Our DIY renovations. I started this series ages ago, and had another false start where I promised to write next about the pros and cons of open floor plans. But since I can never seem to get that topic off the ground, I’m writing about half walls instead. (Note to self: do not promise to write any particular thing unless you’ve already written it).
The joke about this house is that it didn’t need much work. Sure, we planned on updating the baths and kitchen, widening a few doorways, and refinishing the floors — stuff that would make a big mess and be hard to live around — before we moved in. Kind of a tall order, but since we’d done a complete bath and kitchen remodel in our previous home, it wasn’t completely unrealistic. Not like a complete gut renovation. The house had good bones, and it was in a great neighborhood. We signed the deed and couldn’t wait to move in!
We finally did — seven dumpsters and tons of plaster dust later. Our little remodeling project had morphed into a major do over.
This was our foyer, complete with shiny brass light fixture and farmhouse door with lace curtain. If you look closely, you can see the wood paneling lining the hallway. That was one of the first things to go. The solid oak floors was a keeper.
The doorway to the living room is on the left. It made the whole area seemed closed and small.
Below is the view from the living room to the foyer — quiet and serene before the dust started flying.
We ripped up the carpet.
Then the demolition began in earnest. We had to build another header before we cut the supports to make a half wall.
We lived with this unfinished half wall (below) for awhile after we moved in. Everything was in transition, even our hodgepodge furniture layout and TV that we got on Black Friday and just stuck on the wall.
We used sheetrock to bump out the wall at the base, creating a kind of “column” to frame the opening. (You can see it better in the following photos). After it was all spackled and taped, I realized the opening was better centered on the stairs. (I had originally centered it on the fireplace, which is on the far wall of the living room). Oops. It was one of many “if you’re going to change it, now is the time.” So we dismantled the whole column and moved it. Pete didn’t groan and grumble. Not too much.
Eventually we finished the opening with these wood columns we found online at TableLegs.com, adding our own wood blocks and molding on the top and bottom. The ledge is masonite, which was cheaper and easier to work with. With everything primed and painted, you can’t really tell the difference.
Pete painstakingly painted the trim, sanding and wiping between thin coats. He used Benjamin Moore oil paint and a special Purdy brush. He did a great job, and it took a loong time. This might explain why we haven’t gotten much trim painted since then.
This is a shot from this past Christmas, complete with randomly placed evergreen swag.
The half wall opens up the space and lets in a lot of light.
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