The Treehouse: Open Floorplan

October 30, 2013

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall  |  Design Mom

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!

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall  |  Design Mom

And it changed everything in the best possible way.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall  |  Design Mom

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.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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!

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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!

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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.

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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!

House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom House Remodel: Taking Down A Kitchen Wall   |   Design Mom

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.

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The Treehouse: Open Floorplan
October 31, 2013 at 2:24 am

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brimful October 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I’m so impressed that with everything you already juggle, you’re doing a self-guided kitchen redo! Without the wall, the space really does look great. Your house has such good bones :).

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2 Kohana October 30, 2013 at 6:59 pm

We moved many times growing up, and it never took long before my dad had the sledgehammer out and walls were coming down. “Now doesn’t that help the light come in?” he’d ask, sometimes unconcerned with minor issues like load bearing beams. To this day I desire light in a house above everything else. I love the way your newly opened space looks, and your couch!

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3 Jack October 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I love the TreeHouse, and I really love the plans you have to make it suitable for your family. I have always been an advocate of an open floor plan, especially when it comes to a home for a family. And the open space will definitely benefit from those amazing windows. Fabulous!

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4 Katie October 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

A girl after my own heart….I love the kind of chick who will rip down a wall if she doens’t like it. This has been my design philosophy in the past few fixer-uppers we have done. If I don’t like something, I figure out a way to fix that bad boy. Gotta enjoy your space right!

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5 Kelly October 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm

One of my son’s favorite memories is when he helped my husband take out a wall between our kitchen/dining/living room. It was an epic event in his four-year old life (he just did a bit of hammering – but still….: ) It really was a small wall like yours but made a huge difference in our family as well. We created a counter height bar where much of our socializing still happens. It must be so nice to be able to see out those beautiful windows now! Good decision!

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6 Brandi October 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

We took down a load bearing wall and put up a huge beam, all DIY! We were able to open up a formal living, dining, den, and kitchen into a huge open floor plan. Best improvement to our 1950′s ranch. Good luck with your renovation; seven years later and we are still at it.

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7 Liz Stanley October 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Oh my gosh I love it already! Amazing what a difference it makes

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8 Rebecca October 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

What a great improvement!
That grey couch could really do with some prettypegs! Have you seen them? Your family would completely match the yellow siri legs :)
Rebecca

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9 kalanicut October 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm

What a huge change. I can only imagine how happy you are! It’s like you can breathe again. How lovely to have the windows (and all the other space) visible to the kitchen now. Enjoy!

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10 Robyn October 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm

That settee! The one with the ‘Love is Spoken Here’ pillow. LOVE IT. Where is that from?

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11 Katie Harding October 31, 2013 at 6:27 am

Wow! What a huge difference. Looks amazing.

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12 Thelma October 31, 2013 at 7:14 am

I’ve been on a major house organizing mission, and after I spent the day in the living room, I decided I need to open up the doorways to the room. There are electrical and vent issues, so it’s going to have to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing! I really admire you guys for taking this on…and in one day! Amazing! It looks great, and really opens up the “treehouse” feel!

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13 Alice October 31, 2013 at 7:15 am

Oh Gabby those beautiful big windows are screaming ‘curtains!’ to me, especially now the winter’s coming. And with your taste I’m sure it’ll look amazing!

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14 Kathleen October 31, 2013 at 7:45 am

This post takes me back to when we first moved into our house some 19 years ago. We walked in and said, “We love it! Lets change everything!” And we’ve just about done just that, inside and out. I look forward to reading more about your plans for The Tree House!

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15 Anna October 31, 2013 at 7:49 am

Such a real difference visually, but I know just what you are talking about – how layout can impact your family in very real ways. So excited to see how the finishes come together.

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16 Kelly October 31, 2013 at 8:13 am

The Treehouse keeps getting better and better! What a difference a day makes, well done)

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17 Azra October 31, 2013 at 8:14 am

It looks great with the wall down and sure thing, it will look even better when it is all done. Can’t wait to see it.
I love how you took the wall down because it was impacting the family flow and communication. And you are right, design effects our quality of life.

We took the wall down years ago to open up a kitchen, dining and living room. It was a major work, but worthwhile. I am all for taking the walls down.

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18 Jess. October 31, 2013 at 8:54 am

When we were first married, we lived in a tomb, basically. When I go back to that neighborhood, I can still feel how miserable I was there. I’m glad for you & your family that the wall is down and the happiness is getting back up! xox

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19 Jess. October 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

Also, those paper plate cameos? Killing me! Just so, so clever.

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20 colsen@live.com October 31, 2013 at 8:59 am

Wow! I don’t even live there and I feel like the room can breath now. I like it so much better! The windows on the opposite side are fantastic. Awesome job.

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21 Amy October 31, 2013 at 9:17 am

wow. what a difference. that wall needed to come down. it’ll be great with a big fantastic island where the folding table is now. definitely the right decision. definitely

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22 Erin October 31, 2013 at 9:19 am

In our previous house, which was a little bungalow, we took down two walls. One was load bearing so we had to create support in the ceiling. What felt like a tiny home soon became much more fun and functional with all the open spaces.

I love that you have dove right into renovations! It’s fun to see and inspires me to make some changes in our current home.

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23 Amy3 October 31, 2013 at 9:30 am

I’ve never done anything similar to this, but I can see how even that small change makes a big difference in your house. I love the openness you created by removing the wall!

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24 juliagblair October 31, 2013 at 9:35 am

SOOOO impressed! Walls are falling, falling, falling/

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25 juliagblair October 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

SOOOOOO IMPRESSED!
Walls are falling
Birds are calling
We are here to stay!

Love you all!
Gr B

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26 Steph October 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Looks good! I can see the finished results in my mind and it’s FABULOUS! : ) Seriously, it’s going to be beautiful! Keep up the good work!

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27 Robin October 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Fantastic changes! It IS amazing what tearing down walls can do.

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28 heather October 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Saw your note about possibly taking out upper cabinets… I’m living in a house now that came with virtually no upper cabinets, and while it makes for a nice modern, open space, it is very challenging to find good places to stash all the stuff! We’re going to change all our lowers to drawers so that they’re easier to reach into for stuff instead of digging around on your knees reaching into the back of cabinets, but we also had to put in a pantry at one end of the kitchen since it’s pretty hard to tell which can of soup is which when just looking at them from the top. You need some storage at eye level for some practical purposes. Eventually we want to re-do everything too, but kitchen remodels are time consuming and expensive! Good luck with yours!

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29 sarah October 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

i’m completely in love with your space, and so excited to see the projects that you’re taking on. we have a very different sort of house (midwestern colonial built in ’62), but did something very similar. when we moved in the spaces were all separate–there was a living room, family room, hearth room, dining room, and kitchen that were all individual rooms with walls and doors. the kitchen and dining room were adjacent, and right in the middle of the house. we took the wall down between them (load-bearing, so a beam was needed), and opened a doorway up between the dining room area and the family room. immediately we had lovely light that flowed through from the front of the house (dining room) to the back (kitchen), and the flow improved dramatically. eventually we redid the kitchen, and as a family who spends the majority of their time in the kitchen/dining room and family room, we’ve made our house work that much better for us :) it looks like your house is now becoming so much more of a home for you all!

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30 Jessica October 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

We just took down a wall too! There was a wall the separated 2 living room spaces with closet space. But it was a lot of space eaten up by unnecessary closets and I much preferred an open floor plan.
Wall came down & its better than ever. The living room feels spacious and open! Plus there’s more light in the first living room. Best decision ever!
Good luck – looks really good!

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31 Yvonne October 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Last year we took the wall out between our dining room and kitchen and opened it all up plus remodeled the kitchen with new cabinets/granite/appliances- LOVE IT! So much more modern, bright, community encouraging….

Isn’t it funny to think about the ways houses were built for people’s lives long ago and how differently (and similarly too) we live now?

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32 kalani November 1, 2013 at 9:57 am

I’m so happy for you!
When we were house hunting last year there was so many times when I’d walk into a space & just know a wall needed to come down! We wound up with a 1908 craftsman & we tore out a non permitted bathroom that was disgusting & opened up the wall between the kitchen & dining room. It does make such a difference! The kitchen was small, dark & closed off & now it is just the opposite. I do wish we had a laundry room that was seperate. I think yours will turn ouy great. I’m loving your ideas!

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33 Audrey - This Little Street November 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

love the space so much more now that you took that wall down – looks great! can’t wait to see the rest of the changes!

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34 Lisa November 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Apparently I like
To ask dumb questions so here goes… If the wall is not a supporting wall why keep
The pillar?

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35 Erin November 2, 2013 at 12:07 am

Wow! Just wow! That wall of windows is incredible. I wouldn’t cover those at all. It really does look like your family lives up high in a magical tree house! I would love working in a kitchen with that warm cozy view of your family room and dining room.

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36 Naomi November 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

We love open floorplans, too. I’m glad you found a good place for the Halloween plates, though- they are truly adorable.

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37 SconeLady November 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

Fabulous plans! We began watching your blog space when you moved to France, and your progress is brilliant to watch. The SconeLady is definitely a fan.

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