Opening Up the Kitchen

One project that has turned out to be a pain in the neck has been opening the kitchen.

We broke the investment property rules when we decided to make the kitchen more open.  It has taken a lot of time, cost us some a lot of aggravation, and won’t increase our rent.  I do think that if we decide to sell down the road it will make the home more appealing so that is what I hang on to when I am struggling with getting it to look finished.  The reality is, I just like the open feel so much better and it makes me happy to know that the house will be more functional.

When we first looked at the house, this is the first thing we saw when we opened the front door.


Perhaps looking right at an almost clean wall was preferable to the floor, or the dirty kitchen.  

When we walked around to the opening of the kitchen, this was our view.


The opening to the dining room side of the kitchen was 32 inches wide.

Except for time and aggravation the project hasn’t cost a lot.  We found butcher block on clearance at IKEA.  Can you believe the deal we got on beech butcher block that is going in the pass through?


Also, after removing the super thin (1/4 inch) sheet rock we discovered ship lap on both sides of the wall.  Another score!

The wall to the dining room was not load bearing so taking it down was easy.  Chop, chop and done.  Well, that and removing all the nails from the ship lap that came down then storing it in the garage because no way on the planet is it going to waste.


The picture above shows the opening from the dining room side but also that cabinet back by the stove came down from the corner and is going to be a fun project soon.  

The hole where the wall came out to the right is now filled and this weekend the threshold will be tiled to match the kitchen. 

The only electrical that needed attention on the whole project was that light switch that only needed to move a few feet over and an outlet that just needed to be “killed”.  The switch has been the BIGGEST pain of the project.  For some reason when it was moved, it will not work as a switch.  It is holding up progress in the dining room.


That wall that we left on the right side?  It looks so good now.  Except where the wires are hanging out from the switch that still wont cooperate.  Here is a peek at what it looks like now.


The wall you saw at the top of the post is load bearing so we had to make adjustments to our original design in order to make sure that the ceiling did not fall in.

Instead of the huge opening we thought we would have, we now have a counter height pass through that will this weekend have a butcher block counter top and additional cabinetry under the butcher block on the kitchen side. on the living room side there will be an overhang that can accommodate bar stools.

First, we cut both sides of the ship lap which of course we saved and added to the pile but made sure not to disturb the two by fours in the wall.

The only electrical wiring in the load bearing wall just needed moving over to be encased in the corner post.  Thankfully there was enough slack that we did not have to mess with that one too much.

Then Mr. Math figured out the height to cut the studs and after much discussion and me worrying an appropriate amount, he cut the two by fours and knocked them out.

Mr. Math then added two by fours to each end floor to ceiling that were called Jack studs.  He added a header, and additional support underneath for the counter top.  I found a great site to show us what to do.  Here is their picture of the process.  We did exactly that except we put the header all the way up top.

source House Craft

I bought a wall cabinet from ReStore for ten dollars that got attached under the opening where it will serve two purposes; add support for the heavy butcher block and provide additional storage.

So, this weekend our plan is to finish this space, like finish finish but today this is how it looks:

This is one project that I am looking forward to being done with but I know my husband is even more excited, especially if he gets that stinking switch to stop being live if the switch is on or off.

All in, this project has cost us about $200. Including the butcher block, wood supports, the cabinets, shims, etc. That is good because other areas have turned out to be more than we budgeted.

I am looking for a cheap (like almost free) idea for the back door that you see through the opening because it will be visible when the front door is open.  Any suggestions?

It is hard for me to have so many almost finished projects right now and I apologize that you have not seen anything that I consider finished yet, but we are almost to the point where I can start to show you some totally finished rooms and our nice exterior.