Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kitchen Details- Tearing Down Walls

When discussing the layout for the new kitchen, the one thing that we knew that we wanted to do was open up the kitchen into the other two adjacent rooms (the dining room and the den).  The current opening into the dining room, as seen below, was very small and did not really fit into the whole "flow" thing that we were going for.

Existing opening from dining room to kitchen.

In order to make the opening wider, though, the existing pantry would need to be removed, which would mean even more of a lack of storage space.  So, onto tearing down another wall to make space for a new pantry.  See the wall that Rachel (my niece) is drawing on?  That wall, and her beautiful dragon art was headed for the trash (Sorry Rachel!).  Behind this wall was some duct work that was easily moved (there was a minor mishap with my dad's finger, but who needs all ten fingers to play the guitar anyways?  moving on...) and voila!  Our new HUGE pantry space was created!  Such an easy fix for a space that was being used for absolutely NOTHING!  We are actually noticing that a lot in this home.  The builder took some shortcuts in order to not have to buy custom cabinets, showers, etc. which is pretty common in the spec home building industry.  If there is a "dead space" in question, take a hammer, punch a few holes through the drywall and take a peak.  You may be surprised at what you find (or don't find!). 

Empty Wall on Left of Fridge and Old Pantry on Right of Fridge.  The little person is Rachel, my niece, finally given permission to write on the walls!
Opening to dining room opened up, old pantry removed, and dead space wall removed to make way for our new pantry space.
Hello new pantry!  I LOVE how big and spacious you are!
Taking out those two walls made all of the difference in the new kitchen.  The larger opening into the dining room (doesn't that look nice?) really helped with the "flow" idea that we had and taking out the old pantry made space for more countertop space (which was severely lacking) and some more cabinet/drawer space.  More on that later!  For now, let's demo a couple more walls.

The existing kitchen had a wall separating the view from the kitchen into the den.  The den is where we know most of our time will be spent so we wanted to make sure that the "flow" was interrupted by some silly little wall.  It was really important to me to be able to be in the kitchen and still have my eyes on whomever was in the den, and to still be able to watch Real Housewives while being a real housewife.

Divider wall on the right, separating the kitchen from the den.

There was also a "drop down" on the ceiling that we really wanted to open up in order to make the room feel larger, and again, help with not blocking the view to the Den.  When we removed the drywall on the divider wall and the header drywall, we found a little surprise!  Oops!  We did the whole hammer trick explained above to see what was lurking behind the walls, and we knew that there was some plumbing back there BUT we didn't quite realize how much was actually there.  Oh well, it is nothing that Bob the Builder, Nate, and I can't handle.

Drywall removed, and plumbing revealed.

After some unpleasant smells and experiences (remember, this plumbing is from both of the bathrooms upstairs) the plumbing was moved back and we were able to open up the space.  This kind of a project should not be a DIY project.  Nate and I would have never tackled this had Bob, a licensed contractor, not been there to help us with it (and by "help", I mean do all of the work).

Woo Hoo!  We have Flow!

The last wall to come down was a small header leading into the kitchen from the front door hallway.  Again, a very simple change that really helps to open things up.

Before.  The wood header was removed to open things up.
The after photo will be posted after I actually take an after photo.  A little suspense doesn't hurt, does it?

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