Taking out walls to open up a space is something I get asked about a lot! Especially in older homes where there may be a separate room for the family room, another room for the kitchen, and another room for the eating area. Wanting an open concept is very popular but one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nothing worse than taking out a wall (without any checking) and finding out it’s a load bearing wall (and yes – I was in a home where the owners did just that – YIKES)!
I am currently working in a home where I have started the design process and there is a wall that may be coming out OR may be partially coming out. For this project, it is a DIY (Do It Yourself) project so absolutley everything I can think of needs to go into these plans. So for now, I’m creating 2 plans.
Taking Out Walls During a Renovation: Why?
As you may know, my design style is to work solely on function first. So that is the first goal. What will be the end result of removing a wall?
- It will really open up the space.
- It will allow more natural light to come shining through.
- It will allow a clear sight line from the front to the back of the home.
Here is what the home currently looks like.
Taking Out Walls During a Renovation: Option 1
The preferred plan is to remove both of those walls. In order to do that, my clients are going to need to have a structural engineer come in to ensure it can be done (and it’s looking like they are not structural however only a professional will be able to determine that). They will also need that piece of paper to get their building permit!
If the walls can be removed it will be GREAT news. That being said, there are some things that I need to take into consideration with the plan that I have come up with.
- To keep in line with the budget for this renovation, I’m trying my hardest not to move the water lines for the sink and dishwasher. Knowing that, I have placed the sink and dishwasher where the plumbing currently exists.
- I’m also trying to work around the existing placement of the hood fan. The choice is: move the location of the current hood fan (can you hear the dollar signs?) or keep the existing location and work around an island hood fan. The more cost effective choice: get the island hood fan.
- In addition, I’m trying to work around the electrical as well. The cold air return and heating vents are in one of the walls (which I’ve managed to keep in the pony wall of the new island).
Here is my first draft taking all of the above into consideration:
For my renderings, I use a computer program to design the space so that I can show my clients the renderings of their space (as you see above). My clients LOVE seeing the potential of their space as well as where their renovation dollars will be spent.
Taking Out Walls During a Renovation: Option 2
As a structural engineer has not visited the home yet, I have to be proactive and design a plan that will involve structures in case that is the direction we have to go. Again, I’m trying to keep the construction costs down so I’m leaving the sink, dishwasher and stove in the same spots as they currently are, yet finding a way to still open up the space. Here is what Option 2 is starting to look like (as I write this I am not fully done this plan):
Taking Out Walls During a Renovation: Next Step
I’m going to be presenting these 2 design ideas to my clients and go over, in depth, why I have placed certain things in certain areas. When I present these designs, we are still in what I call the ‘conceptual phase‘. What does that mean? That means I am not ready to hand these plans over as a finished product. Once we know if the wall can come down or not, and a design plan has been chosen, then we will start going through each cabinet (one by one) to ensure all of the organizational systems are in place and each cabinet if fully functional. We will make tweaks and changes to anything that needs to be. When all of those changes are made, THEN I’ll be able to happily hand the design plans off to my clients so they can get to work!
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