You will have surely noticed that most new homes today, in particular condos, are built with an open-plan configuration. This trend is popular and will continue to be as our living spaces become smaller and more compact. Older houses and condos most typically have compartmentalized spaces with narrow corridors and walled off designated rooms dedicated to a single purpose. With wall removal, it is often possible, even in older homes, to create the feel and convenience of integrated living. Why not consider creating an open-plan living/dining great room with adjoining kitchen? During your next home renovation or kitchen remodel, take advantage of the illusion of greater space and expanded sightlines that an open-plan, open concept configuration can offer.
When envisioning the process required to create an open-plan space, the obvious first step would be to remove the wall.. This involves removing inter leading walls and perhaps even several overhead bulkheads. This process is not as simple as merely pulling down a few walls. The kitchen renovation exercise will likely expose services such as electrical and plumbing. Consequently, these will need to be rerouted accordingly by a licensed electrician and plumber respectively. Furthermore, when removing walls (in particular, removing a load bearing wall in a wood-framed home) concerns over potential structural issues may arise and a professional structural analysis should be carried out. In this case, engineered structural beams would be placed to span the removed wall. Removing structural walls will require city building permits and associated inspections by a structural engineer.
In addition, with wall removal, gaps of between 4” and 6” in your kitchen floor will most likely be exposed. A kitchen designer tip would be to remedy this problem with coordinated flooring placed throughout the newly opened area to create an integrated and streamlined visual.
Several alternatives to consider incorporating into your new integrated open-plan living/dining area and adjoining kitchen:
- New kitchen cabinets and countertops can offer improved accessibility and storage options with the use of drawer equipped units instead of traditional shelved cabinets. Lazy Susans and pull-outs may further assist in maximizing storage and functionality in otherwise inaccessible spaces. Value-added tall floor-to-ceiling pantries or built-in appliance cabinets may also be incorporated in a redesign to help improve practicality.
- Expand your counter surface by adding an island or peninsula complete with additional storage, work surface, breakfast bar and even a serving buffet. In smaller homes, this extra space may even double as a dining room table.
- Fuss free, stain resistant quartz counters are an excellent addition to a kitchen rebuild. Granite and marble alternatives are also available, but require additional care and maintenance. Combine your upgraded counters with a crisp tiled backsplash in porcelain, glass/stone combinations or marble varieties available in countless colours, shapes and sizes for greater impact. For an extra luxe and dramatic look, continue your countertop material as a backsplash. This approach creates a seamless and visually stellar alternative to traditional tiled backsplashes. Or for a more budget conscious alternative to a slab backsplash, consider incorporating large format porcelain tile with tight grout joints to mimic the look of a slab.
- Perimeter bulkheads to house LED recessed pot lights may be used to alleviate the problem of a lack of overhead lighting, while linear undercabinet LED lighting may be included to offer an additional source of lighting.
- Other advantages of a new kitchen include soft-closing door and drawer hardware and easy to clean undermount or farmhouse sinks.
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