How to design around bulkheads – Design Lesson 20 | vaulted ceiling ledge decorating ideas |

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How to design around bulkheads - Design Lesson 20

How to design around bulkheads – Design Lesson 20 | vaulted ceiling ledge decorating ideas |

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#design #bulkheads #Design #Lesson
In a perfect interior design world, there’d be no bulkheads. What’s a bulkhead you ask? A bulkhead, also known as an interior soffit, is usually the cause of mechanical ductwork or plumbing that cannot be run within the ceiling joists of your home. So it’s not hidden in the ceiling but lies underneath the joists. This ductwork is usually covered up with framing and drywall. And that’s called a bulkhead. And it just happens. It can happen in your kitchen. It can happen in your living room. It’s just one of those things that happens.

And because it just happens, it can be a bit of a design dilemma depending on where it happens. In most cases, you can’t eliminate the bulkhead because you need the ductwork inside. So the key is managing the look of those bulkheads including size and length and location, so their not so obvious and not such an eye-sore.

Watch the video for 3 ways to deal with bulkheads…

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If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below and it could be the topic of our next episode!

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Framing1 and 2 –

Bulkhead Living Room –

Framing 3 –

Inside Cabinet –

Kitchen bulkhead 1 & 2 –

Kitchen uppers –

Concealed –

Glass Uppers –

Grille –

Living Room –

Traditional Kitchen –

Modern Kitchen –

Beam1 –

Beam Above door –

Bulkhead Living Room –

Continuous 1-

Continuous 2 & 3 –
vaulted ceiling ledge decorating ideas



  1. A R. says:

    Be careful with the wooden beam thing. It can looks odd if it doesn't continue into the living room, especially if you have an open concept or you have an archway or an opening but no door

  2. GreenTree says:

    But what about bulkheads in bedrooms, living rooms?

  3. Beez🌻 says:

    Please more technical work like creating drawings packs in detail. Thank you for the info that you have already xx

  4. Thanks for all your lessons I love it. Can u please give suggestions for beam all over the ceiling and pathway I have this in my living and dinning space. Thanks

  5. Edwizard62 says:

    My kitchen has a low ceiling (8ft) with a bulkhead, I'd like to remove it. There is no ducts or vents, I think it was just cosmetic. Great video.

  6. Okay so may have painted my self in a corner lol but I have a bulk head running in the center of my open kitchen dining room and across the kitchen counters, I painted royal blue, and painted the sides of the bulk head blue…but the bottom ( side facing floor ) is still white and I can't bring myself to paint it blue, I hate the look now but don't think I'll like blue either…..should I double back and go neutral? So lost which I could add a picture lol

  7. Jenny Choy says:

    Very clever and practical advice. Thanks 👍

  8. Any ideas on a bulkhead that cut through the middle of the room?

  9. I love your shows I don't know if you're going to see this but my kitchen has bulkheads on one side and it doesn't have a ending point it goes from one room to another, I was interested in just removing the plaster Etc around the bulkheads and possibly relocating any type of heating and cooling inside of a top shelf of a cabinet, was my initial design but sister is not a ending point in that room kitchen that is do you have any suggestions for example one bulkhead goes from the kitchen over a doorway into the family room. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated thank you

  10. Lo Andbehold says:

    I love your ideas, but my kitchen is vaulted and I have a big 14" tall x 14" deep soffit running all along my cabinets. It also hangs out 2" from the cabinets. The worst part is the area of space is 6" between the cabinets and the ceiling due to the high vaulted ceilings. There is no way to remove them due to mechanical issues. Would love to figure this design dilemma out!

  11. I Gomillion says:

    Terminology is different where I’m from. Those are called soffits, a bulkhead is an exterior attachment that allows access to the basement. Usually you open the bulkhead doors and walk down a set of concrete stairs.

  12. S Molina says:

    What about an electrical panel on a wall in the middle of the kitchen? We just bought a condo with an annoying wall in the kitchen.

  13. How to design a bulkhead around
    A/C 100mm off the ceiling in the middle of lounge wall ? Thk you

  14. Interresting ideas of featuring bulkheads.

  15. Great ideas! Who’d a thought.

  16. You are brilliant! These ideas are wonderful.

  17. I sure wish that was my only issue. I have very old beams from 1810 the are pretty darn big going across my cathedral ceiling and because the area I can only have cabinets against a wall, and to boot, they can only be 24inch long. Also above beams is the ceiling that continues and theres an upper room. Lots of character for sure.

  18. Aunt Bee says:

    I’m purchasing a condo with a big box ceiling that covers the whole kitchen. I was hoping to remove it to give the ceiling the same height as the rest of the home and make my kitchen look more open. Is that doable?

  19. Cassandra says:

    Awesome tips. You suddenly gave me hope in transforming our large kitchen with a bulkhead to look fabulous.

  20. Linda Miller says:

    Hello! I’m looking for a good closet design for that typical “stair-step” closet….double sliding doors and off to the right are large platforms that go up to the ceiling…..this space is over a stairwell. Any good suggestions or design ideas for this awkward, wasted space?

  21. I like the dark grill look, gives a nice industrial look. Thanks for the video!

  22. Celia Hayton says:

    Thanks for the great videos. I have narrow rooms with low ceilings and exposed beams. Any chance of doing a video on dealing with beams? Thanks!

  23. these ideas were genius! Thank you☺

  24. Clark Selby says:

    Do you have lighting suggestions that will work with this bulkhead: ? What if I added a LED strip supported by a horizontal 1 inch wide platform that would extend from the bottom corner of the bulkhead and ran the length of the bulkhead? The LED light would shine up to the ceiling and a little L shape of the platform would prevent the LED strip from being visible to the eye. Another idea would be to run an LED strip on the bottom of the bulkhead (6 inches from the wall) and add a 1 inch wooden strip for the LED to hide behind. I'd try to balance the lighting by adding scones to the opposite wall. Many thanks!

  25. Is it possible to hang a shelf on the outside of a bulkhead/soffit? What would be the estimated weight that it can hold if it has HVAC behind the soffit/bulkhead? Thank you!

  26. I am Annety says:

    My bulkhead is a massive box above the stair and right under the box room making the room smaller and. This ideas are not suitable for us who live in the UK.

  27. Natalie Boo says:

    How do decorate the bulkhead in my bedroom. The bulkheads are not on the ceiling, but on the 1st floor's bedroom floor.

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