Friday, January 30, 2009

Updating a Kitchen that has Soffits

Before the Transformation

There are many things that "date" a kitchen but one thing that broadcasts the fact that the kitchen is older is the presence of soffits. So, when you are selling your home - what do you do to offset these architectural wonders, other than an expensive renovation? Well - one thing you can do is to paint the entire kitchen a color that blends with the color of the cabinetry. If you have warm oak cabinets, paint the kitchen a warm, yellow/beige, for example. You want the soffits to recede - so don't paint them a contrasting color that will make them stand out.

We transformed these kitchen cabinets by using the soffits - but we added crown molding, paint and then did a faux oak woodgraining to match the already existing cabinets.

That's me, putting the first layer of woodgraining on the soffits

After we finished graining and matching the color of the oak cabinets (it was a bit hard because each cabinet had a slightly different tone of oak - probably from age), we then added a faux wood inlaid design on the soffit.

After: The cabinetry looks taller and more modern

With a little creativity, you can turn a negative into a positive. Before, these cabinets made the room look shorter - and the cabinets seemed shorter. This technique helps to "bring the eye up" and to bring a more modern feel to the room.


Anonymous said...

Your inlay looks beautiful. Great job!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these pictures, finally, someone shows what to do with soffits/bulkheads and in such a wonderful way. I'm buying a 1968 home with the original cabinets still in fantastic condition, along with soffits and was trying to find some ideas of what to do with them as I want to keep the cabinets as they are, if possible. You have shown great creativity -kudos to you.

Would love to see a photo of the wall and what color you actually painted them that goes with the cabinets.

Thanks for sharing! Would love to see more of your work!

Linda Leyble said...

Hi - Thank you for commenting! What we wound up doing for the rest of the kitchen - and the adjoining living room (which had it's own set of color items that needed to be blended) was to do a beautiful and soft glaze over an off white bascoat. We had to have some yellow in it - because of the oak cabinetry...but the living room had coral tones. So, we did a blend of coral and ochre yellow (with a little bit of brown colorant in it to tone it down a bit). The best way to blend two different color schemes in an open room plan (as this) is to use a glaze on the wall. This way you have the ability to blend two different colors. It has to be done artfully - for example, I wouldn't mix two opposing colors like orange and blue - you'd get mud! I love using glazes because you don't have to commit to just one solid color - which possibly won't go with something else it your room.

I will soon post a kitchen that we did where the homeowners had so much trouble picking the right wall color. We did a beautiful glaze that solved the problem! I use decorative painting as a problem solver - in addition to being decorative!

I would love it if you would follow my blog. I am in the midst of revamping it - so please return to it from time to time to see new kitchen revamps and other things!

Also...for more pictures of my work - see my decorative arts website and my other blog -


Anonymous said...

WOW! This is a great idea and I love the look. Here's my problem. White ceilings, and white cabinets. I would like to add a pretty crown moulding too. How do I give this the same illusion? I can't paint everything white can I?

60's ranch

Jaz said...

Choosing different types of oak cabinets and discount kitchen cabinets is helpful when you order kitchen cabinets online.

Debbie said...

Hi Linda,

I wrote (above) on Jan 24th about the soffits and came back to check out your latest. Sorry I didn't come back sooner. Thanks for posting the other sites, I am even more in awe of your wonderful talents and the beautiful work you do. How I wish you were situated in Greenville, SC where the house we bought is, I'd let you have free reign! This house has so much potential that it will take someone like you to tap in to all it can be!

Would love to know what you would do with the cabinets in this kitchen. I'd like to try first to keep the wood and restain, try to go with a Tuscan look (loved your Tuscan walls!) and if that doesn't look good, do a Hollywood Regency style - last resort is to get new cabinets, but really don't want to go that route. Now you'll see why I love your soffits!

Thanks for any insight you may be able to provide!!

Unknown said...

When I bought my house through costa rica homes for sale
I expected to have a big stove in the kitchen with a huge space, now I am really happy because I can cook every kind of recipe in my huge stove. I really love it.

Linda Leyble said...

Hi Debbie - I wish I had a way of contacting you - but you didn't leave your email. I could definitely walk you through how you should do your cabinetry painting. You have a perfect opportunity to do something fantastic with your cabinets! And - it will be easier than you may think.

I hope that you signed up for any updates to this post. Just email me or call me and I can help you out by phone!

Tasha said...

I love this so much! Now I believe I have an answer to our outdated oak cabinets! I do have a couple of questions though....the inlay design, is that a stencil? Did you use a glaze to do it? What colors would you use to do the faux oak on the soffits, moulding and trim? How easy is this on a scale of 1-10? Wondering if I should hire this done? Husband and I are pretty handy, have done the majority of any reno's on our own.

Linda Leyble said...

Hi Tasha - I hope that you come back to see the answer that I give you. Where are you located? I can probably suggest a pro who could help you if you are not in my area. The "trick" to getting the oak wood grain finish right is to try to match the underlying color of your cabinets. Oak has a "glow to it" so I used first a medium tone yellow and then a pale gold metallic paint over that. Then I used some glazes to go over the base to approximate the tone of the wood. Then I took a paint brush and painted on the darker grains in the "wood." Practice on cheaper pieces of wood until you get close to the color. It's not sn easy DIY project - I practiced for a long time before I really understood how to do faux wood graining (I'm a professional artist).

Yes - I used a stencil. You can look at Royal Design Studio for some great ones. The stencil I used was by Jeff Raum. I believe you can buy his stencils through Jan Dressler stencils. I used various darker stains for this - mahogany, walnut and a darker oak.



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