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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Open Up The Kitchen Please!

Sometimes the biggest changes to your home aren't the most expensive. For example, you could spend $10k remodeling your kitchen and upgrade everything and still feel cramped in a small room. For these homeowners in the Brentwood area, their budget was much lower, but the change was remarkable.

The split-level home was built with a kitchen wall that divided the kitchen from the living room. The problem was that the wall seemed to 'stick out' and make the rooms feel too divided. The homeowners also wanted more room for setting up a large dining room table for family gatherings. The solution was to remove part of the wall.

Unlike a couple of my other recent projects, this wall was load-bearing, supporting the ceiling joists from the two adjacent rooms. This meant that I would have to carefully build temporary walls along each side before tearing out the old framing and putting in a beefy 2x10 header. The header would extend all the way across the space to the outside wall. To save a little money, we decided to leave the header exposed and covered with drywall than to cut out ceiling joists and conceal it in the ceiling.

There was very little trim to do because I finished all the edges with drywall, however, I did make a small shelf for the serving window out of nice piece of 1x6 poplar. I notched the ends so that the board would seem to extend wider than the opening and give the effect of a window sill.

After removing around 32" of the wall, there was a little bit of hardwood flooring to patch in. It's always tricky to match the color of 50 year old hardwood floors perfectly, but this one seemed to blend in well with a coat of "natural" stain on some red oak.

The change made an incredible difference in this kitchen which now seems more integrated into the living room and ready for family!


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