Monday, August 26, 2013

Kitchen Wall Demo: The Discovery Phase

Well hello there!  Long time, no blog.  Busy summer for us, and lots of house projects!  I really wish I'd have kept up with it as we went, but thankfully we took lots of photos.  If you follow either of us on Facebook or Instagram, you've likely seen this, but now you can enjoy as I over-share the deets.

So when we bought this house in 2006, one of the first projects we wanted to do was tear down the wall between the kitchen and family room:

This wall has literally stared us in the face for 7 years.  We've ton TONS of other projects/updates {many of which we've chronicled here}, but this was by far the most daunting.  First off, one doesn't just tear down major walls in a home.  Especially those that could be load-bearing.  We'd had several people 'take a look', and the response was about 50/50.  Half of the people thought we could do it, and half of the people didn't think it would work.  All of them thought we were nuts.  I should mention that most of these people were just non-professionals who've done lots of home improvement themselves.  We did have Nic's uncle, a professional contractor, look once.  He didn't think it would be a problem.  We were really dragging our feet because we didn't know anyone who had ever DIY'd a project quite this big.

Another {less concerning} issue was the loss of storage space.  When you live in 1,000 square feet, every bit counts.  The space above the washer and dryer was super useful, and we I hated to give it up. Our recent kitchen reno {particularly the addition of the broom closet}, gave us enough extra storage that I was ready to take the plunge.

Large Disclaimer:  This is in NO WAY any kind of tutorial.  We had no major problems, and were super fortunate.  We could have totally ruined our house.  The obvious, and sane, choice is to hire this work out to someone who has a clue what they're doing.  If you want to do it on your own, you have been warned.  This is only for crazies.  But you also have our was so fun, and so so so so worth it.

When we decided to get serious, we chatted with the contractor who will be adding on to our house, and he was sweet enough to drag his cute little amish team over here to look in the attic.  He agreed with the only other professional who we had consulted:  we were in the clear.  He suggested, however, to create some braces with the other beams {kind of like a 'w' shape} just to make sure.

Before we could get to that point, though, we had some work to do.  First up, the fun {and extremely messy} stuff:  demo.

We really had no idea what was behind these walls.  This house has always surprised us, so we proceeded with caution and started tearing down the drywall.  This phase took a few days, maybe a week and a half or so.  In the end, we were left with this:

Now the real work begins.  This is where it really pays off to be married to an engineer.  Nic lives to figure things out, so he {with the help of his equally-equipped dad} sat down and mapped out how they would re-route the plumbing, wiring, and venting that were necessary to keep the washer and dryer functioning and safe.  We also factored in some light switches and useful outlets.

Let's just pause here and reflect on how much patience DIY home projects take.  We were so lucky, and didn't really encounter any real problems.  But if you know me, you know that living in a space like the one pictured above {remember, folks, this is in my KITCHEN AND FAMILY ROOM} is just pure hell.  I cannot function in an untidy, unorganized, or {the worst!} dirty space.  These weeks were thee worst.

So.  Nic and his dad worked tirelessly for a few days, trying to get the plumbing and venting {electrical was easy for them...Nic's dad used to be an electrician} done so that we didn't have to be without hot water {or water at all} and laundering facilities for more than 36 hours.  They're awesome.

We had a few small hitches with leaking joints in the plumbing that led to some laaaaaate nights and eaaaaaarly mornings, but we got 'er done.  I'm just glad Nic has the skills + patience to take it slow and do it right for the long haul.  Leaking pipes inside walls?  Not good.

After their hard work, we had this beautiful site:

At this point, the only thing left was the few studs we left up.  Just in case this was a load-bearing wall after all, we decided to leave some up until the supports were done in the attic.  Check out those pretty copper pipes!

So tomorrow I'll come back and tell you all about the support system we ended up doing.  Spoiler alert: it was totally a load-bearing wall...

No comments:

Post a Comment