Most of the work we’re taking on is undoing past renovations done in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The thought of changing any original feature of the house fills me guilt. That happens to other old house owners, right?? I guess that’s a good thing though, because it keeps us in check and prevents us from removing the home’s history and character.
But one thing I wanted to change was the size of the doorway between the dining room and living room. It was previously a tiny off-center doorway, and the original door was long gone. The small doorway was once appropriate since the living room used to be a bedroom that needed to be closed off for privacy.
Before, a small doorway between the two rooms mirrored the front doors that were reframed and had their transom windows covered by paneling. A chimney is also hiding behind the paneling to the left of the doorway. I felt that now, however, the doorway should be wider to show the natural connection between the living room and the library/dining room. Since it isn’t a load-bearing wall, some friends and family members suggested we completely remove the wall from the chimney to the front doors. I was immediately uncomfortable with this suggestion because it just felt wrong for this old house. We decided to remove the door frame and extend the opening to the next stud over. It’s not completely centered because we didn’t want to remove any other studs. In any case, it looks more balanced than the old doorway, especially with the newly exposed chimney. We’ll trim this opening like the other interior doors, and it will hopefully look like it has always been that way. For an old house, the studs are remarkably straight. Except the one we actually needed to be straight… Nothing a 2×4 can’t fix!