I'm renovating an old house in north Jersey and trying to bring it into the 21st century without breaking the bank. The first floor has a very simple layout with the kitchen, living room and dining room dividing the space into three small (fairly dark) areas.
My upgrades throughout the house will consist primarily of ripping out the carpet, refinishing the beautiful hardwood floors, and replacing the hideous wallpaper and wood paneling with new drywall and a fresh coat of paint.
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However, I'm considering getting a little more adventurous and opening up one or both of the walls connecting the kitchen to the living room and the dining room (Wall A and Wall B). I personally like the idea of maintaining the old style with the small, more formal rooms, but this house could definitely benefit from a little extra light and a feeling of openness on the ground floor. Is it worth the expense and the hassle?
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First of all, defintely add AT to your blogroll!
Secondly, we say rip down wall A so that you can open up the kitchen to the dining room, but leave the living room intact for SOME separation.
From your floorplan it seems that it would make a big difference if the kitchen looked into the dining room. We would turn the countertop into a working pass through countertop/bar and expose the chimney as much as possible. With will unite the kitchen/dining experience.
We would leave the living room as is to allow some privacy and allow the experience of a transition through your house. You don't want to create an open "loft" experience in that house.