Hi Jake. My husband and I are considering opening up the soffits in our kitchen and keeping our existing cabinets. We'd like to use the open space for additional storage. We're contemplating putting in glass doors to enclose the area instead of leaving a completely open area. Have you seen this before? Can it easily be done?
Yes, I have seen this done. We have a kitchen remodel client that collected beer steins and wanted a way to display them. The upper portion of the wall cabinets (the area that is typically a soffit) had glass doors on them. We added “puck” lights in each cabinet to highlight the steins. Check out this web site: http://www.bellacor.com/under-cabinet-lighting.htm. It has a lot of different options for under-cabinet and in-cabinet lighting.
For the second part of your question, “can it be easily done?” -- I think it needs to be done by someone that has carpentry skills at “cabinet making” or better. Basically, you will be installing new cabinets above the existing ones. This will require some pretty good carpentry skills. If you or your husband posses such skills, go for it. If not, hire someone that does. Good luck!