Skip to Content

First Floor Before Renovations

Sharing is caring!

If you’ve been following along on my Facebook page, you’ve been hearing all about our new house that we bought! We just had settlement earlier this week, but luckily, we don’t have to be out of our current house until the end of this month. So that gives us a little over 3 weeks to move things over and start renovations.

And my goodness, we have a lot of renovating we want to do! Today I’m going to show you the first floor before renovations. One of the reasons we decided to buy this house, was because it was VERY well taken care of and in great condition. It just wasn’t our style and the first floor had a lot of small, choppy rooms.

Here is the current floor plan that my husband quick drew up of the first floor.

floorplan larger

I’m going to start by showing you pictures of the kitchen which is the top left room on the floor plan.

This is me standing towards the middle of the house, looking at the kitchen and garage door. We’ll be taking down the cabinets above the peninsula and relocating them to the laundry room (that’s actually happening tomorrow! Hooray!). We’re also taking down all the soffits and replacing the upper cabinets with new ones that extend to the ceiling.

kitchen soffits before

The cabinets are actually in pretty rough shape. They’re almost 30 years old and weren’t high quality to begin with. Some even seem like you’d get splinters reaching in. So even the bottom ones that are staying will need sanded and refinished.

dining room into kitchen before

The other view from the kitchen (garage door looking into the center of the house), is interrupted by this large wall.

kitchen and dining room before

Inside the wall, is the half bathroom for the first floor, the pantry and the coat closet is on the end of it. When we first looked at the house and they still had their table there, you couldn’t even get in the bathroom without moving a chair. I just think it’s the oddest place for a bathroom! The pantry is so small, it’s not even very useful. The coat closet is also an odd location, because it’s not even close to any outside door!

half bathroom and pantry before

We plan on tearing this entire wall down! The whole thing! So when I’m standing in my kitchen, I can see straight through to the opposite wall of the living room!

See that wood stove back there? That’s part of the living room.

back living room into front

And here’s the other side of that large wall that’s breaking it all up.

back living room before

We also plan on relocating that wood stove to the basement, which means we have to remove all the brick. Then we can open up the wall between the front living room and the back family room. We want to just make it all one big space!

living room stairwell wall

So when I’m standing in the front living room, that wall in the middle right (with the return vents), will either be opened up or it will be turned into a half wall/bookshelf with a pillar.  The wall on the left is the stairwell wall. We’re opening up the stairwell on both sides so it hopefully looks something like this when we’re finished:

opening up staircase

(inspiration picture I found on Google with no site that it linked to)

Once we open up both sides of the staircase and take down all the dining room walls, I will be able to look straight across the front of the house rather than have this view:

entryway before

The green room you see in the distance is the current dining room. We have no need for that, so we plan on relocating the half bath to the far corner (where you can see the outlet on the wall).

The picture below is me looking into the dining room from the kitchen. All the walls would come down. The half bath would go to the right of the window. To the left of the window, we plan on putting a coat rack/shoe bench.

dining room before

So this is me standing in the eating area of the kitchen looking towards the dining room. The hallway will be eliminated and the desk will be relocated to between the garage door and what will eventually be the bathroom wall.

Edited to add: We have since decided to eliminate the desk completely. The bathroom wall will now extend the whole way to the edge of what is currently the doorway opening. This leaves room for a nice-sized walk-in pantry where we originally thought the desk would go.

desk hallway before

So this is approximately what our final first floor will look like (with one flooring throughout the whole first floor to tie it together!):

floorplan with walls down larger

My only issue that keeps tripping me up is that I want to fit a kitchen island in somewhere. I had wanted it to square off the layout that was already there, but looking at this floor plan, I don’t think it will work. I think it makes it too tight of a squeeze between the garage door, the desk and the corner of the 1/2 bath. I don’t want to shift it over too far, though, because then it will be off-set and not look natural.

I’m just not sure what to do with the rest of that open space we’ll have by eliminating the dining room walls. An island would be perfect because we host gatherings a lot and need the extra space, plus I would need the storage since we’re eliminating a pantry and the cabinets above the peninsula.

We may have to keep a pillar at the corner of where the dining room used to be (the corner where the desk is in a previous picture), and I thought maybe I could tie that into an island, but I’m just afraid it will look too forced.

Any ideas??

Edited again (sorry, we’ve been thinking about this A LOT!): after meeting with our contractor, we’ve decided to remove the peninsula completely and that will allow us to add an island to run parallel to the cabinets that run along the back of the house.

Since I originally wrote this post, all of our renovations are completed!!

Our plans for the old dining room changed a bit since this post, although it still is exactly what I wanted it to be: our new mudroom and powder room! Be sure to check out THIS POST to see all the changes we made to this space! You seriously won’t believe what that green room looks like now!

THIS POST shows the before and after of the living room renovations after we removed that huge wall that used to include the powder room and coat closet!

We even moved upstairs and completely remodeled the kids’ bathroom and laundry room! Check out the Before and Afters to see some of my potty humor!

Currently, we’re working on the basement! The basement that we said we weren’t going to finish… the basement that we said was just going to be for storage… yep, it’s getting finished as we speak!



Tuesday 7th of February 2017

I also have a 1950's Cape. I'm surprised that you were able to move soo many walls. I want to open my stairwell just like your inspiration pic, but my handyman was fearful of having to compensate for a support wall. I'll have to find a builder. Nice


Wednesday 8th of February 2017

Hi! We actually do not have a Cape Cod style house. This is a traditional 2-story house. Our support beams run parallel to the front wall of the home (that the front door is on), so out of the 8 walls that we removed, only 3 were support walls. The staircase walls were not at all. We actually have completed all of those renovations and in this post, you can see what our staircase now looks like after removing the walls.

It is probably my favorite thing we did with our renovations! It made such a HUGE difference in opening up the first floor and was relatively inexpensive! I hope you're able to do something similar with your staircase!

Abby West

Friday 5th of February 2016

Thanks for sharing your renovations. I love renovating and thinking of all the possibilities. You have such a great amount of space. When I looked at your layout the first thing I said was the peninsula has to go and then you could fit a nice large island in. I think you have to have 32" to 36" around the island from the other cabinets. Then since you lost your pantry the wall space that you opened up by removing the bathroom you could put tall cabinets to make a pantry plus you would have lots of storage under the island. Could you move the bathroom to share the stairwell wall? It just seems a bit out of place over in the corner. You could keep it small since it is a 1/2 bath then it would give you a bit of an entry off to the left of your stairs. Sorry just my opinion. We are renting right now and all I can think about is how I would make this house better and what were they thinking when they built it. Happy Renovating and can't wait to see what you finish up with.


Friday 5th of February 2016

Oh gosh, don't apologize! I love all the suggestions! This is our first time doing anything like this, and we want to be sure we think about things from all the angles. We actually talked again this morning about the kitchen lay-out and are pretty sure we're going to remove the peninsula and add an island that runs parallel to the line of cabinets with the sink. We have a kitchen guy coming tomorrow, so we're going to run that by him.

As far as the pantry, I'm not too concerned with losing that. The one that is there is so absurdly small anyways, so I'm not really losing much by eliminating it. I'm hoping the island will give me plenty of storage anyways! That being said, we're now considering taking that bathroom wall straight to the garage door almost and having the back part of the wall be a pantry or broom closet. I'm struggling also with feeling like the 1/2 bath feels out of place in that corner. I'm not sure if it's because it's hard to visualize it because it looks SO much like a dining room now?? Once all those walls are down and the same floor is running through the whole first floor, maybe it won't seem so awkward?? We don't really want anything on the stairwell wall, because when you walk in the front door, it feels like you're walking right into it. It's a huge visual block. Ugh, this 1/2 bath location is just throwing me!

Kris Brasser

Friday 5th of February 2016

Why not put the 1/2 bath under the stairs with the door either where the desk currently is or on the current dining room side, the latter probably the better choice? If not, you could create a pantry in there. Wait... looking at the pics again, the desk is on the back dining room wall and not on the back of the stairs. I'm guessing there is a door to the downstairs on the opposite side of the stairs going up?

I'm not feeling an island in that area but can't think of any other ideas. What is the front room to the right of the stairs going to be used for? A living room or something else?


Friday 5th of February 2016

Right, the basement steps are right under the upstairs steps. If you look at the original floor plan, you can see both sets of steps are on top of each other. When you walk in the front door, you go down a narrow hallway (with the dining room on your right). As you enter the kitchen, the desk is to your immediate left on the dining room wall. We want to eliminate that hallway, it is VERY narrow.

I'm not really feeling an island there either now that I've gotten in and laid the dimensions out on the floor. But I do want an island and I don't know what else to fill that empty space with!

The front living room is going to be combined with the back living room into one big space. I had mentioned to Tom about putting the 1/2 bath in the front of that room, but he said it wouldn't work as well with the plumbing.