Bigger Kitchen

by Denita Wallace
(Oregon)

I have a tiny galley-style kitchen which doesn't even have enough room for two people to pass each other without turning sideways. There is room in the living room to punch out the wall in that direction, but I think that wall is load-bearing. This is an old house and I think the original house had an outside wall where the kitchen meets the living room. The kitchen was converted from an outside porch, I think. What would a person have to go through to do move this wall? Is it something that a homeowner could do herself? or would we need to get a contractor?

There are many updates I would like to do with this kitchen, but I would hate to do any of them if we were going to enlarge later, so I think the enlarging needs to come first.

MY ANSWER:
First, find out if it is a load-bearing wall. To do this, look in your attic to see which direction the ceiling joists are going. A load-bearing wall goes across the ceiling joists, not in line with them.

If it was an outside wall at one time, it's definitely load-bearing.

I don't recommend this as a DIY project. The ceiling beam will need to be supported while the wall is removed and while extra beams are added to strengthen the ceiling joist above the now-open space. Depending on how long it is, the new opening may require support posts or pillars. If you're adding a bumped out new wall rather than just opening the kitchen to the living room, the support posts may not be necessary.

Call a couple of licensed contractors to give you estimates. You could do the finishing work (like drywall) yourself to save some money.

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