Out of all the changes that we have made to our home, opening up the kitchen wall to the living room was the best decision for us. Now, it wasn’t our first choice (thank you Hurricane Harvey flood), but it definitely was the right choice!! We had already opened up the kitchen wall to the dining room about 5 years ago, and then shortly after we had our kitchen cabinets painted white. AND then we flooded – UGH!! So…..needless to say, this was the perfect time to Open Up the Kitchen Wall To the Living Room.
OPENING UP KITCHEN WALL TO LIVING ROOM
So, where did it all begin? From dark cabinets with 2 arches, to white cabinets, to flooded home, to open concept living area. What a journey -right???
AND YES!! I know my green lamp shades and pillows are supposed to be in the summer dining room – but we have our Easter Tablescape set up right now. So, the green decor got a new home for a couple of months. What do you think – do you like it?
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OPENING UP KITCHEN WALL TO LIVING ROOM
PROBLEMS WITH KITCHEN LAYOUT:
So, just like our kitchen wall to the dining room, we had similar problems with the kitchen walls to the living room.
- PROBLEM #1: Walls Blocked Natural Light
- PROBLEM #2: Limited Traffic Flow Into Kitchen
- PROBLEM #3: Limited Number of Guests for Entertaining
- PROBLEM #4: Angled Room
PROBLEM #1: Walls Blocked Natural Light
You can see from the pictures below, that both of the arched walls block off the natural light coming in from the kitchen. And since both of these walls provided some sort of function, we had to figure out what we could live without more.
The raised bar top provided extra counter top space, extra cabinet storage, and extra seating for guests. The built-in bookshelf provided a mini “mudroom” space to store backpacks, shoes, and dog accessories. In the end, you just have to decide what is more important for you and your family.
We chose more light – lol!!
***These are the last pictures taken from our home before we flooded. The sheetrock is cut up to 4 feet, in case you are wondering why it looks like that.***
PROBLEM #2: Limited Traffic Flow Into Kitchen
This problem ties in a little with problem #1. The only way we could enter the kitchen (from the living room) is through the larger arched opening .
In fact, we always had to push the living room furniture (sectional) into the corner so that it wouldn’t block that entrance. You can see that it is still kind of hanging out into that opening.
On a personal note…..it does bring tears to my eyes to see our “former” living room. Home is home – ya know – no matter what it looks like? OK…..let ‘s get back to it 😉
PROBLEM #3: Limited Number Of Guests for Entertaining
The layout of our former kitchen was great for setting up a buffet-style type of party, but limited the amount of guests we could have in one area. We could put roaster ovens on the counter tops and keep hamburgers, or brisket, etc…. warm, and let our family and friends just move down the line. But the angled cabinet/counter top design caused a traffic jam because you could only serve from ONE side, and you would bump into the island.
Now don’t get me wrong, this kitchen layout definitely served it’s purpose over the years. But once open concept living started to take off in popularity, we (well – I) began to dream of a new kitchen design.
PROBLEM #4: Angled Room
In the pictures below, you can see that our kitchen/living room space is designed with this unusual angled layout. The home builder must have “bumped” this part out to enlarge the kitchen dimensions, but in doing so shrunk the living room dimensions.
This angled cabinet/counter top/ceiling structure created challenges for the living room furniture placement because the bar stools crept into the living room area.
We couldn’t put the two club chairs closer to the hall entrance (by the clock) because we had to keep the walkway to the kitchen open (back to problem #2).
REMOVAL OF CABINETS
As soon as the workers cleared out all of the lower cabinets (due to the flood), we could finally begin visualizing the space. I sketched drawings of the existing cabinets, and replaced them with 3 new cabinet layout options (so that I knew where that column would join the new island).
***NOTE*** I’ll do a separate post on kitchen cabinets – coming soon.
It is amazing to see our kitchen like this because it looks so much bigger with the cabinets out – right? Plus you can tell exactly where the cabinet bases sat, so it helped with the existing spacing needed.
We were not planning to move our plumbing or gas lines (to save money), and had to work around them when planning out the new design.
REASON WE KEPT THE ONE COLUMN & BEAMS
We decided to keep the (one) column, and do the (two) beams installation due to money – period. We were quoted ~ $5,000 for this option, but to remove both beams and support column (FULL open concept) we were quoted~$20,000 – $25,0000. HUGE difference in money!! So, yeppers – the decision was pretty easy for us!!
I also knew that I could work around the beams and column, and try to make them “disappear” as much as I could. And I haven’t regretted keeping them not once!!
***NOTE*** These prices were just what we were quoted, so it may be different in your area.
INSTALLING THE BEAMS
Now that the cabinets were out, it was time for the installation of the beams. They used these framing boards to actually hold the second floor from falling down – really!! Amaizng! In fact, the workers asked that we did not stand under the framing or too close – in case something happened. Safety first!!
Just a little FYI. The left side of the wall was not load bearing, but the right side was. So, we chose to do the left beam just like the right beam, so that they would look exactly the same.
Do you like the toilet (picture to the right)- haha!!
Picture below right – the area to the left side (the half wall) was originally going to be a pony wall that had a small bookshelf in it. Since we already had that small “mudroom” cabinet there before, I felt like we still needed something for backpacks, shoes, etc.
But once they cleared out the original framing, all I could picture was ONE large area. Plus, the pony wall columns were done incorrectly anyway (and they would have had to be redone)!! ARGHHH – the contractor STORY is a whole other post!! Trust me!!
WRAPPING BEAMS WITH WOOD
There was never a question in my mind that the beams and column would be wrapped with wood. The contractor wanted to cover the 2 support beams with sheetrock and then paint them…..and I knew that was not going to look good. So happy I stuck to my guns – right??
SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS
***Our trim, cabinets, and ceilings paint color is SW Snowbound 7004 – just a FYI***
SOLUTION #1: Let in More Natural Light
By removing both of the walls to the living room, we now get a ton of light into this entire space. We get all of the light from the kitchen breakfast area, as well from the kitchen island side.
Since our house faces west, we receive the best light in the evening through our dining room. That is why we decided to open up that wall several years ago.
SOLUTION #2: Better Traffic Flow Into Kitchen
Opening up both walls into the kitchen really helped with traffic flow from the former bar side of the kitchen. We love this entrance!! It is so much easier to go grab a snack from the pantry or grab a drink from the fridge because of this opening. Plus, now we can use all four bar stools (instead of just 2) because the tv is viewable from all angles. And if you have kiddos, you know how important this is!!
SOLUTION #3: Increased Number of Guests In Kitchen for Entertaining
Now, guests can move around to the dining room, to the kitchen breakfast nook, to the outdoor patio, and to the living room……while still feeling like they are all together. We can now serve from both sides of the L-shaped island, and also have guests sit at the island for extra seating as well. Win-Win!!
SOLUTION #4: Able to Move Furniture into Middle of Room
Now that we don’t have to worry about the angled living room, our furniture can be moved away from that corner. We still have to keep the walkway open from the foyer to the kitchen, but at least the couch is in a better central position.
So, what do ya think? Was it the right decison? Let me know!!
If you have any questions about anything, shoot me a comment. I’d love to help with anything I can!
Have an Awesome Weekend!!
Love & Hugs 🙂
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