Tearing Out Walls: Chip Gaines Makes it Look Easy
Once we'd decided that we would take on a "fixer upper", I immediately envisioned myself taking a hammer or ax to the walls that we would want to remove. Heck, maybe I would even try to remove the wall by running through it. That's how it's done on tv right? Wrong. Our "new" house was built in 1980 and the number of updates that had been done prior to our name being added to the Deed was mostly superficial. The master bathroom had been redone and at some point, the carpeting had been replaced. What was still intact was the dark stain, original dark oak-ey cabinetry, some chopped up rooms, and wall to wall wallpaper that I eventually discovered underneath a few layers of paint. ARGH!!!
Tearing Out Walls: Decision Made
When we first looked at the house (before making the deal) we couldn't figure out how the floor plan would work for us. The 1980's style left behind walls in places that didn't really work for the modern family. Off the kitchen were two rooms: a formal dining and a formal living room; both of odd proportions. This really had us scratching our heads and almost had us completely turned away. What were we supposed to put in these rooms?! Thankfully, in the nick of time, our contractor showed us the load bearing walls could be removed as long as we came up with a way to support the weight. Done and done.
No, the eat-in dining room is not curved, I just took a really lousy panoramic photo. You get the jist, right? Prior to the walls being removed, the cabinets were removed and moved to the garage where they were later sold. I had all intentions of keeping this old-timey kitchen and refacing the doors, but the husband wasn't having it. So, the plan changed to having a new kitchen made since we were already planning to remove the entire wall behind the cabinets in this photo as well as the soffits above the existing cabinets. Once I realized how much we were changing in the kitchen, it really didn't make sense to keep the only few cabinets left. I don't miss them now that they're gone.
Tearing Out Walls: The Before
Before the walls were removed, (clearly, I'd already ripped out the carpets and removed the baseboards) you can see how the design of the home left no room for open concept. If you were making dinner you'd be totally isolated from your guests anywhere else in the house. Same with the formal living room and the formal dining room. You can see the eat-in dining room is on the other side of that pony partition and the blue wall is all kitchen cabinetry on the opposite side. This was the day these walls started to come down. My contractor said, "Start taking pictures. This is about to look completely different." Because of the wall running through the middle of the room (where you see my contractor's wife working---shes amazing) being load bearing, I stood by as a happy spectator for this project. As much as I wanted to show everyone my roundhouse kick, it didn't seem like the time and place during this heavy duty demo.
Ta-da! Seeing the sheetrock removed was so exciting. I could finally see the outcome of how the house would flow once the renovations were complete. Before, standing at this vantage point (the front door) you couldn't see anything but walls and one really long room. Now the space looked huge and had so much potential. So much more room for activities!
I was so thankful to have professional help on this one. I'd felt so proud of myself for removing the carpets and tile and for tackling painting the entire main floor, but this was not a project to be taken lightly where disastrous errors could be made. Once these walls were down to studs, electricians arrived to move outlets, light switches, and install more lighting (I love bright, bright, bright and 42 more LED Daylight can lights were added throughout the main floor...excessive much?)! While the electricians did their work, the rustic barn beams that I'd found to replace the walls were clean and prepped. A couple weeks passed before the beams started to go up, but here is a preview of what I had to work with: