Sunday, March 15, 2009

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

So much has happened in the last week. We have been planning a major remodel and it finally got started. The main thing we wanted to accomplish was to remove a weight bearing wall that separates the living room from the oversized entryway to open up the living room. Of course, one thing leads to another and all kinds of other stuff got added to the project - moving the front door into the new, smaller, entry area; moving the walls of the laundry and pantry area to make them bigger; adding some windows; and re-doing the kitchen.

We have done some remodelling work ourselves but this project was too massive for us to tackle. We originally thought we'd do the kitchen part ourselves but in the end, we just decided to have a contractor do it. The first contractor was only able to do part of the work, so we have two contractors lined up to do the job. So far, it's all been great. People have been recommending other people for various jobs and it turns out that most of them are people we know through our business. They are all a great bunch and I have never ever felt so good about a remodel before.

Anyway, the first step was to get the weight bearing wall out. To do this, they have to prop up each and every rafter in the living room and entry and then take the wall out. Then a giant beam gets installed, which is supported by a post on one end and the masonry of the fireplace on the other. Here are the various stages. First, a shot down the hallway - the kitchen is behind the first doorway on the right, it overlooks the living room, which is at the back right, and the entry area is an oversized waste of space (which you can't see) to the left of the doorway-

Here's the view from the kitchen. Pony wall which was in back of stove is now even lower, we have mocked up hanging shelves to see how we like them (we do), and we have mocked up a bar in front of the stove. Weight bearing wall is straight ahead. Wall with fireplace is just offscreen to the right.

In this shot, which is from approximately the same point of view, the wall panels have been removed from the weight bearing wall but the structural support is still there. You can now see into the entryway and the laundry area.

And finally, this is how it looks now! The wall is gone and the posts are in place holding up the rafters and roof. The entryway and living area are now one big space. They'll eventually be separated again - probably not with a wall but with something more impermanent, like a big bookcase that functions as a room divider but can be moved if the need arises. A wall around the old laundry area, pantry, and hall closet are now gone. The door will get moved into the new entry space - it'll be moved over to about where those windows are behind that post. And trapezoidal windows will be installed on that wall as well.

Finally, here's a picture of the removal of the wall by the kitchen - that doorway into the kitchen from the hallway is gone. The stove and counter will go back where it was but it will be on an island (that crooked pipe was in what was the pony wall and the hallway wall. It is a vent pipe for a washer and dryer that apparently were in the kitchen at one time. We will remove all that, there is no need for it.) The stove has been moved to where the refrigerator was for the time being to get it out of the way.

The glue-lam beam will be installed in the next few days and then all the support posts can come out. Will keep you posted!


Scott and Lara said...

Great remodel! Love the openess of the great room. Also, I never knew there was such a thing as "mid century modern"! Our house was built in '69. Would it be mid century modern or would it be pre-later century, post prairie, Frank Lloyd Wright? OK, maybe it is just a cabin!

Have fun with the redux.

Scott and Lara

baz_mcm said...

You've certainly been busy. Structural wall removal is not for the feint of heart. What's your time line to be back to "normal"?

Dig the idea of hanging cabinet. Here's a picture I took:

I like the suspended look.