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Open Up Your Home

Creating open plan living in a kitchen/dining area or even kitchen/living area can be done by removing an internal wall. But before you reach for that sledge hammer, let’s take a look at the important things that need to be considered.

Identify if the wall is a Load Bearing wall

A load bearing wall is a wall that is an integral part of your home’s structural system. There are ways to identify if the wall you are looking at removing is load bearing.

Look for foundations, concrete footers and girders under the house. If there is a wall or beam directly above any of these on the next floor of the house, that wall or beam is load bearing.

Another alternative is to get a builder or professional structural engineer in to determine if the wall is load bearing. If the wall is in fact load bearing, this must be removed by a professional as the floor or roof above will require strengtheningLaminated veneer lumber (LVL) is a great option for this as it is an engineered wood product that is capable of significant load bearing.

If the wall is non-load bearing there are still potential complications you need to be aware of. These include plumbing and wiring. This can make the removal of the wall far more involved, particularly if the existing layout requires re-routing of pipes for plumbing.

Indoor/Outdoor Flow

Altering the structure of your home, such as changing a window to a door to create indoor/outdoor flow will require the help of a qualified builder and perhaps also an architect. Occasionally extra framing work is required; this is generally looked after by a fabricator who will subcontract to your builder/architect.

The perfect kiwi living area wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a deck where you can enjoy our beautiful long summers with family and friends. Not all decks require a building consent; however they all must comply with the Building Code and the larger the deck the more you need to be aware of. Check with your local Council if you aren’t sure.

Building a deck is not nearly as difficult or expensive as you think, with a little preparation; some basic carpentry skills and willingness to put in a bit of work you could be relaxing in your own piece of paradise sooner than you think.

I can’t knock a wall out, how can I create the illusion of space?

It’s not always financially viable to knock out a wall or build a deck. So here are some easy ways to “open up” creating the illusion of space…

  • Paint or wallpaper using light, neutral colors to give the illusion of space and light. Whites, beiges and greys can make a small space look and feel bigger. By tricking the eye, walls will seem to disappear rather than stand out.
  • Maximise the use of natural light as much as possible. Dress windows using light colored fabrics and sheers to diffuse harsh bright light. Consider having a skylight or solatube installed in the ceiling. Light can illuminate the small space and open it up. If your space doesn’t have windows, use brighter lighting and colors to bring warmth and brightness into your small space. A mirror mounted on the opposite wall to a window can be used to reflect light.
  • Effective use of larger size tiles on floors gives a more expansive feel. Tile edges cut square to provide tighter grout joins will make the surface appear more seamless.
  • Clever positioning of furniture in front of a darker feature wall will help to absorb the darkness. The use of pieces that double in function as storage can help reduce clutter in living spaces.

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