Natalie’s Bungalow Renovation

Natalie from Calgary wrote us recently with the following question:

“Hi John and Matthew,

My house is a 1950′s bungalow and is approximately 1000 square feet. I would like to remodel the kitchen and would also like to remove the wall that divides the kitchen from the living room and dining room (basically, it would open up the
whole area). A structural engineer told us that we could remove any wall on the main floor without adding a support system. How would you renovate my home?” – Natalie

Today’s Slides:

  • Matthew North

    I also just wanted to add a couple of clarifications. I am proposing that there is no wall along the narrow counter in the kitchen (maybe just a half wall so items don’t fall off down the stairs).  This means the stair to the back door and basement would be open to the kitchen. I am also suggesting that we add a window on the wall to the backyard and open up the wall between the dining room and the stairs so you can see through to the back yard from the dining room. And as always……I am interested to see if there are any other alternate reality design options that you can come up with? I’d love to see them and discuss!!

  • Li-Na

    Matthew, what do you envision that 12″ deep counter would be used for? (I don’t mean to sound antagonistic, I’m really just wondering!). :-) 

  • John Brown

    Hi Li-Na,
    Good question.  12″ is the depth of an upper cabinet  and is an ideal size for dishes and dry goods storage. In this small kitchen those cabinets will provide some much needed storage.

  • Li-Na

    I see where you two are going with this, John…you’d use upper cabinets as base cabinets instead. I guess I’m trying to figure out what I would use the actual counter space itself for if I lived there. I’m afraid if it were my household, there would be a tendency for that area to accumulate clutter, haa!! :-)

    Just thinking aloud here, I’ve been trying to come up with an alternative but no luck yet! ;-)

  • John Brown

    Hi Li-Na,
    A 12″ counter wouldn’t really be that useful from a food prep point of view. However, given its location by the stair I think it would be an effective “dump zone” for the stuff of everyday life. The reality is that all these things need to go somewhere and in this situation the available area is contained and of limited size, keeping the rest of the cooking surfaces more open (hopefully).

  • Jonathan Newman

    Judging by the dropped beam in the photos that runs between dining room and living room to the kitchen wall, the wall that John and Matthew want to remove is supporting and will need to be replaced by a beam regardless of what the “engineer” said.