Finished pics of wall demo

living room

Five short weekends ago, we started ripping out the wall between the kitchen and living room.  It got pretty involved:  lots of electrical work, structural work, drywall, trim and woodwork, and finishing.  But finally you can walk in the front door and it doesn’t look like The House That Time Forgot.  Oh, sure, we still have a long way to go, but I’d say now that about 1/4th of the house renovation is all done.

half wall

Tacky and cheap have been transformed into open and inviting.  We’ve added lights in the right places, replacing the 4′ florescent tubes from the value bin at Ace Hardware with modern halogens on dimmer switches.  The old lights were so ugly that even moths would avoid them.  We went with paint colors that we had on hand, choosing to avoid purchasing more and more gallons of paint.  One thing I can’t stand is a growing collection of paint cans.  So we use what we have.


We’re not fans of conventional lighting, either.  We have a lot of low wattage fixtures, colored night lights and art glass pieces, to bring sparkly color to the place.  We’ll appreciate it this winter when we get 18 to 24 hours of darkness per day.



The elevated bookshelf is a real hit with the cat, who likes to hang out underneath it by the heat register.  Someday I’ll do something to cover or conceal it but it’s fine for now.  I got a million things to do before I fix something that isn’t broken.


This nice (and expensive) hook makes a good place for the yoga mats.  Wall space is really rare in this house and we have to take advantage of every bit of it.  I had just enough room here for one hook.

kitchenThere’s still a lot to do in the kitchen.  I’ll do cabinets when I’m ready, and with that will come new countertops and a new sink.  That door to the laundry room needs to be widened too, which will allow us to open the fridge doors all the way.  Believe it or not, the kitchen seems smaller after opening the wall up.  It wasn’t big to begin with, though.

looking out

The view from the kitchen has dramatically improved.  Yeah, there’s more paneling and those stupid logs there too.  Nothing a little bit of gasoline and a match won’t fix.  Ha ha.  I’m half joking, of course.

postAltogether, it went really well and we’re very happy with all the changes.  The sight of it still takes us by surprise when we turn the corner and expect to see a giant rectangle of pressed hardboard paneling, barely affixed to its poorly installed frame of scrap lumber, covered with little piles of carpenter ant frass.  Yeah, a much nicer space to live in.



How I Spent My Summer Vacation


This summer I knocked out the wall between the living room and the kitchen.  Like every other project I do, this one was a major pain in the butt.  I had to dissect kitchen cabinets, remove lots of crappy paneling, remove the support from a load bearing beam, replace the support under the load bearing beam, hope I did it correctly because I’m too cheap to hire an engineer, and make a little half wall.


I discovered that I really suck at drywall.  But that’s okay.  It looks good, it’s solid and durable, and it doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke and dog pee (which is what the old paneling smelled like).  The joints and seams are not that visible if you just avoid certain kind of lighting.  It’s all good.

primerSee?  In this light it looks great!


In my opinion, it’s the woodwork that makes this house stand out.  And I had to get a little creative and a little unconventional to make it all work.  I’m not sure how well it comes across in the pictures, but that beam twists about 10 degrees along its full 24 foot length.  It makes it a real challenge to make anything square.  In particular, the walls and the kitchen cabinets.

paintThis wall got a nice layer of turquoise paint.  I love color, lots of bold color.  Our house is a cabin on an island, so I expect to decorate it like the island, with the colors of the sea, the forest and the rocky land.  On a really nice day, that turquoise is what you’ll see when you look out past the shore.

deerI need to mention that if you feed a deer your apple cores, they will follow you for about an hour, looking for more of that apple.  I wonder if it’s legal to feed wild deer.  Maybe it’s not.  It’s perfectly legal to shoot them, but you’re probably not supposed to feed them.  Go figure.