Tearing down a wall!

HELLO everybody! I’m back with an update on the wall demolition progress. Otherwise known as “BEST. DAY. EVER.”

I’ll go through the steps and also a few of our plans – keep in mind that we are still early in this process when you see the pics. :)

We started bright and early last Wednesday – I started scoring and taking down the boards on the office side of the wall so I can reuse them later:

removing wall trim

More on where I’m using them in a bit. :)

It was quite a treat to take them down and not worry one bit about the drywall damage:

removing wall trim

Side note – I didn’t use glue to put these up but it seems caulk acts exactly like glue when it seeps under the boards. Good to know.

On the other side of the wall the trim was being taken down as well – I saved about 90 percent of it for possible use in other spots:

prepping to remove a wall

Early on the guys mentioned that they don’t take down walls like you see on TV – hammers flying, kicking in drywall. I was all, DANG! I was looking forward to that part.

So they let me have at it. I laughed out loud when I saw my face in this picture:

taking down a wall

I forgot my protective eyewear, I know I know. I remembered later.

Think this made me happy?:

pure joy

They had me slow my roll a bit when they realized the drywall was shooting all the way across my office – I was having fun.

I tore down some of the drywall (while my sister and I marveled at how very little is really holding our houses together) and then stepped back and watched as the light started pouring into the family room:

removing interior wall

I actually watched a few YouTube videos on how to take down a wall the night before and I was happy (but not surprised) to see that the guys followed all the precautions mentioned in those videos. Things like moving boards with nails out of the way as you go, hammering down any nails sticking out of the studs so they aren’t a hazard and little tricks like tilting the outlets face up. That’s so when you pull the drywall out it doesn’t rip the wiring out along with it.

By the way – we turned off the gas to the fireplace and all electrical in this wall before doing a thing. Very, very, very important.

Tearing down the drywall was cool but knocking out the studs was way more fun. It’s not hard (again, surprisingly so). I mean, it definitely takes some force, but that was my favorite part for sure:

tearing out studs

Those outlets you see were cut before we took out any studs so there was no need to take them off first.

A few whacks and it was out – then you just pull and rock the wood so the nails out:

how to tear down a wall

I liked it so much I ended up taking out all the studs. ;)

One more BIG thing – I knew from my own research that this wasn’t a load bearing wall for a few reasons. One, it was a partial wall that didn’t end with a large post. I could tell by using my stud finder that the end of the wall was just a few studs and not four or five next to each other. If you have that many it’s probably a support for a beam in the wall/ceiling.

Also, I know which way our beams go in the ceiling because of how our hardwoods were installed upstairs – the flooring needs to be nailed into them so it’s installed perpendicular to them, not parallel.

Because I knew the direction of the beams in the ceiling, I knew the wall wasn’t load bearing – if your wall is perpendicular to your beams it’s probably load bearing, if the wall is parallel with your beams it’s most likely not. Hope that makes sense!!

Anyway, within a few hours everything was out and taken away. The debris overflowed the back of their huge pickup truck – I was shocked at how much was on that little wall so you’d need a small dumpster or truck if you try this even with a small wall.

Of course it went fast because they had so much help:

Always.

So when you take down a wall you’re never 100 percent sure what’s inside. I knew we had a cable, two outlets and a gas line. I wasn’t expecting the extra cable and speaker wires:

how to remove an interior wall

Those hung like that for about a week till the audio guy could come out today. They operate our sound system and cable in the family room so he rerouted it all through the ceiling and wall so it can be used when the TV is moved. Still some work to be done to pull everything over from where it is on the other wall – I’ll probably make the whole TV placement a post of it’s own. :)

So far we’ve been really lucky with each trade coming in to do these separate things in a timely manner. I SO appreciate that. Also – I didn’t realize it but you call a plumber to move a gas line – who knew? Not me obviously. :) The same guys that did this also ran our gas line for the basement dryer years ago. They do a great job so if any locals need a name just email me.

I wasn’t planning on the fireplace happening this early but the surround had to be built up in order to move the gas line. I shared my inspiration pics and the guys started building it yesterday. Because we have a direct vent gas fireplace we kept it right where it was, keeping the same vent. No new cuts on the outside of the house. Problem is, the fireplace box is about 16 inches deep, plus some room for the vent and you get a very deep fireplace. Most homes that are built with a similar fp have a “doghouse” extension built so the back of the unit can stick outside a bit. But to do that would mean cutting a hole in the house and getting permits and ain’t nobody got time for that. :)

We were prepared for that though so this baby is deep! But by the time we’re done it won’t look quite as deep: cabinets next to fireplace for electronics

Here’s my inspiration pic to give you an idea of how this area will kinda sorta look eventually. Fingers crossed:

(source)

I was planning glass fronts on the cabinets to the side (I’m looking into different doors that I will have glass installed in), but I figure the TV components will need to breathe. So either we’ll figure out something to vent them on top of the cabinets or I’ll use radiator grates instead of glass.

I think I’m most thrilled with the fact that this is now a standard sized, wide fireplace – I haven’t had one this big in our family room yet. :)

Lots of room for trim and tile!:

fireplace that sticks out from wall

Even thought the fireplace comes out into the room quite a bit (which I knew before we started), I think the depth will actually be one of my favorite things about it. We’re adding a wall that will be at least three inches deep above it that will reduce the thickness just a bit – I think it will work out beautifully when all is said and done.

SO many things to figure out still!

Here’s the room as it is now:

tearing down a wall to create great room

The desk will be gone, the dresser will move and I have a plan for that side of the room but will have to see how it all comes together. The rug width and length will have to be cut down (or I’ll have to find a new one, but I really love this one) so it doesn’t sit right in front of the fireplace.

The board and batten will continue throughout the whole space and french doors will go where the double windows are to the right of the fireplace. Thing is, this new room is MUCH more spacious, but it will be long and skinny. So the sectional/fp area will be cozy, but we knew that going in. It’s totally worth it with all the extra light!!:

deep fireplaceThere will be a walkway behind the sofa that feels a tiny bit tight now, but that’s mostly because we’re just not used to it. I’m moving some furniture around that will help to open up that area quite a bit too. All these ideas make me giddy. It’s Christmas in July people! For real…this is my Christmas present. ;)

And moving this all down into the old office makes everything SO much more open down by the kitchen, I cannot even tell you. It feels AMAZING. Ack! More on that later too. :)

I’ve been told to plan for extra costs that pop up during a reno and it’s already happening. :) Since the ceiling it already opened up we’re taking this opportunity to add recessed lights throughout the whole space. Hallelujah! There’s no overhead light in my office so it’s needed. I’m thinking of removing the hanging light in the family room for a cleaner look – if I keep it will be moved to the center of the room.

Next, the guys will finish up the fireplace build this week and then start on the lighting. The sound system stuff will be moved and then LOTS of drywall patching, mostly in the ceiling. After that I’ll have the floors patched – and then comes the new doors, installing a TON of trim on the walls (board and batten, base and crown) and painting the entire space – the last two jobs I’ll be doing myself.

Whew! There you go – the progress and the plan! I’m so happy with it so far. I can see the finished result in my head and in there it looks pretty awesome. :) Are you seeing my vision?

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