We’ve finally finished our kitchen reno! A lot has happened over the past few months so we’ll split this over a couple of posts. Part one: demo.
People say the kitchen is the heart of the home. So when we decided to perform open-heart surgery on ours just three months after moving in, many people said we had lost it.
We bought this 1930s era home with the goal to immediately open up the kitchen to the dining room. Actually, we bought this home with grand plans for an entire back addition, but we’ve since put a pin in that for a while.
In terms of the kitchen, our end goal was to have a 12’-14’ opening between the two rooms, in which we would place a large island. This style home lends itself to this design as both rooms are at the back of the house. Doing so would increase the natural light transfer on the main floor and improve views into the back yard. Not to mention make the relatively modest living area more funtional.
Back to the kitchen, when we bought the house, the kitchen came with big box basic cabinets, a mix match of appliances and formica counters. The previous owner had recently laid luxury vinyl plank flooring from the front door through the kitchen to the back door. This was in good condition (and you’ll remember from a previous kitchen reno post that we’re fans of this product) so we decided to keep it. The kitchen and hallway also included an mdf trimmed chair rail with beadboard.
The dining room side of the wall retained the original 8” oak baseboards, hand-crafted wood door trim and original pine inlay floors, AKA, arts and crafts era gold! This millwork is throughout the house so we made sure to handle it with care and keep as much as possible….you never know when you’re going to need it.
Demo Day! In late August we started swinging the sledgehammers. Given the age of the home, we knew it was a real possiblity that we may encounter some hiccups, so we did this part ourselves to avoid having a contractor find trouble then lay down tools for a few days waiting for an abatement. Good thing we did cause guess what we found?!?!
After about an hour into demo, we noticed a column running between the two sets of lathe. At first we thought it could be a block support post but on closer inspection, it was an asbestos wrapped air duct. Yikes! After some pacing in the backyard, we found an abatement specialist in the area who was able to come over that day. In the 30 minutes we spent waiting for his arrival, we found a second run of this now-outlawed material (we did a recent post on this and other home health hazards.) The pros came and scheduled an abatement for the next day. We also took a sample of the plaster to the lab to make sure it wasn’t carrying asbestos too. Turned out it wasn’t….phew! Quick demo tip: get your plaster checked before you start swinging hammers!
Two days later, we finished up the demo and were ready for structural modification, ie, taking down the wall. Now, in order to ensure the second floor didn’t come down with it, we took the necessary precautions before attempting to remove this load bearing wall.
Turns out that the new point loads carrying the above weight would land in between two basement support pillars. The 80+ year old floor beams – while in good shape – were not sufficient to carry the new load. Based on a structural engineer’s recommendation, we sistered the 3 2”x10” beams with a 2”x10” engineered LVL beams on either side, spanning the distance between the support columns. Reinforcing it this way fit into the existing footprint and was only a two hour job for our contractor which saved us time and money.
So, now that it was safe to bring the wall down, we did just that. Our contractors built a temporary support brace on either side of the existing wall to carry the weight while they took down the old wall and put in another LVL header beam….three 14’ 2”x12” LVLs to be exact. This was supported on either end by a stack of 2”x6” studs.
Remember how we found those air ducts wrapped in asbestos? Well, those returns needed to be replaced in order to heat and cool the bedrooms above. The contractors built a vertical bulkhead on either side of the opening to run the new ductwork upstairs.
With that, we’re ready to put these rooms back together. Next up, design!