Creating an Open Floor Plan

1 Apr

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.

living room wall removed

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.

photo 2-8

photo 1-10

Look at that smile…photo 4-4Next came special made brackets and putting the posts into place. Finally, they took the temporary walls down and it was done!

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:IMG_2821The 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:


From the front door:IMG_2802

We also rearranged the furniture in the living room so the 3-seater couch faces the TV and fireplace. So much better! IMG_2800

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.

12 Responses to “Creating an Open Floor Plan”

  1. sue April 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Totally addicted to your blog! Just found you today through pintrest and love your updates…and your taste. We remodeled our small galley kitchen in our small townhome a few years ago and this inspires me that we can totally find an old home and make it our own. Your work is amazing!

    • 12oaksblog April 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Yay thanks Sue! So glad you found us. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease can do huh?

  2. onthistrail April 5, 2013 at 1:45 am #

    Wow – it looks great! Totally opens up the space and makes it look like a whole new house. Fantastic job!

    • 12oaksblog April 5, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks! It was a big undertaking but totally worth it.

  3. Angie April 8, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    I love the tree art in the dining room!! The wood frame is perfect. Can you tell me where you got it or how you made it?? Thank you!!

    • 12oaksblog April 8, 2013 at 7:54 am #

      We made it ourselves out of rough sawn cedar in 2x6s. Hope that helps!

  4. Brynn April 11, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I love all of your paint colors…could you list them? Also, in your dining room, did you just paint it white under the chair-rail? I have a chair rail my dining room, and I want to do something similar to brighten things up. Beautiful changes you both have made to the house!

    • 12oaksblog April 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks Brynn! Yes, in the dining room we painted under the chair rail white (we plan to add shadow box molding too). Below is a full list of our paint colors. Thanks for stopping by!

      Living room- Sherwin Williams Analytical Gray
      Dining room- Behr Cliff Rock
      Kitchen- Benjamin Moore Crisp Khacki
      Den- Behr Wheat Bread
      Hallway- Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige
      Upstairs guest bathroom- Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
      Master bed and bath- Benjamin Moore Metropolitan
      Spare bed #1- Glidden Soft Suede
      Spare bed #2- Benjamin Moore Mineral Alloy (lightened a bit)
      Office- Benjamin Moore Dry Sage

  5. whitney April 21, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I just found your blog via Pinterest and your bathroom redo. I love your work!!! Inspiring stuff!!!


  1. 6 Month Progress Report | 12 Oaks - April 26, 2013

    […] paint (Analytical Gray by Sherwin Williams), the major change in here is the wall removed. Next in here will be finishing the support beam and putting lights in the ceiling. Down the road […]

  2. “The best money I’ve ever spent” | 12 Oaks - May 21, 2013

    […] had been eyeing getting a Sonos system for a while, so when we had the ceilings open after we took out the wall, it was the perfect time to get it installed. Ben became friends with one of his subcontractors, […]

  3. DIY Reclaimed Barn Wood Beams | 12 Oaks - July 8, 2013

    […] on to today’s project. If you are new here, we removed the wall between our kitchen and living room. Because it was a structural wall, we had to install a 1,200 pound, 26 foot long, 8.5″ wide and […]

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