One of my favorite books as a child, which I'm guessing was one of your favorites as well, was "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." Essentially, the gist of the book is this little mouse in jean bib overalls pleads for a cookie, and once he gets it, he asks for a million other things and it all snowballs from that one simple desire for a singular cookie.
In our case, Eric is the mouse, and knocking down walls in our house is the cookie.
Last week I shared with you how we've removed a wall between our living and "French" rooms in the house (I suppose I can no longer call it the French room, because the French doors no longer live there. Henceforth, this space shall be known as the "dining area"). Before that wall has even been refinished, Eric got the idea in his head that we simply need to rid our house of more wall space.
I've mentioned before that our house is just a little guy, and its floor plan is anything but "open." With such a small house, we've been wanting to open up the space as much as we can to make it feel larger, airier and brighter. One solution we thought of was partly opening the wall between our kitchen and living room.
This is the wall in question. The only problem is, in the space behind that wall, we've got stairs that lead up to the second floor of our house. We can't remove the entire wall, but we thought if maybe we removed some of it, leaving the bottom half of the stairs exposed, it would definitely open up the space, especially because it would allow us to see from part of the kitchen into the living room. An essential in any open floor plan.
Another reason we wanted to do this? From the first day we even thought of looking for a home to buy, over two years ago, Eric stressed his love of an exposed stairway with a bannister. He says it stems from his first house as a child, and he loved having that bannister in his home. Someplace to hang stockings and decorate and peer down to the floor below. At any house we looked at while home searching, if it had a bannister, it got bonus points in Eric's book.
We thought we wouldn't tackle this project until we expand our second floor next summer. But because when Eric gets a home-renovation idea in his head, he just can't shake it until it's complete.... and also because we already had contractors removing walls in our home anyway.... we decided to bite the bullet and complete the job now.
I know, we just can't be stopped.
So yesterday our contractor, Jamie of JME Services, and his partner, came over to work on the wall you see above. I came home that evening and, as soon as I saw what was done, my jaw dropped.... in a good way.
Try to look past all the horrible drywall dust, exposed studs and wiring..... like I said, this is all in the very beginning stages. But, holy cow what a difference! Just opening up that little space so that you can see through to the bright kitchen from the front door.... it makes the space feel twice as large.
As you can see, the cats approve, as well. Lieu Lieu has already claimed territory over the stairs as her highest throne.
And here's what it looks like if you're standing in the kitchen, looking to the front of the house.
I know, it's in shambles, but use your imagination.
The only thing I'm sad about is the removal of the portion of the wall in the kitchen where my chalkboard and shelf o' kitsch lived.
(Spring is here again, by the way, although the 20-degree high today would have you believe otherwise...)
I'll miss my cute little wall, but the openness of our house completely makes up for it. Besides, I'll find another place for my little trinkets elsewhere.
So there you have it! Another almost on-a-whim renovation project in our house this month. I'm so excited to see the end results. I'm already so happy at the beginning stages, I can't imagine how great I'll feel once everything is all cleaned up and ready to go!
Of course, I'll share the finished results - the removal of both walls - with you once it's all complete. Here's to hoping the weather warms up soon, before Eric gets another itch to bust down something in our house....