Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/oops resent with pic

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QUESTION: Hi. I forgot to attach photo in my previous question. I have attached a photo of our kitchen cabinets which were done during remodeling about 12 years ago. As you can see, the horizontal moldings (about 3" wide) were not brought flush to the ceiling, so they are short by about 1/2 inch all around. My question is how to bring them up to the ceiling so there is no space. I guess the options are 1. to remove the moldings and replace them with wider ones and then trim the bottoms of the moldings to fit, 2. To put narrower moldings at the top of the moldings in the photo, 3. to pull off the moldings and slide them up to the ceiling. However I don't know whether there is anything solid behind them, and maybe that would leave it unfinished looking on the bottom. Do you like any of these solutions? Or can you think of a better one? Thanks!

ANSWER: Hi David, not sure who did that job, but they should be ashamed of themselves...my guess is that they had to put the molding on that way because there's nothing behind there to attach it. That's the ONLY reason I can think of why someone would do that. From the picture, it looks like the gap between the molding and the ceiling is uneven, too. Is it so, or just am optical illusion? So ideally they should have "cheated" all the cabinets up that 1/2" if they weren't going to address the molding issue, because if you remove the molding now and slide it up, you very well may have an issue with the dreaded 'line' where the finish is either not there, or damaged from nails and will not match when exposed, or there's just no cabinet back there to attach to...a nailing block strip attached to the top of the cabinets would facilitate the ability to move the molding up and secure it, but to put one in after the fact is almost impossible,( it possibly could be attached with screws from below), and the cabinets themselves may be too short.Adding a small molding at the top to just fill the gap will likely look odd, and if the gap is uneven, it will make it look even worse. Stacking a second, flat molding under the crown molding is also a possibility,( I sometimes use an inverted colonial baseboard molding under a crown to add depth to the detail) but that renders a lot of the existing white molding too short to re-use in that situation, so it would have to be replaced and finished to match. I'd start by popping a side piece off, carefully, and see whats going on there...you really have no other choice but to start there before you can even begin to formulate a plan.
Post back if need be, and best of luck...regards,
Greg

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you belatedly for your response, but I must question it. I believe the gap is often referred to as the "shadow line." Am I correct?  In my case it is there because the ceiling is uneven. Sometimes the gap is 1/2 inch, sometimes 1/4 inch, and so on. This happens in older homes. So whatever one does, something will appear uneven. Do you really think the person who did this work should be "ashamed" of himself? I could point to a few other things he did that might be considered questionable. However, I wonder about your verdict on this particular situation. What say you?

Answer
Hey David, perhaps I was a little harsh in my critique, but in a typical situation like this one either goes to the ceiling with a cornice molding or leaves more than 2" (4" or more is aesthetically better to the eyes), rather than leaving a "shadow line" (an accurate design term, but not a feature that helps in this case...),  that accentuates the issues with the ceiling, and therefore draws one's eye to the uneven gaps.I am very familiar with older homes, having worked in many, and there are ways to mitigate these problems, but they're not always easy. Establishing a level sight line, some inches down from an uneven ceiling is one way to do it, the bigger the gap, the more the cornice or cabinet top line will mask the ceiling issues, and the more the row of cabinets will look level and correct...the closer you get to the ceiling, the more it comes into play in ones view, and the more it will stand out. The molding can also be scribed at the top to maintain a perfectly level configuration, but 'fitted' to the ceiling irregularities.Either of these techniques would be a better solution to what was done there. In a low ceiling situation, as in many older North Eastern home, (I live in CT.), the options are limited because of cabinet size and design, and sometimes custom sized and built cabinets and moldings are required. Shorter upper cabinets than would be typical, for instance.In your situation the crown sits too low on the cabinet faceframes, in my opinion...there should be a small reveal ( 3/4" - 1 1/4") above the doors before the bottom of the crown....a common issue when taller cabinets are used in a shorter room....and they tend to look squashed..especially with the resulting "shadow line"...which...again...in my opinion , is not aesthetically appealing to the eye...and just accentuates the ceiling issues..Please feel free to ask some others if my opinions ring true....there are many ways to do things as we all know...but sometimes these types of issues aren't solved or dealt with in a way that's pleasing from a design standpoint....Regards,
Greg

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Greg Scholl

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Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.

Experience

Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Publications
Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Education/Credentials
Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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