Time to show you how we took down the main structural wall separating our living room and kitchen to create an open floor plan. I’ll preface this by saying, “Don’t try this at home.” My husband Ben is a professional contractor. We also consulted a structural engineer who told us what was needed to support the house.
The engineer told us if we wanted to remove the wall we either needed a column (boo) or a header. We went with a header which had to be 26 foot long, 8.5″ wide and 18″ deep. It’s massive. A whopping 1,200 pounds. Which isn’t a big problem for new construction, but getting it into an existing house was quite the feat.
Luckily, Ben had the help of his friend Lee (we owe you, man!) Ben and Lee used the bobcat to lift it onto furniture dollies, and then used ramps to get it into the house. Next, they built walls on both sides of the existing wall that was to be removed.
The walls would take the weight of the house once the existing structural wall was gone. They covered the new walls with plastic to protect the rest of the house from dust. Then demo began.
To get the mammoth header into place, they used jacks and a block and tackle to slowly inch it upwards to the ceiling.
After that, Ben patched the holes in the floor where the wall was. We also had the HVAC guy come out to re-route the ducts that were once in the wall.
So without further ado, here are some after pictures. It still looks crazy because there are holes in the ceiling, the posts and beam are bare, and the floors don’t match. Plus the kitchen isn’t remodeled. But you get the idea…
This is the view from the stairs:The buffet we have there represents where the future island/peninsula will be. So image it twice as deep with stools and pendant lights above. Plus we decided to make it 2-tier so you can’t look right into the kitchen
at your dirty dishes from the couch.
Here’s the view from inside the kitchen:
The next step is covering the beam in barn wood and creating some fake beams to go perpendicular to it in the living room. Plus adding can lights to them since there are no overheard lights in there. Then drywall. We also want to overhaul the built ins around the fireplace so they are cabinets on the bottom and then shelves extending to the ceiling.
Savvy readers may also have noticed the new French doors in the dining room. I’ll be back with another post on those next.
What do you think? Aren’t Ben and Lee amazing? Can you envision it all finished with a beautiful open kitchen? We can, and seriously can’t wait.