Friday, July 13, 2012

And the Wall Comes Down!

We've been looking forward to this renovation since we moved in over a year ago. We finally decided to pull the trigger about a month ago after slowly saving for this renovation. Since this wall was load bearing, we decided that it was a good time to call in the pros. We brought in a few contractors and decided to go with these guys

We are really happy with the work they did and how they kept us in the loop with what was going on the whole time. We also liked the fact that they gave us two price options. One was a cost plus option where we carried the risk (he would quote us a price but if anything else came up we had to swallow the cost) and a hard cap price where he carried the risk (we agree to the quoted price and anything else that came up he paid for). We went for the hard cap price and we are glad we did since some things definitely came up, as they always do.

But before we get into that, let's start at the beginning. Our goal in this renovation was to take the wall down between the kitchen and dinning room and to poke a hole from the dinning room to the office where the black picture frame is in this picture.

The guys started by building support walls on either side of the wall to come down and removing all the trim since we want to reuse it.

Then they started taking down the plaster and lath on the kitchen side so they could get a good look at what was going on in the wall.

This was the view from the kitchen for the two day period. Needless to say, we weren't doing a lot of cooking.

Once the wall was open, we got a better idea of what was going on.

It was cool to see how they created the cove ceiling. 

It turns out that it was really good that we decided to remove this wall. It apparently wasn't initially designed to be load bearing, but when they took the wall down in the dinning room, despite the beam they put in, this wall started bearing some of the load. The ceiling joists stretch from the exterior kitchen wall all the way to the old dinning room wall, and this wall is in the middle. You can tell it wasn't intended to be bearing because there is no floor joists supporting the wall underneath. So, on each side of the wall the floor slopes downward slightly toward the wall. Basically, the wall was sinking a bit... aka not so good.

Unfortunately, this meant that there was nothing to support the posts where we wanted to stop the opening since there wasn't a foundation wall right there. It also meant that it would be really difficult to create our doorway. We went through a lot of different options with the contractors but in the end, to get what we wanted, we decided that it would be easiest and safest to take the entire wall down and put one huge beam in, supported on either side by posts down to the foundation walls.

Since we were gone for Nate's sister's wedding while they did all this, we jumped from the picture above to what you'll see next. When we got back, the huge beam (LDL or Laminated Dimensional Lumber) was in and the doorway and walls were framed out. These are a few views from the office.

It's pretty cool that we now can see from the Master all the way through to the living room.

And here was the view from the dinning room right when we got home from our trip.

And the view from the Kitchen:

We are waiting on inspections still so we can't close anything up, but we did move everything back in the rooms and cleaned, cleaned and cleaned so that we could actually use the kitchen and dinning room.

Don't get too excited about this kitchen layout it isn't the one we are planning on landing on. It is just the best one to easily access the new walls with the least amount of moving (all we need to move is the fridge if we want to gain access)

We are itching to finish up the walls but the fridge and the cabinet are helping us to get a good visual of what will be closed off and what will be open.

Overall we are loving the change but there are a few things I'm really loving. The first is that the ceilings now look so tall in the kitchen and the second is that both the kitchen and the dinning room are so much brighter since each room receives light at different times of the day. Just for fun, here is a before and after:


  1. wow that is like a whole new lovely experience happy for you what fun!!

  2. Oh boy what a difference taking down that wall made! I'm glad that you took the option you did!


  3. Great job! That made such a difference! We did the same ourselves...we still look at our opening proudly!!! XO, Aimee

    1. Thank you! We almost can't remember what it looked like before!