The coastal cottage has had a lot going on lately and today I’m super excited to share with you the biggest transformation so far. Today I’m sharing with you the new open layout and the brand new stair location that has completely transformed the first floor!
The cottage is around 900 sq. ft. so space is limited. When we first bought the house, the stairs nearly slapped you in the face as you entered through the front door and they felt like they were overwhelming the front room.
We knew from our first walkthrough together that we wanted to move the stairs so we didn’t walk right into them when we came in the front door. Also, because the rooms are tiny we wanted to create the feeling of more space. While we didn’t want to make the first floor one large room, we wanted to make them feel more connected by opening up the doorway between the kitchen and front living area.
The stairs were taken down first to get them out of the way. Our goal was to reuse them so we made sure they were taken down carefully.
The next part was to open the doorway between the kitchen and living areas. The plan is to take the 3’ doorway and expand it into a 9’ opening. This required a lot of structural work that started with new concrete piers under the house to support the new load. Then temporary support walls were put up to hold up the second floor while the new beam was put into place. This allowed for the existing wall to be taken down, the ceiling joists trimmed back to allow for the new beam to push up into the ceiling as much as possible.
We also took the time to double the ceiling joints / floor joints for the second floor because the span is technically farther than would be allowed today and the second floor felt a little flexible when walking around up there.
Once everything was secured, the temporary walls came down and we had our new opening. The difference this made is insane and really lifted our spirits to see this major milestone behind us.
The next part of this major change was installing the stairs in their new location. This required a lot of framing because the old stair opening cut in perpendicular to the ceiling joists above and the new stairs run parallel.
I wont get into all the details on this but the second floor was basically reframed on this side with doubled joists like we did on the other side of the room.
The new stairs line up against the outside wall which makes the living area feel so much larger. They also land just beside the upstairs window and make the upstairs space feel twice as big too. This was a big project but the results, and what it will allow us to go upstairs in Phase 2 is well worth the effort, time and money now!