help! change layout of old home to open concept

nene45February 15, 2014

We bought what I think is an american Foursquare and I want to change the interior layout to open concept. The house was built in 1915 and there was an addition of a kitchen and sunroom put on around the 70's I think. I want a ULTRA MODERN floor plan. The house has arch ways between the rooms which I started knocking out.

The rooms can be switched around or can stay where they are as long as it can be an open concept. Where do I put the TV once I give it an open concept??? Also I wanted to put in an electric fireplace. I was thinking of getting rid of window in family room and making the wall a fireplace wall and put rectangular window at ceiling line to still get the light in, but I am not sure. I love Sunlight and I want tons of windows and I want decorative glass exterior doors. So many decisions to make and I am really confused and stressed right now.

I have the kitchen posted in the kitchen forum trying to design the kitchen. Due to the size of my appliances the KD I am working with says the sunroom has to go. He suggests removing the wall and utilizing the sunroom for the kitchen. I am debating adding a 5'ft addition off of what is now the sunroom cause I have a 5 ft concrete pad out there already that I could utilize.

I originally had planned to put sliding glass door on the back of the "Original" Sunroom so I could let me dogs outside with ease rather then having to go out the side door and walk them around the yard to take them where the fencing is, but if I use the Sunroom for the kitchen I can't do that.

Another dilema is my husband comes in dirty from work and I want a place for him to come in and take his shoes off so he doesn't dirty the house.

I am so confused I don't know what to do??? Suggestions please!!!!

The pic below is the interior layout now. I tried my best to draw it.

Pic below Front of House. You can see the Rooftop Deck which the door in the dining room goes out to.

Pic below. Back of house. The brick shorter part is the kitchen and sunroom. where those buig bushes are that are now gone are where the concrete pad is and the Sunroom exterior door

Pic below. what is now family room and to the right you see the arch going into the living room. to the left you see how we knocked out the wall trying to open the kitchen, and straight to the left you see the exterior door in the sunroom/

Pic below. Standing in family room knocking out arch into dining room.

Pic Below. Standing in existing kitchen looking into family room

Pic below. Standing in family room looking to left is kitchen too the right is Sunroom.

Pic below. This is the small Sunroom. We knocked out the wall next to the side door that separates the family room from the Sunroom. To the left is the opening to the kitchen and that is the wall the KD says has to go.

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Sophie Wheeler

Instead of destroying the charm of the grand old lady, try to work with her bones. You aren't going to ever make her ultra modern, nor should you try. Those gorgeous plaster walls and arches should be respected, not ripped apart. Where is the structural engineer? The architect? Hire some professionals NOW before the roof caves in and you've done too much damage to the value of the home by destroying it's original features. You can't just start taking down walls without a plan in place first.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:48PM
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Sorry, can't offer any advice more than what hollysprings has already mentioned regarding experts. I love the structure and what looks to be a cobblestone street.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:58PM
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At first I thought this was meant as a joke or to cause ire - "open concept", "ultra modern", "knocking out archways", all to a 1915 Foursquare. What Hollysprings says, no need to add any more comments.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Believe it or not the arches were added in around the 70"s. The house has the old knob and tube and it is cheaper to knock out the walls. I bought the house not to restore it but to make it the way I want. I found the original blueprints to the house and believe it or not the changes we are making are actually bringing it back to the original.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:40PM
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Please tell us a structural engineer or architect was consulted before the demolition began, and guaranteed to you that the second floor wouldn't collapse should you gut the first floor.

And if the answer's No, please consult one before you go back inside.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 1:58AM
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Ok maybe I should explain a few things that I guess I didn't explain I absolutely love Ultra Modern and we were going to build a very modern house before we bought this house, but when I seen this house I just fell in love with it. The house I plan to make ultra modern with my furnishing and with the kitchen. When we bought the house we knew it needed a major overhaul. What I loved about the house was that the rooms were not closed off and I knew opening them up more would give more of an open layout. Before we start knocking out any walls we did consults with several contractors. We have only knocked out the arches and part of the wall which divided the Sunroom and Kitchen from the Family Room. After we bought the house I found the Original Blueprints to the house which showed that these arches were never here. I thought it was funny how the changes I wanted to make were actually bringing the house back to it's original layout. After talking to the neighbors I found out the arches were added in the 70's and so was the Kitchen and Sunroom. My thinking was by opening the wall it will follow suit with the rest of the house. I think the "Original Kitchen" may be where my Family Room or Dining Room is. It's hard to tell on the blueprints.

When the addition was built of the Kitchen and Sunrrom they also added another section of basement. Now there are 2 levels in the basement. They way they laid out the Kitchen is really unorganized and does not allow for a dishwasher and the placement of the basement door and steps make for a very difficult Kitchen Layout.

The attached Garage and Rooftop deck were added in the 80's or 90's and I absolutely love it.

I guess my question for everyone really is what rooms would you designate for what? What room would you put the TV in cause every room has a door or windows on the wall. As far as the Kitchen I am debating on putting on a small addition so my husband can take off his shoes before he comes all through the house?

After posting the pictures on the Kitchen Forum and getting the great advice on there it was suggested that I get a structural engineer to find out if I can remove the 1 column from the Family Room to the Kitchen. My KD also suggested the wall, which I know is weight bearing, be removed and utilize the Sunroom as part of the Kitchen. I do have a Structural Engineer coming out before we make any attempt at tackling that and I also have the Contractor coming out.

So no worries to all. I love this house and am not changing it they way you are thinking I just need advice on if I added on how would you do it, from the side or back of the house and where to put a 55" TV and make what room for a Family Room? I appreciate everyone's input. Thank you

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Yes, the arches. I agree with you now because I remember on Rehab Addict she knocked out some arches saying they weren't original to the house. Sorry. Didn't think until after I posted.

Good luck with all the work. Please post "afters"!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Can you post the original plans? They would be interesting to see.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:59PM
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The photos and the plan diagram tell us little about the possibilities for opening up the plan.

I do this for a living and I can tell you that your demolition procedure is ill-conceived and dangerous. The first task of a major renovation is to collect accurate information and use that to draw plans to scale; an approximate diagram is of no use as a design tool.

The first step is to measure the outside perimeter of the house foundation and then make a scale drawing of the basement showing all structural supports, then measure and draw the first floor and then remove the ceilings above the first floor and sketch the joist framing on a copy of the floor plan noting which walls support them. Then measure and draw the second floor and inspect the ceiling framing from the attic. Then post that information on this forum and design the house; then draw the design to scale get a building permit; then start tearing out walls on the first floor.

What will be the biggest design challenge will be where to locate posts and how to hide the beams that will take the place of the bearing walls you remove. They can sometimes be hidden above the ceiling if the spans are not too great or perhaps they can be placed below the ceiling and be organized into a pattern that looks intentional. Open plans mean big ceilings and they must be carefully designed in advance.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Yes I will post the Orignal Blueprints when I find them. We packed o many things up and i do not know where they are right

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:32PM
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@ Renovator 8. I will work on the measuring as soon as the snow clears. The only wall I want to knock out is the one between the kitchen and sunroom and the 1 structural column. I do have an engineer coming out to look at this wall and a contractor before kitchen gets into full renovation.

Where I live there are no building permits required which i think is crazy but that is how it i here for what i am doing.

I do not want to raise my ceiling I think they are all 11' or 12' now.

When I do the measurements I will post. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:39PM
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I've just finished this in our house. You need a complete set of plans of the current house and your proposed modifications. Your structural engineer will then tell you what additions and modifications are required to do this. In my case I have over 20' of 4x10 tubular steel supported by assorted 4x6 steel posts. As well I ended up pouring a few concrete pads to anchor the posts. Not a little work, but I did all the welding myself. We are very please with the results.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:14PM
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I will post the Orignal Blueprints when I find them. We packed o many things up and i do not know where they are right

I would think you would want to find the original plans so that you can show them to the structural engineer.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 6:43PM
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From what I recall they did not show anything structural. They pretty much just showed the layout, but caue they are so old they were hard to read.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Approaching any project without a master plan already in place before it begins is extremely shortsighted. You NEED a local architect to help to create flow out of higgledy piggledy. They will engage a structural engineer to review the home's support and what can and cannot be done as far as removing walls. What you have done so far is dangerous and you need to engage someone immediately for your own safety. If your insurance company were to do one of their periodic inspections, they could cancel your coverage. That happens, and your mortgage gets called.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:59AM
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