Tuesday, March 17, 2009


At some point, our kitchen cabinets defied gravity by floating to the ceiling. This is clear to me now, but had puzzled me for quite a while.

Ever since we bought the house I've been pondering if the kitchen cabinets are original. There were several things about them that made me think they could have been original, but a few things just didn't seem right. First off, the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. It is impractical to have cabinet shelving ten feet off the ground. We frequently have to stand on a stool or on the counter to reach the top shelves.

Midway on the cabinet doors are holes where old cabinet hardware was attached. This is seven feet off the ground. Either the people who lived here previously were giants, or something just isn't right.

We also found blue wallpaper behind the cabinets when we had to repair the ceiling when our plumbing leaked.

Then the mailman made a brilliant suggestion. Perhaps the overhead cabinets sat on top of the current counter. It makes absolute sense. It puts the old handles at the right height. The tops of the cabinets line up with the top of the window sills. The top shelves would be accessible from the ground. And it explains the wallpaper behind the cabinets. Stylistically it makes sense too, as it matches the cabinetry I've seen from the period.

I suggested to Ms. Huis that when we remodel the kitchen (someday), we could put in a center island (for prep space) and move the cabinets back down to where they originally were. I don't think she properly understood the brilliance of my idea, because before she even thought about it, she said "No". Fortunately, we're a long way from remodeling the kitchen.


Pusher said...

Never mess with counter space. Replace with an island? Bah. The island is for additional counter space.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

I've seen a few houses of your vintage with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. I think it was more an issue of style than anything. Yes, it is true that the uppermost cabinets aren't particularly useful, but depending on your circumstances, they are either a reason to keep a step stool around or the reason why my wife might keep me around.

While they may seem impractical, I think that they look better than the solution that came about in the following decades - the ugly soffit of doom.

You do have more space above your counters than is normal. But you've got all that counter space that's actually usable! It's great!

Ms. Huis Herself said...


We're not moving the cupboards back down and eliminating counter space just 'cuz it used to be that way.


Can you all tell that it's the person who is currently doing the least amount of kitchen work who is proposing getting rid of counter space?!


Ms. Huis Herself said...

Also, our mailman is cool.

Syl said...

My MIL has cabinets as high as yours. She removed the doors from some of the top ones and uses them for storage of some of her antique collectibles - some Red Wing pottery, a couple of old mugs, an old food grinder. Are your doors separate so you can remove the top ones? I can't tell from the pic.

Syl said...

Oh dear, they're not. Never mind.

DiploWhat said...

I back Ms. Huis on this 100%. What a silly, silly idea, moving the cabinets down and losing counter space. It's counter space man! You NEVER go from more to less in that department if at all avoidable. Tisk ,tisk.
99% of the places I've lived all had cabinets that went to the ceiling. Of course, I never minded the soffit, because the cat always liked to hang out up there and therefore kept them well dusted. =)