If you peel back the layers of custom kitchen design, you’ll find that many custom kitchens are really conventional kitchens with nice finishes. So what makes a custom kitchen custom?

The major components of kitchens are cabinets, counters, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and appliances. Customization comes into play with flooring, tile, hardware, specialty glass, paint, wall coverings, interior accents, and furniture. What about the horizontal barrier that hovers directly above you? Not many people consider the ceiling as an aspect of kitchen design. How can you transform the look and feel of your custom kitchen by altering the ceiling? Get rid of it.


For those looking to break away from standard kitchen conventions, consider an open ceiling that exposes the floor framing above and use less cabinetry to create an attractive, rustic look. Whether you’re considering a kitchen makeover or you have a renovation that requires tearing out the existing drywall or canec ceiling, rather than installing new drywall, leave the ceiling open, exposing the beams, joists and hardware. Wooden beams and joists carry the load of the ceiling or floor above and accentuate the space, creating visual interest.

With the wooden construction exposed, the kitchen ceiling will feel higher. Flat ceilings visually shrink the room. Open ceilings are best utilized where a second story exists above the space to mitigate heat gain.

Paint it up a light color to brighten the space and skip the caulking to create an automatic conversation piece that is stately and rustic.


With the ceiling open, continue that light and airy feeling throughout the kitchen by utilizing less cabinetry, strategically placing the upper and lower cabinets to create open spaces on the kitchen walls. Conventional kitchens will usually feature cabinetry on nearly every wall. As difficult as it may be to break away from this storage extravaganza, do away with some of those cabinets altogether.

Leave wall space to hang pictures, for small, open display shelving, or racks for hanging pots, pans and cooking utensils, which match the rustic feel. When this open design is paired with an island that contains additional base cabinet storage, you’ll still have ample storage opportunities along with a kitchen that feels more open and affords flexibility for additional design and decoration. You’ll save money upfront with less cabinetry and you’ll be able to add personal touches to your kitchen beyond a glass tile backsplash or solid wood cabinet doors.

Attend Graham Builders’ upcoming and free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar, set for Oct. 22, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Honolulu Country Club. To register, visit or call 593-2808.

Building Your Home for Life
Honolulu Country Club
Oct. 22, 9 11 a.m.

Contact // 593-2808
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