kitchen shelf idea

Hi all,
was cleaning/rearranging the kitchen today and happened to make an offhand comment something like "I don't know why people build bulkheads above kitchen cabinets... it seems like a horrible waste of space, they should make shallow cabinets instead." If you'd seen my kitchen you'd understand why I'm worried about space... we've just got too much kitchen stuff and not enough space to store it all. Somewhere where the rarely-used items could be stashed would be oh so useful.
After kicking that around for a while, I came up with an idea... I don't feel froggy enough to demo the bulkhead over the existing counter (if nothing else, there's a pot light in there, and also a joggle around the chase for the vent stack) but I thought, why don't I just build an open shelf all the way around the rest of the kitchen, flush with the bottom of the bulkhead, so it all looks somewhat cohesive?
After thinking about this for a while, I'm thinking just simple, paint grade plywood, 1/2" or 3/4" would suffice (then I'd just paint it to match the walls) and it could be supported at the walls with a simple piece of stainless steel angle. Shelf brackets won't work for this application because there's too much stuff below the shelf for this to be useful (cabinet door swings, vents, windows, doorways, free standing shelves, etc.) I wouldn't want to build a real floating shelf, because that would be too thick (either the shelf would be too close to the ceiling to be useful, or else I'd have a problem with the tops of windows and doors.) I was thinking of supporting it from the ceiling, maybe with all-thread? if I could find a molly with one end as a lag screw and the other end a machine screw, I could just thread on a stainless coupler and some all-thread? maybe even slip some stainless tubing over the finished assembly for ease of cleaning and a more finished appearance...
this seems like it should work, but I was thinking of putting shelving on two different walls. One wall, no problem, the floor joists above run perpendicular to that wall. The other wall, they run parallel... so that may or may not work. (I was planning on making the shelves about 12" or 14" deep; it's possible that I might not have a floor joist at all anywhere useful for support)
any ideas how I could make this work? Be kind, I just started thinking about this about half an hour ago, so there may be something I haven't thought of yet that will prove to me that the whole idea is kind of crack brained...
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

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Nate Nagel wrote:

Just had another thought... what about using shelf brackets inverted? (that is, the shelf brackets would be on the upper side of the shelf rather than underneath. I guess I would probably look for something decorative, I'm thinking wrought iron, or stainless if anyone makes them) Any issues with doing that? I'm assuming that I would want a pretty sturdy bracket should I choose that method...
nate
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I see that you have already had the thought I had, of using angle brackets on the top of the shelf, where they wouldn't be seen. The problem might be minimal weight capacity. How far out were you thinking, and what kind of things were you thinking about storing there? For my part, I might demo the soffit and put flip-up doors above the cabinets. You could probably build cabinets in place with plywood, then put in a nice face and doors. Of course, that might open up a whole new drywall project if the ceiling is not drywalled above the cabinets. A trip to the attic might determine that.
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I thought of that, but there is a limited amount of "open" soffit space. there are four walls in the kitchen, two have soffits, but one of them is occupied by a return duct. (I have had thoughts about busting into that and reworking the return for better airflow, but that's a separate issue.) I have two other walls with no soffit that would allow for more storage space. I was thinking of a 12" or 14" deep shelf about 12" below the ceiling; it very well might have heavy items stored on it (large cast iron skillets, slow cookers, etc.) so it will need to be very sturdy.
nate
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N8N wrote:

How high would the shelf be? Reachable without a step stool? If not, a shelf would be of little use for other than decorative items.
Useable or not, it will get dusty and dirty and would be a nuisance to clean.
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ceiling is over 8', so about 7'3" AFF. I'm not thinking of this as storage for every day items, more like "only used around the holidays" type items that the rest of the year you just want the heck out of your way.

I'm aware of that; my kitchen is fundamentally useless and a nuisance to clean :)
In an ideal world what I'd do is remove the window along the back wall, replace it with a shorter one, and continue the counter around, but the money is not in the budget for that at the moment - and even if I did that; I'd still have the problem of not enough storage space (if I were to do that I think I would actually make the kitchen smaller and relocate the dishwasher below the window. It's hard to explain without a floor plan, but my kitchen and dining room are both pretty useless, with a lot of wasted floor space in the kitchen - it's too small for an island, but even if I had counters along three walls, it's bigger than it needs to be.)
Perhaps down the road I might think about putting doors on the shelves after building them as described above, but I wouldn't want to do that now as there's no way I can match the existing kitchen cabinets (nor would I want to; they're awful.) I would not want to build actual cabinet units however, space is at such a premium that I would want to maximize the storage space (e.g. use the wall and ceiling as the back/ top of my new "cabinets", maybe just nail a cleat to the ceiling to provide something for the doors to close against. Or maybe even make sliding doors to remove the possibility of interference with the ceiling fan. Frosted glass might be cool...)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Dust would be the big problem. If you insist, I'd suggest using the wire shelving strips intended for closets and pantries that you can get cut to length at Depot / Lowe's. You can also use "S" hooks to hang some pots and pans from the shelf in suitable locations.
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I don't think that would ever pass the design department approval. I understand your thought process, but...
more I think about it, I think enclosing it somehow might be the best plan, I'm starting to dig the sliding glass door idea. A simple W- channel screwed to the ceiling and the shelf would allow me to enclose it completely.
nate
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Glass is heavy and could do serious damage in the case of a mishap. Use some kind of plastic material such as:
http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pidE4 &
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On Apr 6, 12:14pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

that looks doable; how does one cut that? Scribe and break like glass, or cut with a regular fine tooth saw?
Do you think I'd be able to use a hole saw to cut finger holes in it?
nate
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Pretty risky in my experience

Table saw with sharp blade works fine. They say an ATB 60 tooth blade is best.

Yes. Use two hole saws, best on a drill press. Smaller pilot hole first will keep splintering of larger holes to a minimum. Must be really, really sharp. Support the stock well.
Joe
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What he said, plus tape the area to be cut.
That can make it easier to mark up the work, prevent skidding, and reduce splintering.
If you have a TAP Plastics store nearby, I'd encourage you to visit them. Their people seem to be very knowledgable and helpful. I have gotten lots of good input there on material selection, cutting techniques, suitable adhesives, and more.
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On Apr 6, 1:36pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Sadly, I don't - looking at their web site they appear to be West Coast only; I'm just outside of DC.
I will look and see if there's something similar around here, but this isn't a particularly DIY-oriented area; for something like what I'm envisioning the typical homeowner would hire a kitchen design consultant, who would then hire a custom cabinet fabricator, who would build and install the stuff.
Me, I'm too chea^H^H^H^Hfrugal for that, I'd rather build it myself and save my money...
I did get props from SWMBO for the paint and patch work over the fridge, she thinks I did a great job. I personally think it looks like hell, but primarily because the paint match was a little off. (I'm still proud of the rest of the job.) Not sure what can be done about that because after looking more closely it appears that the last paint job was only one coat without primer; looks like the ceiling was previously white and the walls were something yellowish. So I don't even have a consistent color between ceiling and walls because of bleed through. And the piece that I had paint matched was over a pure white, so there was really no way it was going to be perfect.
nate
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You should post some pictures. That way we could help better.
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