Tag Archives: living room

Living Room Built Ins: Plans & Progress

19 Oct

We’ve made some great progress on the living room built ins, so here is an update.

Here’s a look at the fireplace and built ins before we started:

They weren’t terrible by any means, but we wanted them to be more updated and functional. The plan was to do lower cabinets and then shelves up to the ceiling, sort of like this:

We also decided to do drawers above the cabinets like this for even more functional storage:


Here was our inspiration for the fireplace surround and planking above the fireplace, which we also decided to continue behind the upper shelves.


If you follow us on Instagram you saw photos of Ben ripping everything out. Here was our blank slate (leaving the TV, of course):


While it was open Ben installed new electrical outlets, a switch for the gas fireplace, and a chase for TV cords so all cords will be hidden.


Full disclosure, we decided to hire out the building of the built ins to Ben’s cabinetmaker at work. 2-3 guys have spent 4 whole days on it so far, so I’m glad we did.

On the first day they built the cabinet bases and fireplace surround:


And then the upper boxes and planking:


And then here’s the latest with the shelves, counter and mantle:


Ben also ripped out the ugly tile hearth which we are going to replace with a piece of black granite.


For the fireplace, we are going to cover the pink-ish brick with this gray-ish stacked stone from Tile Shop:


Next up will be the doors and trim, installing the stone and hearth, and then painting everything. It will all go a crisp, clean white called Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. Hope to have it all finished in the next few weeks!

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.