In a move not unlike gleaming the cube, M and I are unifying our duplex. The process involved a lot of imagination as to what this warren of small rooms that used to be a single-family home could be again.

Our contractor has been extremely patient with us as we have vacillated, stalled and rearranged. He’s also provided some valuable advice on what projects we should focus on to actually add value to our house. We orginally thought we could do much of the work ourselves, and, in fact, started by ripping out the back wall of a closet that had been closing off the hallway between the two units. After that dirty, dusty, sweaty work, we looked at how much we’d be saving by doing the demo ourselves (about $1500, out of a 20K budget) and opted out of doing anymore.

Now, if you have the time and the wherewithal to do the demo on your home remodeling project, I’m not against it. However, as parents with two full-time jobs, it just didn’t make sense for us. The contractor’s crew can do the work better (like in the case of saving trim pieces for reuse) and faster. In fact, they do everything a whole heck of a lot faster than we could.

On the first day, the job site was prepared and protected, and walls were ripped open. Within the first week, whole walls had come down and new ones had gone up. Check out the pictures of the progress:


The kitchen before work started


The kitchen after the first day!



Two views looking through the wall to the living room from the once and future dining room

And things soon got more open and closer to our final plan.


now we can look from the new dining room into the kitchen! They built a temporary support wall before the put the load-bearing header fully in.


Looking from the living room, through the new dining room and into the kitchen. Jackscrews were set up to straighten the ceiling, which was not very well supported structurally.


Now this wall is open, too! This pic was taken from our old, small dining room looking into the kitchen.


Our plan involved opening up some walls, and closing some too. In these next pics, you’ll see the door in the kitchen disappear. This will give us more usable counter space in the finished design. You’ll also see the framing going in for a C-shaped bay for the refrigerator (it goes just to the right of that thick post in the last picture above).


No door anymore.


From the kitchen we can now see the front door and the living room!

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And, that was just the first week! More updates to come.