One of the first projects we tackled upon moving in was removing the half wall and spindles that separated the kitchen and breakfast nook from the living room.
We knew removing the half wall would allow the light from the sliding glass door in the kitchen to better flow into the living room. Plus, we did not care for the look of the half wall because we felt it made the kitchen feel very closed off and small. We did have a structural engineer assess the wall to ensure the spindles were not load bearing. We were pretty sure they weren’t, but it’s always better to be safe! Luckily we were in the clear.
Even removing just the spindles made a huge difference! We loved it right away.
Just like that it was gone! Really, the demo was very easy. Or I should say it looked easy because I only knocked out one of the spindles and the guys took it from there. We did have to remove an electrical outlet that would no longer be accessible once the half wall was removed. We made sure to switch off the breaker before doing any electrical work.
My dad was there to help us since we had zero experience in demo or reframing a doorway. When we took out the wall we had to remove all of the existing molding surrounding the doorway because we widened the doorway a tiny bit and the piece of wood along to top of the doorway was damaged from removing the spindles. We were able to reinstall molding around the doorway with my dad’s help.
As we were removing parts of the wall we noticed the paint in the kitchen was peeling off the wall. It turns out our kitchen (and upon later inspection every other room in our house beside the living room) is covered with wall paper that has been painted over. It was a sad realization because now we have to remove all of the remaining painted over wall paper in the kitchen as once it started peeling it was clear the rest of it would slowly peel over time. After talking with a couple painters we found that it is often an easier solution to paint over the wall paper rather than removing the wall paper. Say what?!? I didn’t even know this was something you could do! Now we have to add wall paper removal to our list among the other hundred items. Oh joy.
It took us longer to reframe the living room side of the doorway because we had to match the existing molding on the paneling and ensure it mirrored the other panels since we knew we were keeping the paneling. We took pieces of the existing molding to the hardware store to ensure we bought the correct molding. We were able to match it exactly with no problem. We also had to patch some nail holes on pieces of molding we had removed during the demo to ensure they didn’t get damaged.
The doorway in it’s current state. Such a difference! We LOVE the new look. It’s amazing how a relatively small project can make such a big impact. You can see we have already painted the trim on the doorway and the paneling in the living room… and we installed new light fixtures in the kitchen!! Happy day. This was step 2 of the project, which I’ll be posting about soon. Don’t mind the current state of our house, we are in the midst of what feels like 150 different projects at once. That’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.
I have learned (as many people warned us) living in your home while renovating it is not ideal, but we are making it work and trying to enjoy each step of the process. I had a timeline in mind of how long projects would take and was focused on how quickly we could get from point A (current state) to point B (renovated). The reality hit quickly after we moved in. Projects take way longer than you anticipate, even small ones like removing this half wall. Things often don’t go as planned and that is okay. I have to keep reminding myself of this because I tend to be impatient. Let’s just say this the whole renovation process is teaching me some valuable life lessons. I am learning to enjoy things as is, live in the moment, and cherish our new home we love so much, even in it’s current state.
Next up on the project list: finish removing wall paper and painting, fix the tile in the kitchen/living room doorway (see the nice piece of trim wood we are using as a temporary fix where the half wall used to be), and get new flooring installed! I am.so.excited for new flooring. We are keeping the tile in the kitchen for now, but our poor old carpet is on its last leg. On the bright side we are happy to be able to tackle a lot of our messy projects before getting new flooring.