1970s Kitchen Expansion

By: Danny Lipford
Completed kitchen remodel, wall removal, and expansion.

Completed kitchen remodel, wall removal, and expansion.

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In this episode we’ll give a whole new look to a vintage 1970s house that is in need of some serious updating. Not only is the kitchen to be completely remodeled, but the wall between the den and living room will be removed to open up the living space.


The house contained an outdated kitchen that was separated from the adjoining den by cabinets. Our plan included completely gutting the kitchen and den, as well as taking down the wall between the den and living room. The red line on the existing house plans indicates the section that will be removed.

Removing the wall will create one large room of almost 800 square feet. New cabinets will be installed along two of the walls in the old kitchen with an island between it from the rest of the living area.

Demolition Work

The original kitchen had been constructed in place with the components nailed directly to the walls. This made it impossible to remove the old cabinets without destroying them in the process.

In order to remove the load bearing wall between the den and living room, a temporary wall was constructed to support the weight of the ceiling joists.

The studs in the old wall were removed while the drywall on the living room side was left in place. Once the laminated wood beam supporting the ceiling joists had been installed, the existing drywall was cut off flush with the bottom of the beam.

With the wall gone, the space took on a new dimension as light from the windows in the living room flooded the previously gloomy den.

In addition to the other demolition work, we also had to move the vent pipe for the stove hood to accommodate the new cabinets and cut a trench in the slab to run wiring to the island.

Recessed Lighting

To give more light to the room, recessed light fixtures were installed in the ceiling. Since the ceiling was already in place, remodeling cans were used that fit directly in holes cut in the drywall.

Patching Drywall

The removal of the old light fixture left a hole to patch in the ceiling. Rather than enlarging it to the adjoining joists, a “hot patch” was used to repair the hole.

To make a hot patch, start by cutting a piece of drywall several inches larger than the hole. Remove the excess wallboard from the patch while leaving the paper intact.

Next, spread a thin layer of joint compound on the surface of the existing drywall and edges of the hole.

After inserting the patch in the hole, use a drywall knife to press the paper into the wet joint compound.

Once the patch has dried, feather out the edges with more joint compound and allow to dry before sanding it smooth.

Cabinets, Trim, and Painting

When all the drywall was finished, the new cabinets were installed in the “L” shaped kitchen, starting in the corner.

As soon as the wall opening had been trimmed out and crown molding installed around the room, the painters arrived. The new cabinets, along with the windows, were covered with sheets of plastic so the trim could be sprayed. This not only saved time but gave the woodwork a silky smooth finish. When the trim was dry, the walls were rolled using a desert tan colored paint.

Countertop Seam Puller

The seam in the granite countertops was glued together using a two-part epoxy glue. To clamp it firmly while it dried, a seam puller was used that employs a vacuum pump to attach pads to each half of the countertop. The two pieces are then pulled together with built-in clamps and held in place until the glue sets.

Ceramic Tile Floors

After applying a leveling compound to the slab, the floors in the entire area were covered with 20” x 20” white ceramic tiles to give the room an open, spacious feel. Matching 6” tiles were used on the backsplash behind the kitchen cabinets.

Completed Project

Taking the wall out between the den and living room really opened this house up while the beautiful kitchen cabinets with granite countertops and ceramic tile floors added the perfect finishing touches.

Other Tips From This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Caulking Wide Cracks

Caulking Wide Cracks

One of the best ways to save energy in your home is to caulk cracks around windows and doors. While caulk alone can be applied to narrow cracks, gaps wider than 1/4” should be filled with foam backer rod first. These flexible foam tubes are available at building supply stores in several diameters. Push the rod into the gap with a putty knife or painter’s tool until it is just below the surface then caulk over it.
(Watch This Video)

Best New Products with Emilie Barta:
GE Side-by-Side Refrigerator

GE Side-by-Side Refrigerator

The new GE Side-by-Side Adora refrigerator saves energy by incorporating a small door that opens from the outside to provide access to often used items without having to open the main door. A keypad on the outside allows you to set the temperature and also features a door lock button. GE Side-by-Side refrigerators come complete with pullout shelves and a high volume water dispenser. They are available in several finishes at Home Depot stores.
(Watch This Video)

Ask Danny:
Keeping Appliances Clean

Hey Danny, do you have any secrets to keeping appliances clean? I spend more time cleaning than cooking. -Carolyn from South Carolina

Keeping Appliances Clean

One approach to keeping appliances from showing smudges and fingerprints is to choose a textured finish. Stainless steel can also be a good choice, but make sure to select models that are a composite of stainless steel and other ingredients, such as nickel, which help make them almost smudge proof. To keep them looking like new, use a stainless cleaner from time to time to restore the shine. (Watch This Video)

Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.



Please Leave a Comment

11 Comments on “1970s Kitchen Expansion”

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  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 13th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Hi Bernadette,
    I don’t have the exact dimensions of the laminated beam that was used on this project (it appears to be a foot or more wide), but the size you need will depend on the length of the span and how heavy a load the existing wall supports. Check your local building codes to find out what’s required, or have an engineer or contractor determine what you need. Good luck with your project!

  • Bernadette Says:
    October 12th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    We are doing something similar in our house. I was wondering what size the beam used in this project was?

  • Deb T Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Pat: At the top of this page on the right you can click on “view full episodes online”. That will link you to the episode you want to watch which is number 644.

    To answer your other questions, without seeing a blueprint of the house its hard to tell if it would work or not. Load bearing wallas are not just the outside walls of the house as I am sure you are aware. It sounds like a wonderful idea.. and a btter use of space as long as you are not giving up a bedroom. I think the only mistake would be if it were a three bedroom, making it into a two bedroom ( which isnt the issue here) would lessen the chances for a higher resale value. Good luck. I hope this helps.

  • Deb T Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Iris, The cost is totally dependant on how your home is structured, what is found when walls are removed, etc. I doubt anyone could give an answer to that without all the factors and actually seeing the home. When walls come down there are sometimes surprises. Good luck.

  • Pat Says:
    March 24th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I saw the end of your program of the remodel job as you were showing the finished product with the before and after shots. It is similar to my idea for our home. We have a small kitchen with a separate den/dining. The kitchen wall with no cabinets is common with a bedroom. The bedroom has a large double window that is a common wall with the back patio. I would like to remove the common wall of the kitchen/bedroom, open the double window to a double door onto the patio, move the dining furniture to the previous bedroom area, convert the dining/den into a large bedroom. The bedroom closet back wall is common with the den. Change the door opening and it will open into the new bedroom. The load bearing walls are all on the perimeter of the house so that would not be a factor in the changes.
    Do you think this would work for us? Our home is a small two bedroom one bath brick built in the 50’s. We are retired and do not need more room, just better space.
    I enjoy your show always, just wish it came on at a different time locally. Sunday morning, 10:30-11:00 when I am dressing for church. Does it repeat any other time during the week?

  • 'iris Campbell Says:
    March 23rd, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    The 70’s kitchen expansion is so what we need and could do – can you give me an idea how much this kind of remodel would cost??

  • Jan Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Sherwin Williams is the manufacturer of Desert Tan according to Danny.

    Thanks Danny

  • Jan Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Color is Desert Tan, but I don’t know the manufacturer of the color. Maybe review the corporate sponsors on the web site to find out.

  • Tisha McKay Says:
    January 7th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    What a diffenece a family makes. This classic home with all its charm transformed into a open and welcome family space. I hope the lovely family enjoys all thier blessings.

  • Deb T Says:
    January 2nd, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    THIS IS EXACTLY what I am trying to talk my husband into doing, except our walls are non load bearing walls that divide the dining and living room from the kitchen and only are eight feet high ( we have eighteen foot vaulted ceilings) opening this up would make such a dramatic impact but my husband is arguing that it would decrease the value of the house ie: fewer rooms. I believe its sf ot the number of rooms that add to value..plus..given that its a split level home..and youd walk up into a huge room with ( from the foyer level twenty two foot ceilings or better) the immediate impact would be dramatic. Any thoughts?

  • T. Thompson Says:
    December 1st, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Looking for the brand and color of wall paint from this episode.???

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