knocking down the wall



Well, it happened, folks: and no, I don’t mean we went to another Halloween party, dressed as characters from The Shining. I mean Terry finally did what he’s been threatening to do since the day we moved into this house, and knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the living room.

This was my kitchen wall at around 6pm on Tuesday evening:

kitchen: before

(Yes, that’s a “Keep Calm…” print, please don’t judge me. I got it years ago, before everyone and their dog had jumped on the bandwagon, and I didn’t have anything else to put on that wall, so up it went. The annoying thing is that I’ve come to absolutely DETEST the whole “Squee! Cupcakes!” thing, but I DID like the colour, and the kitchen badly needed a shot of colour, so… I’m rambling. I’ll stop.)

This was my kitchen wall a few hours later:

kitchen after

The wall is still level, by the way, it’s just ME that was apparently listing to one side, presumably because of the sheer horror of the situation. Terry looks mighty pleased with himself, though, doesn’t he? That’s ‘cos he got to KNOCK DOWN A WALL, RARR!

kitchen to living room

And this morning, with a little more light, and a little less rubble. It obviously needs to be finished and the wall painted and re-plastered in sections, before the doors go on. Also, we need to actually BUY the doors before they go on, so there’s that, too.

In Terry’s defence, we had always planned to knock a hole in that wall, and then put in some French doors so we can have it either open or closed, as required. The house is actually designed to work either with or without the hole: it was one of the options when these houses were being built, and naturally the previous owner decided to go for all of the options we WOULDN’T have picked, this one included. There are a few houses on our street which are in the same style as ours, and as far as I can tell (by looking in their windows when it’s dark out and the lights are on, naturally. You may call it “spying”; I call it, er, “research”.) ALL of them have the hole in that wall, with doors leading through to the living room. The house next door to ours has the hole/doors, and we much prefer it to our non-holed layout (we’re big fans of open-plan interiors, and the kitchen is kind of separate from the rest of the house as it is, which is a pain when I need to go and fill up my wine glass, obviously…) so when we bought the house, we bought it with the intention of opening up the bottom level. (Yes, we DID get a builder round, just to confirm that we could take away the wall without the house falling down. We may be stupid, but we’re not THAT stupid…)

We just… didn’t intend on doing it quite so SOON. Or I didn’t, anyway. As you may have gathered from my previous posts on this subject, Terry’s always been pretty big on the whole “knocking down the wall” thing, and I’m fairly sure that’s mostly because, well, it means he gets to smash things. I was less keen, partly because I knew the project would mean living with a whole lot of mess for a while, but also because I’m kind of terrified we’ll hate it, but by then it’ll be too late, because, oh, hai giant hole in the wall.

I was also reluctant to press ahead with The Hole, because I sort of hate our kitchen, and now we’ll have to look at it when we’re in the living room, too. This is the living room:

living room before

It’s very empty and magnolia at the moment, and that’s because we’ve done absolutely nothing to it it (Other than removing the “feature” wallpaper from one wall) since we moved in. That will change at some point, but for now the main change is the lovely view it now has of the kitchen:

living room avec hole

big hole

And, I mean, I don’t HATE the kitchen. That’s far too strong a word. It IS my least-favourite room in the house, though, and the one I would most like to change: it’s much darker than we’d go for ourselves, and, strangely enough, although it’s much larger than our last one in terms of floorspace, there aren’t nearly as many cabinets or work-surfaces, so we want to add some more of those, probably in the shape of an island of some kind. All of this is in the future, however: for now, we have a giant HOLE to deal with…

  1. But it will be much better in the long run!
    And also, Terry got to knock a hole in the wall, which has got to work for you in future “Oh, I totally deserve these shoes because I let you knock a hole in the wall, etc etc” situations?

  2. I approve of the hole in the wall. I loved the open plan living/kitchen/dining aspect of our flat and have missed that since we moved into our house. Sadly we can’t knock through as the downstairs bathroom is in the way, so we’d need some kind of redesign that I can’t contemplate right now.

    It’s also weird going into a fairly new property with things you haven’t picked yourself; we bought our flat off plan so got to pick everything, from the kitchen cabinets to the shower tiles. While our new house is a new build, it was complete when we bought it. The kitchen cabinets are fine but not what I’d have picked – but as they’re brand new there’s no way I can justify changing it.

    Really we should all just be given a plot of land and be allowed to design the house to be built on it, I think!

    1. So true: this house is only four years old, and the kitchen is a good quality one, so while it’s not what we’d have picked ourselves it would be such a waste to just rip it all out and start again, even although that’s what I’d secretly like to do! It’s actually growing on me, though – the hole has really helped lighten it up, so I reckon we’ll be able to “facelift” it by changing the worktops (which I really DO hate) and the handles, which are amazingly beaten up considering their age! The house next to us was the showhome for the estate, though, and has this gorgeous, white kitchen, which would be our preference – any time I walk past I think, “Why couldn’t he have picked THAT one!”

      1. My kitchen cabinets are white,while I would have preferred wood – unfortunately a bit lighter than yours or we could have organised a swap!

      2. I’m quite jealous of your kitchen! My boyfriend and I just moved into our first appartment together, and changing things around the place isn’t really an option since we rent it (and we definitely don’t have the budget). The flat is fine, lots of space, but the kitchen floor is literally the same colour as Kermit. It looks like someone skinned hundreds of Kermits and covered the floor in them. Everyone who enters the place for the first time just goes ‘Woah! Green!’

  3. That is a big hole in the wall! But I think the french doors will look much nicer when all is done. Knocking a wall down is a pretty big accomplishment for any guy, and I am surprised it only took a few hours. I have a friend who put a wall up, and then decided to knock it down, but only after making a hole in it like this first. 🙂

  4. You could just change the cupboard doors in the kitchen for the time being, and then do it out properly at a later date. Cheap(ish) way to lighten it up and get a new look for it.

    1. Changing the doors is what we did in our last kitchen, but we don’t think it would work in this one as the sides of the cabinets would still be visible and it might look odd if the doors didn’t match – plus we’d still be stuck with the dark wood on the sides. It costs more than we can afford at the moment, though, and they’re good quality doors, so we’re happy to just live with them for now! We hate the worktops much more than the cabinets, though, so we’ll probably change those first and do some other stuff to lighten it up 🙂

  5. I definitely like the hole in the wall.

    I will say, as far as the kitchen goes, that I DO like the dark wood paneling on the cabinets. I think it brings some serious interest to the room. I will gladly take those cabinets if you don’t like ’em 😉

    I think you could use some brightening color or lights or something in there, but it’s definitely a workable room. But you only just moved in! Give yourself time, haha.

    I think that hole in the wall is going to help in a huge way your opinion of both rooms. Just the visual space opening up will help a lot.

    We can’t knock down any of our walls, no matter how badly I want to 🙁 And trust me. I really, really want to.

    Also I love that your dog has the best “What? WHY isn’t that camera on ME?” look on his face.

  6. Apropos of nothing: gorgeous sofas. Were they john lewis?

    My OH also loves knocking stuff down, but is slightly less keen on the ‘putting things back up in its place’ bit. Which is why we have a huge hole in the top floor leading to a crawl space. ‘I’ll just see what’s behind this, as to whether it’s big enough for an en suite’ says he. Three years ago. The hole is still there, the en suite (you may gather) is not.

    1. Oh no! This is always my fear with DIY – that we’ll start something and then not bother finishing it for years. I mean, it took us something like four years to install the towel heater we bought for our last bathroom, so it’s always a possibility!

      The sofas were from a company called Sofa Sofa… we got them when we bought our last house, though, so they’re a little bit the worse for wear these days!

  7. I’m obsessed with getting as much daylight as possible into the house (especially at this time of year) so I LOVE the hole.

    I can’t wait until I can afford to replace the dark cabinets in my kitchen (it’s going to be years).

  8. I didnt now rechecked but wasnt the kitchen cuboards that natural wood finish and you guys painted it black, if thats the case then naturally most of the light spectrum is absorbed rather then reflected as in the case with a matt finish.

    I like the idea of the open space living area because it gives volume in sense of the light and air aspect and most of the time you get that echo effect of living in a cave.

    1. I think you must have me confused with someone else… we just moved in a few months ago and have never painted the cabinets: the colour is a natural dark wood, not black.

  9. The piece of art (“family portrait) that was on the living room side of the now knocked down wall is a beautiful thing! Is there a story behind it?

  10. We took out a wall (with archway) between the dining alcove (which was too small for my dining table!) and the main sitting room. Major improvement.

    I second Mana’s suggestion – paint the cupboards (or pay someone to do so). Talk to the hardware store first, you may need a special paint, depending on the material they are made from. Or they may just need a quick go-over with sandpaper first. Given their colour, they will need at least a basic undercoat. I’m stuck with melamine covered doors – never understood why this caught on, would so much prefer to have timber that’s easy to repaint!

  11. Hi! 🙂
    I just discovered your blog a week or so ago and I am a bit obsessed. I have such hair envy, what a beautiful colour. I realise this post was written a while ago and you might have decided to change your kitchen or whatever but a friend of mine wanted to change her kitchen so she got a joiner in to take the cabinets out properly and sold them on gumtree! It would be a way of reducing the costs a bit!

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