We have lived in our 1958 brick rancher (complete with a 1958 original stove/oven) for about 7 years, and if you are familiar with this era homes, every room is its own entity, separated by walls and narrow doorways. So for the past, oh I dunno – 7 years, Phil tried to convince me to open up the kitchen/living area by knocking down all (or at least some) of the load-bearing wall dividing the two. I finally caved…and as much as it pains my stubborn-self to admit….he was totally right.
We started by taking off the trim, identifying all the electrical (that would have to be moved) and removing the most useless track lights ever.
Once everything was down and disconnected, we were able to carefully demo the wall – again being careful of the electrical in the wall, as well as the fact that it was a load-bearing wall. He created a temporary post/beam to stand in the doorway as we removed all the studs. Then, Phil added this header, which was the minimum construction as per Virginia building code for this width of a load-bearing section. Inside the kitchen, we cut away one cabinet area for a tiny 18″ dishwasher (just like its narrow doorways, 1950s and 60s homes tend to have smaller spaces in general). We discovered that replacing the tiny 27″ built-in stove/oven would mean replacing all the bottom cabinetry, which, of course, would make us want to replace the upper cabinetry as well…Sooooo….that’ll be phase 2.
While we were ripping things out, we also went ahead and ripped up the linoleum and put down tile. Our countertops were an amazing gold-burst Formica (again a la 1958) but I had already spray painted them with textured stone-like spray paint and then dumped Envirotex on them years ago (and they have help up amazingly well)!
Once all the framing and ugly stuff was done, we got to do my favorite part – the pretty stuff! I built an Ikea SEKTION modular cabinet system with legs and then Phil trimmed it out to match the casing and trim he had installed around the walls and doorways. We had a piece of recycled glass installed to fit around the trim (GEOS Recycled Glass in “red rocks”). Side note: it was not as thick as a traditional island top, so we painted a piece of plywood white and put it on the cabinet base before the top was installed in order to reinforce the glass top. The industrial stools are from Target and I got 4 at “counter height” and 2 at “bar height.” The bar ones are a little taller which is great for the kids to be able to reach the table comfortably.
Because of the limited cabinet space (we also use the kitchen cabinets as a “pantry”) we installed these Ikea glass cabinets on the only available wall and added these super cute decals from Etsy. And clearly, this is also where we display all of the glorious artwork that the kids bring home…
And….Tah-dah, there it is! This renovation made our tiny little 1100 sq.ft. rancher feel instantly brighter and more spacious in the main living areas. And also, we finally have room for a kitchen table, because seriously, we never had room for a table before this. I don’t know why it took me so long, but this was the BEST house decision we have made in seven years!