffits suck. Great. It's constructive, to the point, and helps in the process of helping me make a decision - and by the way, I had actually decided to get rid of it after all, as I think an uninterrupted ceiling through the dining and kitchen area would look better. It took me a month or so of cogitating over it before I finally decided which way to go, because I didn't want to screw up the decision and regret it afterwards.

@Proby. You obviously didn't get the point. I have an extensive level of experience and knowledge that I willingly share on a wide-ranging series of topics on other forums, and have done so for years. The general idea is to help people in a constructive manner that is designed to share knowledge and information without hopping on a podium, indulging egos, or waxing rhapsodic on issues I knows little about in order to sound informed, the resident expert or messiah. Unfortunately the net makes forums a haven for every kind of idiot on the planet who thinks the anonymity of the medium affords them the opportunity to develop a paper spine and indulge in the kind of rhetoric and opinionated garbage that they'd never dream of putting on display in their real lives. For others it becomes a panacea for their otherwise empty and vacuous lives, lurking on forums day to day, building up the number of their posts to add a little cache to their points, offering up views on everything and anything regardless of their scant knowledge base, and caring not a whit for the amount of harm their misinformed views can wreak if acted upon.

You're an electrician? I made the analogy earlier about someone asking for help on just that matter. Would you just say 'to hell with it, just try it and see what happens', or do you draw on your experience and knowledge of the personal risks and potential hazards involved and outline the procedure in detail to ensure that no harm comes to the person, that they don't goof up and create a potential fire hazard? Which way does your sense of responsibility as a professional lean when helping people on such a potentially hazardous subject?

I came on here obviously undecided on a major design element that would require extensive work, seeking a thumbs up or a thumbs down from those with experience of the matter, or at least a view of which way I should go. All that I got from this particular person was hot air, a self indulgence, a look-at-me post that offered nothing but a go with the flow view - what view? I was trying to make up my mind! And as I also pointed out, either alternative presented major headaches if I decided later that the decision process had been flawed, contrary to this person's airy fairy view that it would be an easy reversal. In short, the post offered up nothing except an opportunity for the author to hop up on a podium and pontificate in a manner that could have cost me time and money had I adopted such a cavalier attitude to the project. I'd like to see you take someone's ad hoc local advice on a complex wiring job only to find out later that you'd been misinformed and had to rip out walls and wiring and start again from scratch because local code had recently changed.

In short, if someone asks for help, either offer it or don't offer it - and make sure that you know what you're talking about and be aware of the consequences if you don't. If forums merely represent an opportunity to indulge your own ego and to act the paper tiger in cyberspace in lieu of any substance or spine in your real life, than you're here for the wrong reasons and doing more harm than good.

Have a nice day.

PS - I still get all the help I need, thanks all the same, because there are people out there who know how to go about things in the right fashion. Without ego, polite, informed and interested in simply sharing information and expertise. Just as I do.

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