Add to the top of kitchen cabinets

July 29, 2015

I am determined to get this kitchen renovation done before the end of this year, which will be hard to do, but I'd LOVE to have it all finished up before the holidays! So if that's going to happen I need to get moving. Um…now. 

There's two parts to my next steps -- removing the microwave and cabinets on the one side of the kitchen and replacing them with a hood. I'll talk more about that soon. The bigger project is building these cabinets up to the ceiling: 

beadboard backsplash

We upgraded the quality of our cabinets when we built, but skimped on the size. I don't regret that too much because the taller ones are hard to get to anyway, but it does leave so much space up there that I've wanted to fill in for some time. 

We have nine foot ceilings so there's about two feet of open space up there. I plan to build cabinets that will sit on top (screwed into the wall of course) and those will be about 15 inches tall. The rest of the space will be a header the crown will be attached to (and the crown takes up about five inches). 

This is one of the best examples I've found to show how it will look in the end: 

building up kitchen cabinets

Although ours will go all the way to the ceiling. And I'd love to run some lighting up there too. Oh la la! 

I know I'm taking down the cabinets to the left, but now I'm trying to decide if I leave the one we have to the right of the sink:
dark cabinets light backsplash
If I do that I'm considering removing the corner cabinet (the appliance garage below it will be moved to a new spot anyway) and replacing it with a straight cabinet. It would still be easy to access, so that won't be a problem. 

By the way, the flowers in the sink totally aren't staged. Ha! I bought the gladiola yesterday and still haven't put them in a vase. 

Here's that corner: 
DIY beadboard backsplash
I've already removed some of the crown on the cabinets when I worked on the fridge enclosure

Jenna Sue's kitchen (it's so dreamy!!) is a great example of having the end cabinet go all the way to the wall instead of the traditional corner cabinet: 
gray kitchen cabinets white counters

I love the look! The bonus is that one of the cabinets I'm taking down near the microwave is the exact size of that corner cabinet, so I wouldn't have to buy anything to fill that spot. 

I'm SO so excited to get moving on those uppers -- they are really the last big building project in here. I feel like once I get that done the rest will fall into place fairly quickly. (Crossing fingers). 

It's funny because I wrote a post years back on how to fill that space and decorate above your cabinets and it's one of my most popular posts in over seven years. Now I can't wait to take all that down and build it all in: 
extending kitchen island

I think the kitchen will be a total showstopper when it's done. The more I daydream about the finished product the more I get excited to get it moving! But first I have to make a decision on that corner area. 

I'll be removing the other cabinets first and then deciding -- I need to be able to see how the space will look opened up. Right now I'm leaning towards the cabinet to the right being taken down too because of balance. It will open up the kitchen so much too -- and I'm not worried about storage because the open shelving I have planned will hold most of our dishes and a few other items. 

Do you see my vision?? Can't wait! The great thing is the next part of this process won't cost much, I just need to make some decisions and get moving! Have you built up cabinets like I'm planning to do? 

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  1. My kitchen has an appliance garage cabinet as well. Tell me what your opinion is of this type of cabinet. Do you find yours useful, or simply a cabinet that takes up useful counter space?

  2. Are you going to leave the space that you build in at the top open like the one picture or are you going to be adding cabinet doors? I love this idea!

  3. Can't wait to see it all done. This is going to be fabulous.

  4. I can envision it and I'm sure it will result in a beautiful kitchen. I would really like to do something like this to my kitchen the problem I have is that some of the cabinets are raised- not level like yours. Do you have any idea how to build out above your cabinets when they are not all level? I have about a foot of space above the lower ones and maybe 6-8 inches above the higher cabinets. While this gives a more custom look to stock cabinets the pesky space above them bothers me.

  5. I first found your blog on Pinterest when I re-pinned your post about decorating above the cabinets! I've been following ever since! Can't wait to see how the kitchen looks :)

  6. Love your cabinets as they are-- but I'm sure you will manage to make them even more beautiful. I redid the area above my cabinets this summer but it doesn't look at great as yours currently. Can't wait to see what it will look like.

    My Bright Blue House

  7. We built our cabinets up to the ceiling and it was one of the best house decisions we've ever made! Unfortunately we didn't have the space to keep it open so we just closed it all off, but I love the way it looks. Here's our reno project:

    I can't wait to see your finished product! It's going to change the space dramatically!

  8. We are planning on redoing our kitchen in the next year or two and want to bring our cabinets up the ceiling and want to add a range hood too:) i can't wait to follow along and see how how you do it:) good luck with your remodel I know it will look beautiful just like the rest of your house:)

  9. I am so glad we got full height cabinets when we did our kitchen. Love the storage even though not all of them are full. Had open spaces above our cabinets in a former condo we owned. Yuck! it was always dusty and collected nasty stuff. Now I never have to clean off the top of anything anymore and I always have the extra space hidden behind doors. I love the color on your island. I will be painting my cabinets soon a nice soft gray. Hope I finish before Christmas as well.

  10. I hope you are able to take yours to the ceiling. We are just finishing our kitchen redo and because of where the existing cabinet ceiling was and how the new cabinets would sit, we would have ended up with too much space in between the existing cabinet doors and the new, if that makes any sense. We had to settle for new lighting on top of the cabinets, which does look great and makes a big difference. But not what I really wanted. Of course, we could have modified the existing cabinets, but I didn't want to go down that road. Good luck! The painting of our cabinets white has acted almost like we have put in a new window. It's so bright!

  11. I do not love my corner cabinets they drive me crazy and I'd love to see them go! I'm looking forward to seeing your new kitchen come together!

  12. Love the direction you are going. Years ago it was great to have the open space to decorate, but most of us have learned it is just wasted dust collecting space. I would love the extra storage for items not used often, but needed.

  13. Love all your ideas! I can't wait to see it when it's finished!

  14. I love our cabinets that go to the ceiling! The last thing I wanted was another dust collection spot. Plus our 8' ceilings didn't leave much room for a nice space to decorate if we didn't take them all the way up. We completely gutted and recreated our downstairs after a horrible flood last year and I absolutely love our kitchen! I need to get some updated (read: clean) photos during the day for my blog. That's such a challenge for me, to have a moment during the daylight hours when the kitchen (or anywhere in the house) is clean enough that I want to showcase it. I still share photos but they aren't something you'd see on Pinterest lol.

  15. We are currently building up our cabinets and I actually pinned both of those photos for our inspiration pictures a while ago. Its been a lot harder than I thought but I've been using Kristi's tutorials from as a guide and hope to be done soon. I am excited to see how you end up doing yours!

  16. Sarah, we JUST finished doing this a month and a half ago, to include installing a vented range hood to replace the over-the-stove-microwave. It was a pain, but SO worth it.

    Check it out:

    1. I went to look at your kitchen and its gorgeous! You did a wonderful job!

    2. Thanks so much! It was a true labor of love. I hope to have some detailed videos on painting kitchen cabinets up soon!

  17. How exciting! I love cabinets, but in your kitchen I'd definitely suggest taking the uppers down on both sides of the sink. I think you'll love the symmetry of open shelving on both sides. I'm thinking of the beautiful cabinets around your fireplace and how much you've enjoyed that new fireplace location as opposed to the old corner one. . . I think you're a lover of balance, and open shelving on both sides will provide that. But I know it'll be beautiful no matter how you choose to do it, so I'm looking forward to drooling over the finished space! :)

  18. LOooooove this! I just moved into a new house so when I found your blog i was thrilled!
    XO, Ellen from Ask Away

  19. Yes, I see your vision! I can't wait to follow progress and see how it turns out. I agree; it's gonna be a real showstopper!

  20. Oh this all sounds fantastic!! I can not WAIT to see the end result, omygosh. I sound almost as excited as you and its not even my kitchen! Being a decorator one of my facvourite designs/renovations is kitchen and bath. I can invision it in my head and I love LOVE the tall cabinets it looks so streamlined and plus (no dust to clean up there - score!).

    I can see the cabinets to the right and the corner cabinet gone, it would free up that wall & give you a perfect spot for open shelving (unless you already have a spot - hehe) then running the cabinets on the fridge wall straight across. I think it would make the kitchen and space feel grand & more open and would be BEAUTIFUL! Just a suggestion though :)

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  21. My two cents for what it is worth: Take it down. I just think the window and that wall will look unbalanced otherwise. One other possibility: rather than removing it entirely is to replace the double cabinet with a single. That might give the needed balance, and keep the corner cabinet as is.

    Whatever you decide will be great, and I look forward to seeing what you do!

  22. I thought you were crazy to want to take those extra cabinets down ... until I saw Jenna Sue's kitchen! Oh my! Please do the cabinets like that - it looks fantastic butted up against the wall. And so much space around the window! I love it.

  23. We are in the midst of a kitchen (gut) renovation ourselves. Your existing kitchen is already so nice, but the changes you have planned sound awesome. It seems that you already have ample storage (plus you're adding height with additional upper cabinets), so removing the cabinets you specified shouldn't compromise any practical storage needs. Can't wait to see all the changes!

  24. I think you should remove them and go straight to the wall. I think it would look better (more balanced) around your window sink area. Just my thoughts :)

    I'm so excited that you're motivated! I love to watch your progress - while I sit on my sofa :)

  25. Yes, I catch your vision and it's going to be gorgeous!

  26. Love my cabinets all the way to the ceiling. Yes the top shelf is a stretch, but I can store so much more and don't have to "decorate" or better yet, don't have to clean above smaller cabinets. Can't wait to see your kitchen reno!

  27. Love your vision! When I look at your photo of the sink wall, I feel like taking down the cabinets on the right side will totally balance it out. I'm also thinking of taking my corner cabinet out and replacing it with a straight one. Can't wait for the end result!!


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