Images and text by Gabrielle.
It’s been almost a month since I’ve shared a post about The Treehouse, but I have a fun little update today. We took down a wall!
And it changed everything in the best possible way.
Between the kitchen at the living room, there was a 3-quarter wall. I have nothing against 3-quarter walls in general, but I was glad to say goodbye to this one in particular. Although the kitchen was definitely functional and had plentiful storage, being in the kitchen was really isolating. Instead of chatting with the kids while they set the table and I stirred the bolognese, I would find myself in there alone while all the good conversations were happening on the other side of the wall — in the living room and dining area.
And the same thing happened during cleanup. Instead of family dance parties, dish duties because a solo event. No fun at all.
We originally planned to live with it until we were ready for a kitchen remodel — we were aiming for next summer. But after only a few weeks, we could already see this layout was affecting our family dynamic in a negative way. So that wall had to go!
Since it was a 3-quarter wall, we knew it wasn’t load bearing, so we felt confident tackling it ourselves. One night, after the kids had gone to bed, we just went for it! We emptied out the cupboards (there were so many, that luckily, they were only half full), and moved the fridge to an opposite corner. Then we took down the cabinets and starting taking the wall apart until the work was too loud for the late night.
The next day, we finished the loud work with hammers and drills, and hauled everything out. We swept up and surveyed the new space.
Yes, it’s a bit of a construction zone, with things like exposed wiring and an uncovered vent. And yes, we have more subfloor to deal with. But from the very first evening, the family dynamic improved! We could have conversations again. And work together more easily!
It was a major reminder to me of how much design affects us. Things like a misplaced wall can change relationships in a very real way. Kind of crazy to think about.
The layout on the main floor is now very open. It’s one big space with kitchen, living room, and dining area all sharing the windows and light. We love it!
So what’s next? Here are our current plans: 1) Add hardwood where needed (see my P.S. below for a progress report), and paint that pillar. Currently, the pillar has no less than 5 different surfaces — it’s a historical record of the house!
2) Add a free standing counter-height table/storage piece where the wall was, on either side of the pillar — where the folding table sits now, but longer. On the kitchen side, it will have drawers and storage shelves. On the living room side will be space for barstools. We still want to completely redo the kitchen, but we think this will be a good mid-step to keep the kitchen functional while we make plans and work on a project budget.
3) We want to add a wall that follows the ceiling beam between the kitchen and laundry area. This will create a separate mudroom/laundry room with an outside door, and another door into the kitchen, but will still keep the public spaces open to each other. This means the range will need to be moved.
4) Ultimately, we want to redo the kitchen entirely and have it wrap around the corner under the the second window, with a counter between the kitchen and living room. This means finding new places for the appliances, and we’re thinking about saying goodbye to the upper cabinetry as well. We’ll see. It will be fun to plan and sketch out our options!
Tell me, Friends. Have you ever taken out a wall before? There is definitely something satisfying about taking a hammer to drywall! I’d love to hear your stories.
P.S. — Remember the floor situation? Well good news! We’ve got some real progress happening. As I type, hardwood is being installed in 4 areas to match the existing wood — in the dining area, in the space where the 3-quarter wall was, in the long hallway, and in the entry (replacing the existing entry tile). This means all the public areas on the main floor will now be wood. Hooray! I’m sharing the progress on Instagram if you’d like to follow along.