Open floor plans are the new requirement. I like older compartmentalized homes but it’s much easier to parent children and throw parties in open spaces (unless you have a mansion.) Like many older houses, our home had a formal living room, formal dining room and a separate family room. The formal living room idea always makes me laugh because it reminds me of furniture wrapped in plastic to be unwrapped, say, for when the President of the United States would come to visit or something. We don’t like to entertain any of our visitors in secluded rooms requiring undistracted eye contact, so we tore a hole into the wall and converted the formal living space into a more casual dining room.



The new opening brought in natural light from the windows into what was a very dark room. If you recall from the last post, there was hardly any natural light entering into the family room; it looked like a cabin.



After cutting open the wall, we decided to build out columns and add additional trim for visual and textural appeal. We did have to buy more sheets of wood to match the original paneling on the wall, but we were able to salvage some of the wood (you can see some of the darker sheets of wood against the lighter newer pieces.)


Although block paneling is a bit old school to some, we chose to paint it white which gives our home a bit of a traditional Cape Cod look. Additionally, the quality of the wood was just too good to throw away simply to replace with much cheaper standard sheetrock walls. I really learned the cost of wood paneling when we had to purchase additional material to re-cover areas of the walls. We also raised the entrances into the living room and the dining room to give the illusion of a larger space, and removed the two sets of built in shelves. Obviously our home was built when the sales of physical Britannica Encyclopedias were booming.


And finally a picture of our very formal guests…