Help! Ugly load-bearing beam driving me nuts.

MestenaAugust 9, 2014

We have the UGLIEST load bearing beam in our house, and after 3 years of staring at it, pondering it, and cursing it, I still haven't gotten any closer to a solution. We are working through a total kitchen remodel, and this beam is now standing in the way of our progress. I consulted a couple of contractors, and they both agreed that the beam can't be removed without some pretty serious work on the roof structures, which will cost quite a bit. That kind of thing is outside of our budget right now. So, I am hoping to hear some ideas about how to mask it, or at least make it less of an eyesore. It is awful! On one end, it sits right over the top of our main entry door, so that when you walk in the door, you feel as if you will be cut in half should it fall. On the other end, it stops about 12" into the hallway, on the OUTSIDE of the hallway wall. Oh, and the beam is made of glued-together 1-by strips, with wood glue oozing out between the strips. It is pretty much the nastiest, cheapest, ugliest job a person could do. HELP!!!

In this photo, you can see how the beam is located between the kitchen and the living room area: https://www.facebook.com/photo...4127816&l=cd6003e7ff

And in this photo, you can just barely see how the beam ends in the hallway, if you look at the top of the right-hand wall in the hallway. The beam just sits there, protruding about 12" into the hallway. It is just terrible! https://www.facebook.com/photo...5847859&l=5dff8804e7

What can I do with this?

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graywings123

I can't access your photos.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:35PM
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Fun2BHere

Unfortunately, your photos don't seem to be accessible. Without seeing pictures, my only idea would be to add a drywall box around the beam and paint it either the ceiling or wall color, whichever would allow it to blend in better.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:05PM
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chibimimi

I can't see the pictures either. I also cannot understand why it stops in the hallway, without a wall to support the end. Is it cantilevered to support a wall upstairs that sits where it ends? If not, could at least that bit be taken off or at least extended to the wall on the other side of the hall? Or am I misinterpreting the description?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Mestena

Oops sorry, here are the photos.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2505955847859&l=5dff8804e7

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2505954127816&l=cd6003e7ff

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Mestena

I was also confused about why the end stops in the hallway, with no post to support it. What I discovered is that it is bolted straight through the ceiling into the roof trusses, to prevent the trusses from splaying with heavy snow loads.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:04PM
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stolenidentity

It would be nice to see the pics - why don't you just post your pics on this post instead of linking folks to facebook - not everyone has a facebook profile or wants one.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Mestena

In this photo, you can see how the beam is located between the kitchen and the living room area. I apologize for the photo not really showing the beam clearly. I took this photo before we moved in 3 years ago. I plan to take some more specific beam photos when I get home. I am away from home for work, but wanted to start gathering ideas now.

Also, side note: The cabinets and flooring shown in this photo are GONE GONE GONE. Happiest days of my life, ripping those out! :)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:22PM
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palimpsest

I would cover it with drywall and make a division between the kitchen and the rest of the space like a very large trimmed out doorway.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Mestena

In this photo, you can just barely see how the beam ends in the hallway, if you look at the top of the right-hand wall in the hallway. The beam just sits there, protruding about 12" into the hallway, with no supporting post or anything. I had a thought that we might box the beam in with drywall, and create an arched entry into the hallway, which would disguise the protruding end of the beam relatively well and make it almost look like it should be there, perhaps with an architectural post element on either side of the hall entrance. Something like this: http://cdn.decorpad.com/photos/2014/06/11/m_840a9a337022.jpg

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:27PM
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sundance510

I would definitely snap a better photo of the beam in question and the space as a whole when you can. Everyone here has such great ideas as long as you give them the fodder. And now that I've compared us all to cows, I will offer suggestions based on the little I can see. You could drywall around it as mentioned above. You could paint it the same as the ceiling. You could do a wood veneer in a stain of your choice to keep a more rustic look. You know it has to stay, so design around it and then when you get your pretty new kitchen installed, it might not even bother you anymore. It might help to post what look you're going for in your new kitchen... Inspiration photos or materials etc. Also, you said it's getting in the way of your reno... Do you just mean aesthetically or are you changing the layout of the kitchen?

Also, I used to live in Kalispell too!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:34PM
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palimpsest

I don't know if, with the protrusion you could do something like this:

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Mestena

I really like that idea, actually. I hadn't considered doing something like that, because I like the wide open spaces that we have. It's one of the redeeming qualities about this sad little dark kitchen. But if we did something like the illustration above, we could keep the open feel to the floor plan, while delineating the space just a little bit AND hiding the ugly beam. Cool idea!!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Mestena

Sundance,

Small world! How long were you in Kalispell?

Here is the design for our kitchen reno, so yes, we are changing the layout of the kitchen, but we're not tearing out walls or anything drastic like that. I do think the beam will become an even greater eyesore with our new pretty kitchen installed! Mostly, the location of the beam is what bothers me the most. It's not even terminated inside a wall, which I could deal with. It terminates on the outside of a wall, in a silly place at the hallway entrance, which is what really drives me bonkers. If I box it in, we will still have a silly looking protrusion into an otherwise smooth hallway wall. Ugh!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I don't see a major problem here. You can do as palimpsest suggests or you can wrap the beam to make it more of a soffit.

In my kitchen/fr area, we added a soffit to visually separate the two spaces without an actual separation.

And you can add a header at the top of the hallway to help conceal the fact that the beam continues into the space.

Rather than a problem I think you will be happy with the results of openness+better definition.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:02AM
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graywings123

That beam is like the HVAC venting that most of us have in our houses. You box it in with drywall and paint it the same color as the ceiling and it goes away visually.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:22AM
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erinsean

We painted our beams the same color as the ceiling and they just disappeared. Originally they were rustic looking dark stained wood.
We did not box them in....just caulked, with paintable caulk, where the beams met the ceiling and painted all the white of the ceiling.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:33PM
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