Design: Opening a Load Bearing Wall

by | Aug 3, 2017 | Creative Design Solutions

It’s surprisingly not uncommon to find yourself and your family spending all your time in specific areas of your home as other areas gather dust from months or years of neglect.  Some rooms have better lighting.  Some are easier to access. Some just feel right, while others don’t give you the felt sense you’re seeking in your home.

This is what Cindy was facing when she came to us.  Recent empty-nesters, Cindy and her husband were at last ready to update their home and bring new energy into the unused spaces on their main floor.

“We had considered opening up the space before.  There is a loadbearing wall between our living and family room, and we had several contractors tell us that nothing could be done with that wall: we resolved then to bump out the back of the house to make more useful square footage.” Cindy shared.

“When Craig came to look at our home he inquired about the unused space we already had, and was the first person we talked to who said that he could restructure the wall by integrating loadbearing columns instead.  That made a lot more sense to us, so we completely dropped the idea of adding an addition and focused on the space we already had at hand.”

With the new concept unfolding, Cindy and her husband began considering what they would need in their current space to make it functional for years to come.

Cindy attended a home tour in Lake Barcroft where she saw Craftsman style columns and knew those were the style she wanted.  A retired teacher, she was excited about the prospect of placing a bookshelf in the front room, dedicating it as her library.  She was also excited about the prospect of more kitchen space – now that the kitchen came more into focus – where she could better host gatherings with friends.

“We wanted to be able to use our home in a more efficient way. It was really boxy and outdated.  Having come from an open home in San Diego, we knew we eventually wanted this home to have an open floorplan too.” Cindy said.

Efficiency began at the front door.  The front foyer was small, and adding to the crowdedness was the coat closet just over three-feet inside the door.  It didn’t lend to an open airy feeling.  In designing the new space, our designer felt it was more logical to move the coat closet over to the left so the homeowners could have a little more breathing room when they entered their home. This nearly doubled the size of their foyer.

Our designers had to be really intentional when it came to the load bearing wall.  A column placed in the middle of a space can seem random and tasteless.  Keeping aesthetics and symmetry in mind, the new column which runs through the basement level to support the main floor ceiling reflects Cindy’s love of the craftsman style and has another matching column within the space for uniformity.  A soffit in the ceiling supporting duct work was blended into a new trey ceiling, highlighting the library room.

Craftsman Style Load Bearing Column

The Craftsman style columns in this Lake Barcroft kitchen (left) inspired the new load bearing column in Cindy’s living area (right).

Cindy’s passion for books was given special attention, as designer Jon Benson created her a custom built-in bookshelf to highlight her favorites.

custom built bookshelf library

Cindy’s custom built bookshelf with library-style drawer pulls

The grand finale to their renovation was their kitchen.  “I wanted an oversized island for crafting and baking.” Cindy shared.  The two-leveled island grants them a spacious area for cooking and a raised area for standing crafts or morning coffee. “I started a book club because now I have space to sit all the ladies and a space to place a nice buffet for them when they come.”

“As a plus to all this, Craig also helped get me a little seating area where I can put my boots and my keys when I come in from the garage.” Cindy said. “We discovered we didn’t need more space, we just needed to reconfigure the floor plan. Sun Design did it beautifully.”

kitchen island boot closet dining area

Cindy’s boot closet next to the garage door, and a glimpse of their two-tiered island.

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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

Brendan Mahon



10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

Ashley Norman



I am a HUGE fan of Sun Design! The first time that we worked with them was over 15 years ago. We were ready to have a deck built, but not just any deck, and of course, Jeremy was the designer at that time and I remember how he went about designing it so that it looked like "part of the house" - It is beautiful. We recently refurbished it, and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

Patti Ahlstrom



SunDesign came up with a creative design for our screened-in porch that beautifully fits into our existing landscape. Project was executed on budget and their craftsmanship is superb. Their responsiveness to a warranty issue we had with the door was immediately addressed. We highly recommend SunDesign — their teams are awesome to work with.

Gisela Ulmschneider



We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

Jen Navarro



Maryam and Jeff from Sun Design home care department are great to work with. Maryam is very responsive and attentive to all my inquiries. Jeff is my to go guy whenever I need work or maintenance in my property, very professional and thorough with his work. I have been a satisfied customer for 2 years now.

Brigitte Siegall



Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

Susan Louis



I have been working with Sun Design for over 15 years. They are a great company to work with, very friendly and professional staff. They are very clean, responsive, respectful of your property and I have nothing but the great things to say about Sun Design.

Goran Zukic



This review is to introduce you to Sun Design services and to recommend them for your next project. We used Sun Design for a deck – sunroom redesign, and the end result exceeded our expectations. Sun Design is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates ideas to enhance projects, and thus Sun Design has my highest endorsement. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every aspect of the projects they do. They arrive on time and leave the place spotless when the work has been completed.

H. Milton Richardson

Our experience with Sun Design has been nothing short of wonderful. From our initial meeting with Craig to working closely with Morgan & Emily, every stage of the design process has been refreshingly easy despite the fact that our kitchen restructure was complex. With thoughtful consideration to our 124-year-old home, Sun Design presented plans that maintained the character of our farmhouse & resolved issues with functionality & form— all while respecting our desired budget & overall objective.

Sarah & Erkan Orman

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