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Create a Dining and Entertainment Space

Open up smaller rooms by removing a dividing wall.

More in Kitchen

create dining and entertainment space

Step 1: Remove the Dividing Wall

This home had a typical kitchen/dining area separated by a wall that created two small, squarish rooms. Removing the dividing wall opened up the space for family and guest dining, and an entertainment bar with wine and glass storage provides a comfortable, functional gathering spot for conversation and serving.

Before you begin demolition, be sure the dividing wall is only a partition and not a load-bearing wall. Check the basement for a matching wall below it or support columns extending to foundation footings. Also look in the attic to see if the wall extends upward to support the roof rafters. These indicators, if present, usually require engineering advice and professional building assistance before you proceed.

If the wall is a non-load-bearing partition, next check for wiring or plumbing in its interior. Knock holes through the drywall to look inside. If wiring exists, shut off the circuit at the main electrical panel, then disconnect the wiring at the nearest outlet or switch. Use a circuit tester to ensure the line is dead before you cut or remove it. Plumbing also will have to be rerouted before the wall is demolished.

Begin demolition by knocking holes in the drywall between every stud. Use a flashlight to probe the stud bays for any obstructions. If clear, pull the drywall away from both sides of the framing.

Remove the wall framing studs with a sledgehammer or reciprocating saw. Depending on the condition of the wood, it may be possible to save the 2x4 studs for later use.

pull drywall away from both sides of framing

Step 2: Repair the Surrounding Area

For the walls and ceiling, measure the gaps to be filled and cut strips of drywall to fit into the spaces. Secure these strips with drywall screws into the wall and ceiling framing.

Cover the seams with drywall tape, then apply premixed drywall compound. Allow the compound to dry, sand lightly and apply additional coats as needed to hide the joints.

Flooring repairs are often harder to disguise, especially with wood floors. Try to find wood that closely matches the existing floor. Because half of the original wall area will be covered by the new cabinets and counter, you may find sufficient matching flooring in a closet or other unused area where removal and replacement won’t be visible. Alternatives include adding new wood and refinishing the entire floor so the repair isn't noticeable; using new wood finished in a contrasting but complimentary color; or placing a threshold strip over the gap.

cover seams with drywall tape

Step 3: Create the Cabinetry

There are several ways to create a cabinet base for the entertainment and serving counter. You can use kitchen wall cabinets, which are typically 12” to 16” deep, or reduce the interior depth of standard base cabinets to fit. The original 24" deep base cabinets used here were cut to 16" deep to provide support for an overhanging countertop. Both types of cabinets are 32” to 34” in height, which is a suitable height for bar stools.

To connect multiple cabinets side-to-side, first remove the doors, then clamp the adjacent cabinet stiles together. Be careful to line up the edges exactly. If the cabinets have face frames that add width to the fronts, insert wood shims between the cabinet backs to allow for this extra width.

With the cabinets clamped together, use a countersink drill bit sized for 2” wood screws to bore screw holes through one stile edge into the neighboring stile. Insert the screws and remove the clamps.

create the base cabinetry

Step 4: If You Use Wall Cabinets

If you reduce the depth of your cabinets, you’ll need to add bracing below the bases to prevent the cabinet floors from sagging. Measure the width of each cabinet and cut a piece of 3/4” plywood to fit underneath, between the cabinet sides. Glue and nail it into place.

If you alter the depth of the cabinets, the drawers also have to be cut to fit. Use a jigsaw to cut the excess length off the back ends of the drawers, then use glue and screws to replace the backs. If you do not require functioning drawers, you can simply cut off the drawers and attach the drawer fronts to the cabinets.

Measure the total width and height across the back of the cabinets and cut a piece of 1/4” hardwood plywood to fit. Attach it to the cabinet backs with glue and 4d finish nails. Paint or stain the plywood to match the cabinets.

Step 5: Install the Cabinets and Countertop

Use wood shims to level the cabinets in place. Attach the cabinets to the floor with L-brackets. The entire assembly must be firmly attached, level and even across the top for the countertop to rest securely on them.

Position the countertop and attach it to the cabinets with L-brackets. Add wood moldings around the underside of the top and the cabinet base to hide the mounting brackets. As an option, the countertop can be attached to the cabinets with decorative brackets that remain visible.

The quartz countertop shown here was attached with an adhesive recommended for this material. First, the cabinet tops were reinforced with a 3/4" plywood top that provided additional stability and a strong, flat surface.

use wood shims to level cabinets in place

Step 6: Create the Wine Bottle Rack

Use one end cabinet for the wine bottle storage unit. You can leave the door on or remove it to display the wine, as shown here. Use the cabinet’s interior measurements to create a grid template for the bottle rack. A 4" square (5-1/2" diagonal) opening for each bottle is standard.

Cut 3/4" hardwood strips to fit this opening. Cut the ends at a 45-degree angle to enable the strips to fit squarely within the box. Glue and staple the strips together in a diagonal pattern to create two separate lattice panels.

Install one lattice panel in the rear of the cabinet about 2" in from the cabinet’s back wall. Install the second lattice panel just inside the face frame in the cabinet front.

create wine bottle rack

Step 7: Create the Wine Glass Rack

Wine glass racks can be assembled from two separate strips of hardwood attached to a wood base. The result is an open-ended slot that supports inverted T-shaped wine glass stem bottoms.

The strips can be cut to any length. The length of the racks they create depends on the installation space available. To cut the strips on a table saw, tilt the saw blade to 45 degrees and rip the edges from both sides of a 1x6" board. Return the saw blade to 90 degrees and, measuring from the angle tip, rip each of the board’s angled sides to 1-3/4" width. Use screws to attach these strips to another 1x6" board, lining up the square edges so that the angle cuts face each other. This will create a deep "V" slot with an opening 2" wide and a maximum gap at the top of about 3", which is adequate for most glass stems.

Attach the racks to a backing sheet of 1/4" finish plywood and to the wall at the end of the countertop, and add wood moldings as needed. Depending on how you space the racks, they can also serve as shelves.

create a wine glass rack

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