After a month o f living with our dining room and kitchen wall down, we loved the open feel. We didn’t love the fact that we still had holes in the floor, wall and ceiling from where the wall had stood, but we felt stuck until we could figure out what to do with the wall between the kitchen and living room.
We knew we wanted that second wall down to open up the family room to the kitchen. But we had a few concerns: Is it a load bearing wall? Will it require a header to support the roof? A wood header will require a column in the middle of the space and a steel header will be expensive. That wall also housed the refrigerator and pantry. So if I remove my pantry, where do I store my food? If we move the refrigerator, we have to move a water line.
So many questions, but the most important thing to figure out was whether this wall was actually load bearing. We didn’t have money for an engineer, which was holding us up. From what we could tell looking at the roof structure over the dining room and living room where there was no wall or header, we didn’t believe that the wall between the kitchen and living room was load bearing. But we weren’t sure.
We soon discovered that we had three engineers in our church. One works on bridges, one works on buildings and the other doesn’t work in the field anymore. We invited each to come take a look at our roof structure. They each climbed up into the attic and did whatever engineers do, and came back with a consensus: not loadbearing!
I realize that having three engineers look at the house might be overkill. But my husband and I are true DIYers with no formal training in any of this. We figured since they were all willing to volunteer their time and we really didn’t want our house to collapse, we would use extra precaution and have three assessments.
Once we had the go-ahead from the third engineer, we waited until our toddler was in bed and that night we began to tear down the wall. It’s amazing what our kid can sleep through.
We moved the refrigerator to the opposite wall and put it front of the sliding glass door, using an extension cord from the dining room. We turned off the water line to the refrigerator and decided to deal with that later. The pantry was emptied and the hammers went flying as we tore down the drywall and removed the studs.
The wall had a light switch that operated an outlet. We removed the switch and decided to move the outlet to the hallway. As I mentioned in a previous post, most of our electrical wiring comes from the ceiling, but for whatever reason, the wiring for this outlet was coming up through the floor. To move it to the hallway, we had to open up the ceiling in the basement and move the wires over.
As for the dining room light switch that had been relocated after we tore down the first wall, this had to be re-wired and moved into the kitchen. It was the only place that made sense for the light switch since we no longer had any interior walls in the dining room. This required hubby climbing into the attic and pulling the old wiring from the light to the switch and installing new longer wire.
We ended the evening with the walls down, but again, the floors are a mess with holes between the kitchen tile and living room carpet where the walls once stood.