Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hole In The Wall

I want to knock a hole in my wall.  I don't remember when I first realized that the wall needed (in fact, was begging for) a hole....but I think I figured it couldn't have been too long after I moved in.  The house has a pretty traditional 1950s floor plan (which means, for the most part, every room has its own separate and distinct purpose) with the exception of the fact that it's missing a dining room.  Here's my original excel-based floor plan for the place:

Of course, the furniture isn't exactly like that now, so ignore that part.  The key piece here is that stretch of wall from the left side of the kitchen doorway back to the wall where the stairwell is.  That's where the hole needs to go.  Opening up that 49"x42" space will flood the kitchen with light from the bay window on the front of the house, open up diagonal views between the two rooms, move the "eat in" peninsula out of the way of the back door and put it conveniently in the living room, and increase the size of the walkway into the kitchen (all of which will make the kitchen feel about 100x less claustrophobic).  It is, by my estimation, exactly what the house needs to take it from 1950s layout to "open floor plan."

I've had this idea for several years now, but over the last few months, it's gone from idea to need....  While Reid was here a few weeks ago, I actually moved the living room furniture around a little bit and plotted out the space so I could get a better feel for it.  



Yes.  That's a piece of cardboard as a stand-in for the would-be breakfast bar (genius, eh?).  I felt like I needed to get a good sense of the traffic flow with the hole to make sure it wouldn't be too congested.  It turns out that it's quite the opposite!  There's actually MORE room in the walkways...and I think the traffic patterns will work even with the barstools in use.  Yay!

On the kitchen side, there's not much to accommodate...just a big stretch of wall that needs to go away:

See the edge of the bay window just barely visible through the doorway?  Imagine all that light coming into the room through the hole.  Glorious!!

My problem, as always, is patience.  I'm ready to get moving.  I want to take out the drywall and peer through the studs for awhile.  I'm trying to coordinate the handy people in my life to come help out with the construction bits, but that's going to take some time.  Still....I could probably live with stud views as the next logical interim step...and I've got it in my head that I could probably do the demo part myself. The only thing keeping me from just jumping in and starting is the fact that I know it's going to be a HUGE mess.  And also that I don't currently have a reciprocating saw (which would make the task a lot easier).  

Next weekend, however, is a long weekend...which means I may well be in trouble (if I find a bunch of plastic sheeting and a reciprocating saw between now and then....)


Jason said...

Since that wall's in the center of your house, you may also want to have a contractor check that it isn't load-bearing. You may be taking out so little that it wouldn't matter, but it's worth checking out.

(Sometime, somewhere in the past of our house, a previous owner removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room. I love the open-ness of it, but I don't love that they had to replace the wall with a massive steel I-beam that necessitated a dropped ceiling instead of the 10' ceilings in the rest of the first floor!)

MonkeyMom said...

It's totally load bearing. We've already got the header size figured out to redistribute the weight...just in case. And that is exactly why, if I take on anything myself, it will only be the cosmetic stuff...the studs stay til the people who are smart about this stuff show up :)

Chris Paulsen said...

Be careful when removing the drywall to avoid the electrical feed running down the stud. Reciprocating saws can be fun but are easy to get carried away with.