Would you put a column here? Week 1 in the books....

stacylhFebruary 25, 2013

Week 1 of remodel accomplished a lot and we are feeling good about things so far, despite having to fire our contractor mid-week.

Things accomplished:

(DH did most of demo before this week)

1) Framing (also doing a lower level under kitchen as well that will have a bedroom, bathroom, DH office, my hobby room, and a mudroom).

2) Plumbing and electrical rough-ins
3) HVAC work (rough-in and relocating existing returns)
4) Hardwood floors installed

From reno From reno From reno

DH and I are so exciting about removing half the wall between the kitchen and stairs because it really helps the view from the rest of the house. However, we can't decide if it looks okay like it is or if we should put a column like this one:

Traditional Family Room design by Boston Architect Cummings Architects, LLC.

I'm afraid the column will restrict the view.....would love your thoughts!!

Coming up this week:

1) Windows and exterior doors are being replaced
2) Drywall (Due to scheduling and contractor problems, we had to install the floors before drywall went up - not typical, but doable with good protection)
3) Masonry work (shortening kitchen windows and enlarging kitchen patio door from 5 ft to 8 ft)
4) Possibly firing my cabinet maker :(

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I understand what you are saying about the view, but the half wall with the column really makes the wall look finished. Without it, it looks like an ordinary pony wall.
Unless you have another idea for it?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:14PM
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If we didn't do the column I would have the trim guy wrap the end of the pony wall to simulate a column (but not take it all the way up). It would probably look similar to the pic I posted but without the actual column. I would trim out the entire opening as well and probably used stained wood on the top just like the photo shows.

But, I'm still wondering if it will look somewhat "unfinished."

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:20PM
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The column serves to define the spaces better. And that's usually one of the biggest issues with open plan living. The spaces run into each other and never feel distinct.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Pony walls without columns create a displeasing L shape, and can also make you feel as if something is jutting out at you as you pass it. It's important to make the column stout enough to visually seem like it could be holding something up, although you need not exactly copy the post in that picture.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:33PM
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I think the view restriction from the column would be minimal. We quite naturally step to the side to see past something as thin as a column. I like the presence and definition it gives in the inspiration photo. You could always mock up a psuedo-column. : ) Do you have a local carpet shop nearby that could give you an empty tube that carpeting or vinyl comes on? You could cut it to size and stand it up on your pony wall, and even paint it the trim color if you wanted to. This way you could try it before committing to it.

Best wishes!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Great idea, laughable!!

GreenDesigns, your comment about the open living is very interesting. We are actually relocating our current kitchen to this oversized dining room for that very reason - to eliminate the open kitchen concept present in the main portion of the house and make the kitchen more private (and my dirty dishes not visible from the front door!!)

Since this pony wall is at the top of the stairs leading down to a finished lower level, I really wanted a stair rail instead of the half wall. However, I opted for the half wall because I became concerned about kids swinging on it as they went from kitchen to downstairs and the instability of it.

I think I'll do what laughable suggested and do a mock column to see how much of an obstruction a column would be. It has been such a huge transformation simply removing half of that wall because it was a narrow passage (36") leading from the main part of house to this part (which was an add on by previous owner).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:04PM
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I agree with adding the column. What is the overall style of your home? In our neighborhood, there are many "vintage open floor plans," circa 1900-1930, and all have columns between the living and dining rooms. I love the combination of connectedness and distinction between the spaces. The square column pictured is in the style of our area homes. But if you have a more modern aesthetic or neighborhood, perhaps do a search on Houzz to see examples of simple and more creative columns.

Personally, I really dislike pony walls. They're elbow-catchers, clutter-catchers, etc. I agree they look unfinished, and they are structurally suspect. We have one in my organization's recently-renovated open workspace, and people are forever running into it. The contractor tried to talk our management out of it -- said that it always leads to dissatisfaction because they inevitably get knocked loose (this one's stand-alone, not anchored to a wall). It's not wobbly per se, but it does not inspire architectural confidence. Plus, all us office drones end up leaving piles of files and coffee mugs on it (it's a little higher than bar height, perfect for leaning and chatting and leaving things behind).

Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:27AM
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