My newest idea for the new house is to lower the wall in between the kitchen and living room about two feet. So it'll look kind of like this:
I think it'll help with light and air flow and make it feel a little more open???? We'll have 9 foot ceilings so two feet down should be alright. We have 9 ft ceilings in our current house and there is a soffet that runs above one side of our kitchen right now. It still gives a little room above the cabinets for me to set stuff on top of them.