After 5 years in the new house my wife was getting a little tired of the galley kitchen. Although I really wanted to be debt free before doing any renovations on the house (we still owe about $8K for a 401K loan and $13K for the car loan on Kiki) I figured there were some low cost improvements that we could make.


We decided that we could cut part of the wall out of the kitchen to open it up to the living room. This would allow better air flow to the kitchen (keeping it a little cooler), would allow my wife to feel like she wasn't so closed in and isolated in there, and allow her to see the TV and talk to me while she was cooking. Here is where the hole would be in the kitchen:



Here is where the hole would be in the living room:



I finally got to use the Harbor Freight tranny jack that I bought a few years ago:



All the tall cabinets are gone. This gives you an idea how the short cabinets are going to look (they will extend the length of the counter:



The first hole is cut - Time to celebrate!



All the sheetrock has been removed from the kitchen side:



Uh oh, look what I found. It looks like a load bearing post in my wall. This is going to cause trouble:



The sheetrock has been removed from the living room side:



Notice the tray ceiling in the living room. If I look I think I will probably find three more load bearing posts, one in each corner of the tray:



Here's what the attic looks like (I'll clean it up a bit so I can take a better picture later). Note that the roof joists are parallel with the wall I am working on. This shot is taken from the living room side looking towards the kitchen:



The set of three 2x6's you see here are sitting on top of the load bearing post in my wall. They extend the length of the tray ceiling in the living room. The frame for the tray ceiling is highlighted in blue and the red line indicates where the four 2x4's are located. It looks like the post is holding up the three 2x6's and those 2x6's are connected to the tray ceiling frame and a center walkway that originally ran half the length of my attic for A/C unit access (green line).



There were five tall cabinets and two short cabinets on the wall we cut open. We moved four of the tall cabinets around the corner to an empty wall in the dining room:



A few weeks ago the dining room was being used as my wife's office. Now all the computer desks and stuff are gone and we are going to have a real dining room for the first time in 20 years. Now that the cabinets are hung we will probably build a small bar below them. The two short cabinets are there as a simulation of the bar:



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