Creating a Wider Doorway

My kitchen has no outside walls. That means it has no windows directly to the outdoors. UGH.

I love light, I love sunshine streaming through windows and lighting up my house. This was not the case in my kitchen. Last year I renovated the space and added a pass through window in one of the walls.  Now the sun can reach the kitchen - hooray!!  But it is still not a terribly well-lit space.

Cue my desire to open the wall between the living and dining rooms - the dining room is the brightest room in the house.  That, however, will be a big job because the wall is a supporting wall (at least I'm treating it that way, even if the building inspector didn't think it was).  I decided to tackle the opening from the living room into the kitchen instead since I know for sure that wall isn't supporting.

The existing doorway was not properly trimmed out and it has bothered me since day 1.  My biggest thrill was ripping that sucker down :) .

Naturally this wasn't going to be as easy as I wanted it to be.  Oh no.  For some reason, every wall in this house seems to be covered in multiple layers of drywall.  In this case, on the living room side, it was two layers of drywall, a layer of furring strips and a layer of wood panels.  Sigh...

Here's what it used to look like:

So I tore off the paneling and the drywall to expose the framing.  That was the fun part.  Then it stopped being fun.   lol

Here is the real reason why I have the bookcase against this wall.  This lovely patch of rough plywood with a big hole in it and electrical wires exposed.  A proper feast for Max!

Thing of beauty, eh?

Well now it looks like this because I repurposed the paneling I tore off the other side of the doorway.

Onto the next thing...   Down came the existing framing - and the door header wasn't supported at all (another sign this isn't a load bearing wall!)  All the drywall got ripped off the kitchen side of the wall.  I scored with a blade along the edge closest to my kitchen cabinets to ensure that I didn't destroy the drywall on the side I wasn't going to be ripping down and along the ceiling and corner of the wall.

Then that drywall came down and the framing began.

Two 2x6's on edge, nailed together and set on two 2x4's nailed into the existing studs.  I unfortunately ignored the instruction to insert a piece of 1/2" plywood between the two 2x6s because I didn't have any and couldn't see why it was necessary...  the extra half inch is what brings the header out to the edge of the studs.  Lesson learned!

Can you see the gap between the header and the stud holding it up in the photo below?  Pain in the butt to trim out now.

Then the really fun part of trying to get the two pillars on either side of the door to the same size since I had no drywall on one side and 4 1/2 layers on the other side.  I fudged it with many layers of wood and trim.  Nuff said!

and here it is all done!

I am pleased as punch!!!  Here it is with the paneling painted to match.

I'm a little disappointed that the photos don't show how much better the flow and light is now.  The brighter paneling makes a huge difference too.  Now I'm trying to decide if I should paint the whole room in the Almond Cream or leave the paneling as a feature wall and go with my first choice which was the half shade of Manuscript from the master bedroom makeover.  See photo below - upper portion of wall.

The floor patching was not my finest hour; however, I will be cleaning all that up next summer.

Thanks for visiting!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!



  1. Anne! I don't know how you do this stuff! It looks fabulous, so pretty and open. I was picturing walking through the space and YES I can feel the openness. Amazing how you have a eye (and a brain) for this stuff. Bravo!!!


  2. My word girl, you've done it again! This looks GREAT - funny how something really insignificant in a way can make such a HUGE impact. You amaze me, you do - I don't even know where the hammer is around here, I use a shoe. : - ) I need to channel my "inner Anne!"

    Now my advice? I may not have brawn with design, but I have huge brawn with decor - I'd stay with the white everywhere - you have a lot for the eyes to see, and the white will keep it bright, and allow it to be the canvas for your "stuff." (Busy bookcase, for example.) An eye needs to rest a bit, so help it along by having your walls and paneling as a simple bright backdrop for eyes.

    By the way - I also liked the little skinny mirror on the wall where you just did the opening - that's going to reflect some light into the area as well - something to think about putting back up? Just my humble opinions.

    Well done, looks amazing. Funny thing is I have been wanting to do the same thing - it's my kitchen that is flooded with bright light all day, and my dining room that is darker......we added another window there but oh how I'd love to open up the opening there - but cannot because the HVAC is in the wall right there. Dang.

    Sorry so long. Hugs.

  3. I think you did a fantastic job and I can tell the difference. It looks so much better.

  4. You never cease to amaze me!

    Great job!

  5. Aren't old houses fun? You did a fabulous job... hard to believe that doorway was so narrow in the first place. Your trim work is just perfect! Myself, I would have the whole living room the same colour (beach sand!?)

  6. Oh my Miss DIY you did it again. Soooo impressed. This is great. And let there be light yeah!!!!! Great job.

  7. Your new opening looks fantastic. You are so brave, smart and talented!

  8. Wow that looks great Anne! I bet it feels so nice to have a little more light in the kitchen now :o)


  9. Anne, you are so talented! You must have incredible energy as well as talent! When I get a new blog from you, I call my husband & he says he can't wait to see what Anne has done next! We are always in awe of your creativity and abilities. Have you ever considered doing this professionally? I don't mean doing the labor, but providing the ideas and having workmen do the hard stuff. You have a real gift for "seeing" what can be done to improve a house. So many people would pay for your expertise. We really love your latest project! Bev

    1. Wow Bev! What a lovely compliment!! I hadn't actually ever thought of that as a career but I think you've just described my dream job! :) Thank you for your sweet comment!

  10. Amazing what a few added inches can make. Beautiful work ... and yes, you are a very talented lady and not afraid to tackle a big job like that and make it work. It is harder in old houses because of the difference in the thickness of the wood pieces. I agree with Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest about leaving the narrow mirror on that wall. You are amazing. Just keep on amazing us.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  11. Anne, we had a similar problem with our living room. It as only 1 window, and very little light comes through it. We cut an opening into the wall between the living room and the kitchen, and installed a large antique window. ot only does light pass between the rooms - it really opened up the look of both spaces, since you can through it.

    You did an awesome job!

  12. Yes! It looks fabulous! Great job. Are you planning to trim out the opening from the living room to what I guess is your hallway? Cuz I think cottagey trim around that would look super awesome, too. (See, I know how to make more work for you, Anne. LOL)

  13. wow, you amaze me, Anne. A wider doorway is always nice. I wish you could come over to my house and be my decorator. : ) I love that tan chair with the brown pillow. I have been looking for one just like that. Where did you find that? Your home is so cozy and welcoming, I just love everything about it.

    Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

    love, ~Sheri

  14. You amaze me Anne, and when do you have time to pull these projects off? What a difference it makes. The fact that you've gained more light in your kitchen has got to make you smile!

  15. Hi Anne! :)
    What a huge difference it made, and I know that was a huge job to take on! You always amaze me - you've got mad skills girl!
    I love the brightness of the paneling now too...I would paint the room the manuscript color...I think it might brighten it up just a bit more, even though I do love the color on your wall now too!
    ps...I loved reading the word eh? in your post ;)
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs, Kimberley

  16. Great job. Look nice. You would be surprised at the new homes that are not square and plumb. Now let there be light .:):) Blessings for a fun holiday. xoxo,Susie

  17. You are amazing. You tackle projects only the rest of us dream about doing. Plus your kitchen and living room are so bright and cheerful. Beautiful job.

  18. Anne, you amaze me - loads of RESPECT from me to you!

  19. You've pulled off another amazing project and what a difference it makes. You make me ashamed that my kitchen cabinets are still only half painted and my foyer walls have samples of paint on them waiting for my decision. If only I could blink twice and have it all done. I really like the Manuscript paint color in your bedroom and think it would look good anywhere in the house. I'm not fond of the sandy beige colored paint - have painted over it in my own house too - it always looks either yellow or pink to me, depending on the light. I do a lot of DIY also, although not like you do. You are an inspiration to us all with your framing and construction skills. Can't wait to see what you do next.

    1. What a nice thing to say! Thanks so much Pat. I go through spurts of inspired activity but I have plenty of things that sit half done for long periods, too. Don't lose hope!!


  20. Fantastic job Anne. When you look at the before and after photos, you realize just how narrow the old opening was.

  21. did it again...turned lemons into sweet lemonade!....Unbelievable job!....
    Now, I must say those ceilings look like ceilings we used to have in an older that thick plaster?

  22. It looks absolutely fantastic! You've done a great job at transforming your cottage and I think this transformation really must make a huge difference in your kitchen.


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