Why You Should Never Make A Determined Woman Wait

I’ve been waiting for about four weeks for my plumber’s contractor friend to find time in his schedule to come look at my kitchen wall that I want to remove and give me a price.  And I’m still waiting.

Well, I’m not so good at waiting, so yesterday I said to myself, “Seriously, how hard can this be?”  So I sat down at my computer, and Googled “how to remove a load bearing wall” and “how to build a load bearing header.”  (If you’re interested, this is the most helpful video I found.)

Turns out, it’s not that hard at all.  So as of right now, I’m planning on doing it myself (probably with some help from my brother when it comes time to lift the massive header into place).

Don’t worry, I have another contractor on his way this morning to tell me what header size I need, and whether I can use regular lumber, or if I need to use LVLs, and what my local building code requires, and if I need to pull a permit to do this.  When I told him on the phone that I was planning to do it myself, he said, “Oh sure!  It’s not hard at all!”  He should be here any minute.

So yesterday, I decided to get a head start.

First order of business was moving that big base cabinet out of the way.

removing a load bearing exterior wall 1

(Obviously that picture was taken before I skim coated the wall on the right.)

It wasn’t easy, and it took quite a bit of maneuvering, but I finally got it moved into the breakfast room…all by myself.  (Just chalk it up to sheer determination.)

removing a load bearing exterior wall 2

And then I got started removing the drywall on the kitchen side of the wall.

removing a load bearing exterior wall 3

That was fun.  Interestingly, the hardest part was getting the door frame removed from the door on the left.  That thing didn’t want to budge!  But again, the determined woman won in the end.

With the drywall removed from the kitchen side, I could see what I was dealing with on the other side.  It’s the same very thick tongue-and-groove paneling that’s in Matt’s game room.  I was a little shocked to see it there since that was originally an exterior wall, and even more shocked when I realized that at some point it was covered over with not-so-pretty 1/4-inch plywood.  So once I got that off, I could see the paneling from the other side.

removing a load bearing exterior wall 4

I have no idea why someone would prefer the painted plywood to the paneling.  I actually find the paneling quite charming, especially if it was painted white or another light color.  Makes me wonder if there’s any more of this behind the walls of this room.

Anyway, the thick boards made removal quite a bit more challenging than it would have been had this been drywall.  I tried and tried to get that paneling off, making cuts at the top with my circular saw and then beating the heck out of it with my hammer, but ended up only getting a small broken portion off before I broke my hammer.

removing a load bearing exterior wall 5

Yep, I actually broke my hammer.  I’ve never done that before, but the wood handle broke completely into two pieces.  Yep, I’m that strong.  😀

Just kiddin’.  I was actually using a hammer that was much too small for this kind of job.

Anyway, that’s where I left things last night.  I’m pretty anxious to get this wall out of there.  Just seeing that sliver of daylight through the portion of removed/broken off paneling makes me excited!

In related news, y’all have no idea how tempting this is…

home depot stock cabinets

(Sorry for the awful iPhone pic.)

Y’all wouldn’t hate me if I gave in and went this direction, would you?  I’ve used them before, and they can be so pretty.  And I don’t now how much longer I can live without a kitchens sink.  🙂

UPDATE:  I just met with the contractor, and he gave me all the info I needed.  This wall will soon be gone!  🙂



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  1. Your blog makes the best reading! Half mystery, half DIY. It feels like Nancy Drew got into the Do-It-Yourself business and we always know it will turn out okay in the end, but we can’t wait for the next chapter!

    1. I agree! I look forward to every post! I have that same tongue and groove paneling and it is so hard to budge!

    2. Yes, I truly look forward to reading every blog entry! I would definitely go for the home depot cabinets! I can’t imagine trying to build kitchen cabinets. Although I know you can do it. : )

  2. Sledge hammer…impossible to break and great for building upper body strength.

    As for the cabinets, those are precisely what will be going into my new kitchen later this summer. I say go for it and use your building skills on the next big project.

  3. When I was growing up, my dad could do any DIY project, but one thing he’d never do was to remove a load-bearing wall. I see people do it on the DIY shows a lot though. You go, girl! I can’t wait to see it.

  4. heck no! 20% off and it will save you so much time! i’d need my sink! LOL you are my DIY hero. i’d be having a chronic panic attack taking down and heading a load bearing wall… but i’m a whimp!

  5. Go with the 20% off cabinets. When you get finished with them they will be beautiful (and faster) and you will have your new kitchen before you know it. Then on to something else. I’m having so much fun watching your progress. We redid my Grandmothers old house and it was so much fun. Yes, we did it ourselves and didn’t know what we were doing but I still love it. The house is 100 years old this year. Nothing like an old house for a real challenge. Thanks for all you posts, I love every minute.

  6. Strong , hard working woman! Inspirational!
    You go on ahead and get any cupboards you want, we all know whatever you decide , you will make it wonderful!

  7. Go for the in-stock cabinets if they have what you want. We can always go to Ana White to see how to build cabinets.

    1. or….we don’t need to go anywhere else, we can just go to the condo updates that you did. We all saw what an amazing job you did there with the living room built ins!

      You can do them yourself no doubt, but why bother? Save the money! You’re taking down a wall and putting in a header for goodness sakes! That’s a pretty big project in itself. I say…go for the 20% off and cut yourself some slack. This kitchen is already gonna be a huge project without the stress of building all the cabinetry too. Buy the ones on sale and tweek them to your taste!

  8. I love that tongue and groove paneling. Will you move it to your husband’s room or reuse it elsewhere? It would be beautiful painted. Maybe when you finish your garage workshop?

    I think the good deal on stock cabinets would be perfect. You could use your building skills elsewhere in your home. The stock cabinets could be whatever style you want and you can stain, paint or whatever to make them your own.

    Go Kristi!!!!!

    1. Unfortunately, only a couple of boards made it intact. 🙁 I was so disappointed because i wanted to reuse them on a future project (to be determined at a later date) but they were nailed in with such massive nails that there was just no getting them off of the wall without damaging them. I might be able to salvage smaller pieces for some future project.

  9. Hi
    You are one determined lady. I love your energy. Removing that wall is going to improved your kitchen so much. I can’t wait to see. As for the stock cabinets I’d say yes if it’s in your budget. It’ll save you so much time and I’m sure you’ll still be able to achieve your desired look using them.
    Your blog is a wonderful read and I look forward to to each day. Cheers.

  10. Have you tried a prybar? I think you might need one of those tools with the oscillating saw to cut the nails. I bought hubby one when we tiled the floors in order to cut the moldings without having to remove them and to get a more precise cut. I’m not sure of the manufacturer of the one I bought, but I think Dremmel now offers that blade as well.

    1. BTW, I wouldn’t hate you if you used stock cabinets. I know what you’re capable of. 😉 IMO, it’s the best way to go if you’re not going to build them yourself.

    2. I went and bought one of those tools today! 🙂

      I bought the Dremel Max. I actually wanted to buy one yesterday, but the Home Depot I usually go to was out of both models (the $99 and the $129 models). So today went to another Home Depot and got one.

  11. I’m curious what the cost of the home depot cabinets would be for your kitchen? It would be very educational to see you do it either way!

  12. I agree with everone else on the cabinets. They will still need to be finished off with your fab style so go for it!

  13. I always say, “why re-invent the wheel?”. If the stock cabinets suit your purpose and are affordable, why not use them and get to the fun stuff (painting and decorating) that much faster? We know you can do anything but seriously, you don’t have to do everything! 😉

    1. After reading all the comments so far, Lori says it best. We all know you can build anything,,,but you don’t HAVE to build them.. go for the stock cabinets so we can see how you paint them sooner. I have been a silent reader of your Facebook page for a year now, and honestly it is the first thing I look for when I open up my page,, I live vicariously through your adventures.

  14. If those cabinets are what you dream of, then go for it. If you are settling, don’t. I am not saying to build your own cabinets, but keep searching for what you want.

    When hub and I were redoing our basement I was going to settle on 14 feet of cabinets plus a counter from HD. But my hub and I went to a couple of salvage places and found an old school cabinet –14 feet long, exactly what I wanted, with countertop, all for the price of a HD countertop. So much better than settling.

  15. I say go for the stock cabinets! Like others have mentioned, it will save so much time and I would love to see you do a tutorial on building a kitchen with stock cabs – I think it’s very relatable and helpful because cabinets are something I would buy before building and I’d love to see them installed!

  16. We lived for 4 months without a kitchen sink. During a remodel. Nothing like washing dishes in the tiny bathroom sink or the bathtub! (eyeroll!) You do what you need to! Using prefab cabinet boxes is not a tragedy. 🙂

  17. SO exciting! I keep imagining that kitchen wall to be something like this with the double openings, with an anchored island. You could keep electric in there and run plumbing in there too… so I wonder why you are tearing the whole wall down, why not turn it into a half/knee wall?

    Or Is the sink going to be to one side with only one opening?

    I know whatever you do it will be amazing! I think that paneling is charming too! So many potential uses if you can salvage it.

    1. That’s a beautiful kitchen!

      My cabinets will all go to one side with only one opening into the breakfast room. 🙂 If I kept two openings, I wouldn’t have room for a dishwasher.

  18. You’re not giving in, you’re making executive decisions to maximize your time and use all available options. Like that one? I’ve got a million. If prefabs will work, why shouldn’t we use them? Beats cutting down trees and planning your own boards. Can’t wait to see what comes next. Brava.

  19. Exciting!! I wish Matt had videoed you tearing out the wall ! Go for the Home Depot cabinets and countertops (unless you are making a countertop out of the paneling you remove) – like they said above you can move on faster to the next chapter!!

  20. It’s going to look like a whole new space once you get that wall out. What a bonus having a large window in the other room, it’ll really lighten up your kitchen.
    I know you’re capable at building your own cabinets, but buying the stock cabs would eliminate the need to take those extra steps. Plus you’re planning on painting them anyways. I’m hoping our little HD has these as i would like to do a wall of cabinets in my son’s bachelor pad, just like the ones you did in your condo living room. Those are awesome and would offer him a lot of storage, which he needs.

  21. Awesome job Kristi. I wouldn’t want to wait either, I’d be right on it…!! Go for the stock cabinets if you want. I’m sure you’d dress them up and they’d look great no matter what you choose… BTW, I LOVE YOUR BLOG…!!!!!

  22. You are amazing. I can never wait for your next post. I say go with the Home Depot cabinets. You are a genius at customizing, but no matter what you decide I know it will be awesome!!

  23. Love everything your doing! Do whatever you have to do… It’s your home.. We are along for the ride! It may be cheaper buying the cabinets especially when you stop and think about all the time you’ll be putting in on building them from scratch..
    I love your Blog! You have given me soooo many ideas, it’s crazy! Thank you!

  24. I would love to see you make the HD cabinets your own. I’m never going to build my own cabinets-I don’t have all the right tools nor a space big enough to work, but I would love ideas on how to make stock ones look unique and personal! 🙂 Plus, I know once you’re done, they’ll look custom anyway!
    But only you know how valuable it is to you to have custom….so don’t listen to us if it’s real important. But if you’re not a big kitchen type girl, go for easy & splurge somewhere else! Time is money too. 🙂

  25. Go for the stock cabinets! You’ve proven that you can build cabinets, you don’t have to do it again! LOL! I do love your spunk and your blog. As the others have said, it’s a new adventure every day!

  26. Hurry, I wanna see! 😉 What kind of counters are you doing? I’m intrigued by the copper sheeting and wondering if it could be glued over existing countertops.

      1. I showed my hubby your concrete benchtops inspiration and he’s hooked. They are on the agenda for the “Forever House”. Yippee.

        I think those prefab cabinets are lovely and if you are planning that deep green colour you’ve shown us in previous inspirations they will look awesome. I would love to learn how to build my own cabinetry but frankly I’m terrified I would muck it up.

      2. Excellent, I want to see that too! We bought a book of how to do concrete counter tops a few years ago but became quickly intimidated or lazy or a combination of the two. The book and procuring nautilus fossils, geode and other nice semi-precious gem slabs to sink into it was as far as we got.

  27. Wouldn’t hate you at all! I think you should go for it actually …. your talents are better spent doing other things besides building boxes for cabinets…..in my opinion. Of course, you do what you feel like doing, but I would sure be tempted to get those cabinets!

  28. USE the premade kitchen cabs!!! And save your building expertise for other more creative, custom jobs! No hate here. 😀

  29. Kristi you are a riot. I love your determination. When you’re finished come on over and you can help me with a few projects!

  30. I can hardly wait! I cam see that daylight peeping thru and I want the wall gone
    I agree go with the stock cabinets & save your energy for the “fun” stuff.LOL

  31. can’t wait to see what is next! Question???!!! what are you going to do with that wood when you get it off the wall??? hope you keep it. it is gorgeous!!! cause if i lived close to you and you had planed to get rid of it, i would be then on your door step and taking it off your hands! hehe
    keep up the good work!!

  32. FYI – I just inquired about the Home Depot Cabinets myself. When I asked how long the cabinets would be 20% off the manager told me they run this “sale” every two months.

  33. I say – buy cabinets!!! I am in the midst of a kitchen reno of my own and was looking at the HD and Lowe’s cabinets, but ended up going a different route. I don’t know if you want to stain/paint your own special color, or if you have a ‘stock’ color in mind. I purchased my white shaker style from cliq studios, they haven’t arrived yet, but the sample was very nice. There are also very nice quality ready-to-assemble cabinet companies (one in Temple, I think – Surplus Warehouse) for comparable prices (sometimes lower) to the low end stuff from the big box stores.

    I’m not associated with any of these companies – just throwing out a suggestion and voicing my whole-hearted agreement with ‘we know you can build anything’ so go ahead and skip to the ‘fun’ stuff 🙂


  34. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE (who ever pete is) GO FOR THE 20% OFF CABINETS! Very smart and practical.
    p.s. You provide me with so much entertainment! THANKS!

  35. Here I thought today would be nothing much going on with you finishing the wall and ceiling……Wrong!! I love tearing out walls …….. can’t wait to see what is new everyday.

    1. No, I’m not worried about lead dust. If any lead dust has been released into the air, it’s very little. Most of the dust in the room (and the house) is from me sanding the drywall mud.

  36. Go for the cabinets….you have paid your dues!!
    Go see the guy on Washington Ave….he has lots of hammers and most everything else you could possibly need!!
    I’ve never seen so much stuff in my life!!

  37. I think it’s so cool you’re doing the wall, and I have to say it too, You Go Girl!! The 20% off cabinets would look fab with that amazing green color on them. The doors look a whole lot like your inspiration picture. It’s a win-win, conquer the wall and save time and $ on the cabinets too. Go for it!

  38. AMAZABALLS!!!!!!!! I am packin’ my bag and bringin’ a comfy folding chair and a bottle of wine to TX. I am going to sit and watch you for the about a month. It will be the best vacation I have ever had!

    1. Ummm…if y’all think for one second that I’d just let you sit and watch, you’ve got another thing comin’! 😀 I’d have you up, power tool in hand, and working away. No rest. No vacation. 😀 But we’d still have a blast!

  39. Good grief- use the stock cabinet. In my opinion, DIYer’s like yourself are the ones that can take full advantage of items like that. It’s a basic box- why not gain some time and enjoy customizing the heck outta of it. lol

  40. I look for your posts everyday…….you keep me wondering with “what’s next”? I am truly enjoining your brave adventure and challenges.
    Way to go girl!!!!!

  41. Amazing! You amaze me. And intimidate me. Or maybe me intimidates me…you know the thought of me with power tools and a hammer knocking the s*** outta something…or someone!!! Kidding! I do think you could totally rock the in-stock cabinets. But as for the bad iPhone picture…I got this! Several things: if you are using the basic iPhone camera, when you have the item you want to photograph on the screen, use your finger to tap the screen…this forces a focusing of the lens. And it helps. Or camera+ is a great app for taking and editing pictures on the fly. And facetune is great for editing. I know you aren’t in the photography business, but maybe this will help you hate those pictures less!!! Good luck with the wall and headers! I can’t wait to see your progress!!

  42. To change the subject a bit. At one point you were thinking about concrete counter tops. Young House Love has a great post today on that very subject. It did not look bad at all and with your love of sanding, it is right up your alley.


    Back to the subject at hand…go with the stock cabinets, you are going to personalize them anyway. And on the selfish side, if you build them yourself it will take too long and I want to see ‘the next step’ without all that waiting. It is so much fun to open your blog and see what you are up to, it is never predictable 🙂

    1. Yes! I saw that they had finished their countertops! Right now, I’m going back and forth between doing the Ardex countertops for now, and saving up for the marble countertops I’ve always dreamed of, or just doing real, actual, pour-in-place concrete countertops.

      Part of me really wants to save up for that marble since I’ve dreamed of marble countertops in my kitchen for so long. And I’ve convinced myself that the etching that happens with marble won’t bother me, and that it’ll just add to the charm. But then the other part of me is scared that the etching really will bother me, and that I will have spent thousands of dollars on countertops that I feel like I have to baby because I don’t want them to etch.


      I just don’t know. But if the etching would bother me, the obviously concrete would be the way to go.

  43. Ok, wow, I’m again impressed with you tearing out that wall and your plans to install a load bearing header! I think you should be runnig the country! Goodness knows you’d get more done, creatively, and at an economical rate than the way things currently are run!

  44. Go for the stock cabinets if you can get the look you want. Promise, we won’t hate you. In fact, I would love a tutorial on how to make stock cabinets look custom.

    1. Me too! We need to update our kitchen and that $15K quote we got from Home Depot is more than I want to spend on a house that we’ll probably move out of in a couple years. I’d love to see how I could take some nice stock cabinets and make them look like the more expensive ones.

  45. You’re the most amazing ball of fire I have ever seen. You are extremely brave, to boot. I’m so entertained each time I check your blog or facebook page.

    Why would you even think of all the work of making custom cabinets, when we all know you are going to customize and stock cabinets you put in anyway?

    So much fun to watch.

  46. You are so bad! LOL! I also have a load bearing wall I want to remove and after following your kitchen remodel I am running out of excuses.

  47. Agree to use the stock cabinets. They might be less expensive than material. I can’t wait to see those green cabinets with your white appliances.

  48. I think you should go with the stock cabinets. Stock cabinets will save you time, probably money, a lot of headache, and you can dress them up to make them look like expensive custom cabinets.

  49. Hi Kristi, Go for the 20% off already! It’s not as if you are sitting around looking for something to do. Go with it and spend your time on another step of the project (or another project). I’m having to catch up on what you have been doing for the last few weeks. Had laptop problems and ended up replacing. I won’t go into all the stops and starts of the whole process but learned that NOTHING I do seems to be simple and straight-forward anymore. I’m not certain I could change a light bulb these days without several “unexpected events”. My life has become a Three Stooges movie!
    Can’t wait to catch up.

  50. You’re taking down a load-bearing wall by yourself? Brave woman! While I’ve seen it done on television over and over I know that no matter how meticulous I’d be with instructions, my house would probably collapse around me LOL! Glad you have your brother’s help in putting up the new I beam. Those weigh like 250 pounds! Good luck with it! I actually see another email from your blog here so you’ve probably already finished the job. I can’t keep up with you, busy woman! Enjoy opening up that wall and the sunshine that will pour in! Hugs, Leena

  51. Hi Kristi, any chance you can update the video link of how to replace a load bearing wall?! you are an inspiration, a dangerous one!!! 😉

  52. This is the perfect explanation. I think the good deal on stock cabinets would be perfect. You could use your building skills in a different place in your home. You are one determined woman. I love your energy. Your blog is a wonderful .cheering.