It was pretty convenient that the landlord of the condo we were renting during our house search is a friend of a friend. He was really flexible about our move-out date, and we were able to leave ourselves a month gap between the time we got the keys to the house and the day we had to really move in. I knew how much work the house needed and thought it would be best to do all the messy things before we moved in (or anything that is much more difficult to do with a bunch of furniture in the way).
I had a whole list of things I wanted to get done in that one-month period and it’s almost ridiculous looking back at how few of those things were actually done! In my defense, we added quite a few projects that I hadn’t originally planned. This project is one of them…
Because kitchens are so expensive to remodel, I figured I would only be able to paint the existing cabinets and add some hardware to them, and that I would have to save any real remodeling effort for much further down the line. Just a few days after getting the keys, I was discussing the kitchen with our friend, Tyler, and he mentioned how easy it would be to demo the dropped ceiling or “soffit.” Tyler convinced me that it would be a fairly simple project, and we all knew it needed to be done. The ceilings were so low in the kitchen it almost felt claustrophobic.
The beautiful* before photo (*sarcasm). You can see the dropped ceiling in the upper-right hand corner of the photo. And, yes, that is an extremely old pencil sharpener installed under the cabinet on the right!
The soffit was built to house recessed fluorescent lighting.
A photo of the fluorescent light fixture without the cover and the bulbs.
We removed a small recessed light that was above the sink so we could look into the soffit. We were only going to be able to do the demo ourselves if there was no major plumbing/electrical running in the soffit. Lucky for us, there was nothing.
Time to begin the real work. We started by ripping out the drywall.
The only tools we really needed for this project were some crowbars, a hammer for removing nails, and a reciprocating saw.
The next night, Tyler and Shawn were nice enough to help remove the upper cabinets. We had a few options after removing the soffit: 1. keep the cabinets where they are and have an awkward gap above them, 2. build out some sort of section of wall just above the cabinets, 3. remove the cabinets and put them back up at the new ceiling height, 4. remove the cabinets and never put them back (do I smell open shelving?). These options were debated for a long time, and I’m withholding the answer until a later post!
I was so excited to see the upper cabinets gone. The kitchen feels much bigger without them.
The 2×4’s were nailed up temporarily to assist with removing the cabinets (so they had something to rest on as the last screws were removed).
Once again, I was very lucky that we had a month before moving in. I can’t imagine trying to live without a ceiling in my kitchen.