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Opening a load bearing wall between kitchen and living room

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It’s demo week and we are opening a load bearing wall between kitchen and living room in the split level house and what a mess we made! If you missed the new split level house project, check it out here for a full “before” tour. 

The kitchen remodel is well underway and removing the wall between the kitchen, dining room and living room was a no brainer. As a side note, identifying and removing a load bearing wall is for a licensed professional and not a DIY homeowner project. Hire a professional and check with your local building department for permit requirements. 

Before we get started though, I wanted to share with you Jim’s latest toy that we picked up this past weekend in NJ.  Many of you follow us on Instagram (follow us here) and watched our stories expanding over a 15 hour drive 🤯 to get this little buggy. 

Welcome to Jim’s collection of toys …. a cute little 1961 Joe Poty Dune Buggy. 

1961 Joe Poty yellow dune buggy

I’ll be honest, at first I was like, “you want to buy what and drive where?” It’s actually kind of fun to drive around in 😉.

How to remove a kitchen wall

1970s split level house kitchen wall with dining room and living room

They used a sawzall to cut out the built-in portion of the cabinet/hutch and crowbar and hammer to remove the rest.

Why are we opening the load bearing wall between the kitchen, dining and living room? 

Everyone wants open concept living now so while it’s a bit of pain to remove a load-bearing wall, the payoff in the end is huge. 

removing 1970s kitchen wall between kitchen and dining room with a sawzall

Opening a load bearing wall between kitchen and living room can be somewhat costly but in my opinion, the open concept style adds a significant increase in value to your home. 

Don’t believe me?

See why Jim’s split level home sold for 80K over asking price. He opened up his kitchen, dining and living room walls and added vaulted ceilings which is very unique for a split level home. 

How much does it cost to remove a load bearing wall and have an engineered beam designed to support the load bearing wall?

That all depends on the length of the wall and the size of the beam necessary.

In this case, we are thinking it will be a couple thousand dollars for the design plus install costs.  

split level dining room, kitchen and living room demo with hardwood floor

Removing load bearing wall between kitchen and living room

We left the wall below (removed the sheetrock and left the 2×4 studs) as this is a load bearing wall. 

Once we have the engineered beam installed, we will remove the existing wall completely. (Updated, click through this post, adding a support beam in the attic to remove this load bearing wall.) 

What is a load bearing wall vs non load bearing wall? 

load bearing wall in kitchen demo

A load bearing wall is a wall that supports the structure above. A non load bearing wall does not support any structure above.

Traditionally, older homes were not made to be open concept but now that everyone is renovating older homes and creating an open concept living space, the walls are being torn down.

In order to tear down the walls though, you need to install engineered beams to take the place of the walls. Otherwise, your roof (or whatever is above) will collapse and that would make for a really bad day!

Knocking down the wall between kitchen and dining room 

1970s split level kitchen with parkay floor, load bearing wall demo, hardwood floor, old white refrigerator

Jimbo got down and dirty this day during demo and with the help of his 4 other guys, they had this entire house (first floor and basement) completely gutted in 1.5 days. 

Jim removing the old kitchen appliances in 1960s kitchen

The ceiling in the kitchen and living room will be completely removed which is going to make this space look so much bigger!

Check out Jim’s old kitchen at his house he sold last year, he removed his kitchen ceiling and it looked amazing!

removing kitchen wall to open up into living room split level hardwood floors

Missed some of the posts in this Split Level House Renovation Series?

Updated 2022: Want to see all the split level house projects in this house? Click the links below.

You can see them all here by clicking each link –> (1) Split Level House Tour (before), (2) opening a load bearing wall between kitchen and living room , (3) Adding a beam to a load bearing wall , (4) Installing shiplap on vaulted ceiling , (5) Quality Wolf kitchen cabinet review and installation, (6) Why we love the vinyl plank flooring basement makeover, (7) why we picked prehung solid core interior doors by Masonite, (8) Split level exterior remodel before and after , (9) Split Level Kitchen Remodel before and after

If you are looking for ideas on opening up a kitchen wall, check out our previous homes kitchen where we decided to remove a full metallic mirrored wall in our dining room to open up the space into the kitchen.

The engineered beam is being installed in the next couple weeks and the ceiling is being removed to create an open vaulted ceiling.

The vaulted ceiling will feature white country style shiplap planks and 2 new skylights as well. 

I met with the kitchen design last month at Horner Millwork in Somerset, Ma and the kitchen will be arriving in the next couple weeks. The kitchen design blog post is coming soon! 

Disclosure: Identifying and removing a load bearing wall is for a licensed professional and not a DIY homeowner project. Hire a professional and check with your local building department for permit requirements. 

 

 

 

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