6.13.2011

Design Solution: Removing Kitchen Walls

One of the things I love about designing a renovation is when something that you have to do out of necessity becomes a key feature in a room.  In the case of this kitchen and living room renovation it was the structural support posts.

The living room and kitchen in this house were separated by a full height wall,  creating a formal living room and a secluded kitchen.  When taking on the renovation, the homeowners knew this wouldn't work for the way they lived - they wanted a large, open space for their family and entertaining so it made sense to remove the wall between the two rooms.
Before: Full height wall in living room (left) and kitchen (right)
In many cases it's possible to design a space where I take out walls and replace them with either wood or steel beams (with design help from my structural engineer) but in this case the span was just too large and the beam would have had to have been too big.  Our only option was to use a wood beam held up by two support posts.  But instead of basic, decorative support posts, we designed cabinetry around the posts and made the entire piece into a furniture-like feature.

The wall has been removed and the support posts placed. The cabinetry is being installed around the support posts.
Upper cabinets are placed directly on the counter top, making the piece feel more like furniture.
The paneling on the living room side is designed to feel like less like kitchen cabinetry and more like traditional column details.  I love that the columns look hefty and substantial from this side.
Crown molding and finish details are added to tie in all the components and make the columns feel as if they're visually supporting the beam above.
In the kitchen we gained lots of additional base cabinets for storage with paneled drink drawers in the center.  The columns on this side are visually lighter because of the glass front cabinets.  This is a great bar surface for entertaining with easy access to glassware.
From the living room side - a functional and beautiful room divider.
I love the peaks of the living room you get through the columns from the kitchen

13 comments:

  1. This has to be one of the best ideas I've seen for a kitchen reno. We're house hunting and so many 60-ish ranches have this type of layout with a formal living room that has outlived its useful life. This brings the layout into the 21st century without going out the back and adding a family room. I'll be saving this post to my inspiration file for sure.

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  2. Absolutely stunning. This is such a tasteful and well thought out design which adds so much character to the space - I just love it.

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  3. AnonymousJune 16, 2011

    This kitchen is breathtaking. What material did you use for the countertops?

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  4. This design is a brilliant use of space. I am househunting as well and considering one which has a similar space. I would love to incorporate this style but not sure the house has the space. Would really appreciate if you could share with us some of the basic dimensions of the kitchen and family room here. Your styling is amazing

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  5. wow looks amazing! very inspirational!! xoxo's nancy

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  6. Beautiful! This is what I will be doing in my mother's house. Only thing, hers has a stove top in the middle. Do you think it will look just as nice with a floating, island-style exhaust hood in the middle (glass and stainless, maybe)?

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  7. This is so beautiful. All the white is simply beautiful. I like the canvas painting in sea blues above the mantel because it is the perfect amount of color for a coastal feel.

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  8. I love the flow and openness of this space. Nice work. I also liked all the nautical touches from the starfish, coral and painting above the mantel.

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  9. Hi, we live in Virginia.I love this concept, but am not sure we have the space. Would you mind sharing the dimensions? Thanks!

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  10. We love this concept. Not sure we have the space for it either though. Do you mind sharing the length of the room?

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  11. Thanks for the comments. To answer your questions about the dimensions - The kitchen is approx 17' x 13', living room is 14' x 26', dining room is 11' x 11'

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  12. Gorgeous is an understatement! Would you be able to give me the dimensions of the center island and how wide the aisles around it are? Thanks!!

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  13. What a great idea instead of spending the money for an ibeam. Really opens up the space!

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