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October 2006
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Living Room Archways

Like most folks, a lot of remodeling projects are time and money deals. There is never enough of both. Since I didn’t win the lottery last night, and I am waiting for some daylight, an update on the casa lemurzone is called for.

The livingroom is currently the largest room in my house and the least used room. After the soffit adventure and the racetracking, I spent a lot of time with other projects and work for other folks. Computers, Networking, Data Recovery, and some painting projects.

The kitchen is a mess in terms of lack of storage, layout, and my appliances. I want a lot more storage, new cabinets, and more room.

So to get more storage in the kitchen, I am narrowing the archway between the kitchen and the living room. The archway is 10” wide as the wall between the kitchen and the living room is one of the original concrete block walls. The house was built in 1954 and concrete block was the building material of choice for the houses in this neighborhood.

On the top of the photo you can see the soffit and racetracking from the living room adventure. The archway is 48” wide. I am cutting that down to 37”. This will give me a 10” deep pocket on the kitchen side for some built in cabinets and storage. On the left side of the kitchen next to the original exterior door is a light switch that currently controls the lighting that was on the carport, which is now enclosed and the backyard light. I will be building a 2×4” wing wall right on top of that switch and moving it 90 degrees and installing it on the doorway side of that wing wall. This will give me almost 4′ to build storage cabinets.

The framing is in and the drywall is up. For the detail folks, the front of the arch is 2×4 lumber giving me a solid outside corner for nailing the drywall and attaching the cornerbead. On the wall side I used steel studs screwed to the wall side of the arch as it was easier and quicker. It also allowed me to ignore the elevation change on the recess of the original archway. I used drywall screws for the drywall and the corner bead. One was I had no drywall nails handy and the second and more important reason is that outside corners always take a beating. I did also remove the ceramic tile below this as at some point I will be replacing the flooring.

The corner bead is up and the taping is in progress. As you see, I am taping one side of the angles at a time. This will give you a much nicer job especially if you are doing drywall taping for the first time.

The inside of the arch has its first coat and the wall side of the inside corners are coated.

The top of the arch and the bottom of the soffit were designed to allow me to run a band of 3” redwood trim around the perimeter of the room, ala Craftsman style. Unlike a lot of my remodeling projects, there is an endgame here. This band will tie the room together despite the difference in elevation between the soffit bottom and the living room ceiling. It also lets me catch the top of the windows and the top of the doorways.

Here is the archway on the kitchen side. On the left is a line which will be the extention of the kitichen cabinet soffit, which will be made wider to extend the HVAC across the hallway into the laundry room, like I did with the living room. Having HVAC in a room makes it ‘livable’ space for the purposes of resale.

I mentioned before that soffit’s were for the most part badly built boxes to make cabinets look good. However on the plus side, soffit’s lower the amount of cubic space that you are heating and cooling.
My house will be a blend of Art Deco, Arts and Crafts, and Japanese influences. The Japanese influence will be mostly in the pocket doors that I will be replacing a lot of the current hinged doors with. When you only have 818 square feet of livable space, giving up 9 square feet on the floor and 24 square feet on the wall is not my idea of a good time.