If your split level kitchen feels closed off and disconnected from the rest of your home, it may be time to consider an open concept remodel. Removing walls to open up the space can make a world of difference, allowing natural light to flood in, improving layout and workflow, and creating a contemporary, inviting atmosphere.
We’ll look at how to assess your current kitchen, weigh the benefits of an open layout, address important structural considerations, and bring your new vision to life.
Assessing Your Current Split Level Kitchen
Before diving into an open concept remodel, take time to thoroughly evaluate your existing split level kitchen. Identifying problem areas, structural limitations, and your goals for improvement will provide crucial insight as you plan changes.
Identifying Problem Areas
Some common problems seen in outdated split level kitchens include:
- Lack of natural light due to small, limited windows
- Poor visibility and sight lines due to intrusive walls
- Confined, cramped spaces that feel closed off
- Chopped up, disjointed layouts that disrupt workflow
- Lack of openness and integration with adjacent living areas
As you assess your current kitchen, make note of trouble spots like these so you can address them in the redesign.
Evaluating Structural Limitations
Existing structural elements in your split level home may present challenges in opening up the kitchen. Carefully consider:
- Load-bearing walls – Removing these requires special structural modifications
- Low ceilings – May limit overhead lighting and visual expansion
- Limited space – Cannot be expanded easily or at all
Involving an architect early on can help you understand feasible structural changes.
Goals for an Improved Kitchen
Keep the following goals in mind as you plan your open concept split level kitchen remodel:
- Bring in more natural light
- Create open sight lines throughout the space
- Achieve a feeling of spaciousness
- Allow for smooth, seamless workflow
- Visually connect the kitchen to living areas
Remain focused on these aims as you evaluate layout options and design elements in the remodel process.
Benefits of an Open Concept Split Level Kitchen
Opening up your split level kitchen delivers some outstanding benefits that can vastly improve the enjoyment of your home and quality of life.
Brighter, More Spacious Feel
Removing walls allows natural light to pour in through enlarged windows and skylights. The open layout creates unobstructed sight lines, lending an airy, expansive aesthetic. Your kitchen will feel significantly larger and more vibrant.
Improved Layout and Workflow
An open concept kitchen allows for freedoms previously impossible with a closed-off layout:
- Move seamlessly around prep zones, sinks, and appliances
- Centralize related tasks to improve ergonomics
- Maintain ideal work triangle configurations
- Smooth traffic flow for multiple cooks
- Easy access to dining and living areas for serving
You’ll be amazed by how much a open layout optimizes cooking and daily kitchen tasks.
Contemporary, Inviting Atmosphere
Today’s lifestyles favor casual, open spaces that promote interaction and bring people together. An open concept kitchen achieves this with:
- Sleek, modern aesthetic
- Seamless blending into living areas
- Spaciousness for entertaining
- Unobstructed views that enhance socializing
Your kitchen will become the heart of your home, ideal for gathering, cooking, and creating memories.
Structural Considerations for an Open Concept Remodel
To transform a closed-off split level kitchen into an open space, several structural modifications will likely be required. Key considerations include:
Removing load-bearing walls requires installing beams or headers to redistribute weight. An engineer can specify structural reinforcements like:
- Steel I-beam with posts
- Laminated wood header
- Double or triple-ply header
With proper supports, load-bearing walls can safely be removed or replaced with wide openings.
Adjusting Flooring and Ceilings
Modifying floor and ceiling structures may be needed to unify the open space:
- Ceilings – Reframing to achieve higher or vaulted ceilings improves sight lines and brightness.
- Floors – Adjust subflooring so floor transitions between rooms are perfectly flush.
Attention to these details creates a seamlessly connected open concept.
Accommodating Plumbing and Electrical
With walls coming down, plumbing and electrical systems will need rerouting:
- Plumbing – Reroute drain pipes, vents, water supply lines impacted by removed walls.
- Electrical – New wiring for lighting, switches, and appliances affected by layout changes.
Avoid surprises – have a plumber and electrician evaluate your plans.
Designing Your Open Concept Split Level Kitchen
With structural considerations addressed, you can focus on the fun of designing your new open concept kitchen. Smart planning is key for maximizing functionality within limited split level space.
Consider the following open layout options:
- Remove full walls – Makes the most impact for light and sight lines
- Create wide openings – When load-bearing walls can’t be fully removed
- Work triangle – Optimize sink-stove-fridge positions
- Island or peninsula – Centrally locate the focal point
- Galley – Efficient for smaller spaces
Weigh options to find your ideal blend of openness, flow, and functionality.
Incorporating ample storage is critical for cramped split level kitchens. Maximize every inch with solutions like:
- Tall pantry cabinets
- Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry
- Pull-out shelves
- Drawer stacks
- Island storage
Creative designs fully leverage all the vertical and horizontal space you have.
Finish your open concept kitchen with on-trend, modern materials:
- Shaker-style cabinets for clean lines
- Quartz or granite countertops
- Subway tile or stone mosaic backsplashes
- Stainless steel appliances
- Light hardwood or tile flooring
- Pendant lights and under-cabinet lighting
Your material choices define the aesthetic and functionality of your new dream kitchen.
Bringing Your Open Concept Vision to Life
With your design complete, it’s time to tackle the remodel process. Careful planning and an experienced contractor set the stage for success.
Hiring the Right Remodeling Contractor
A quality contractor makes all the difference on complex structural projects like open concept remodels. Seek these qualifications:
- Extensive experience with kitchen remodels
- Expertise in open concept, specifically with split levels
- Positive reviews and proven portfolio
- Licensed, bonded, insured
- Architect and kitchen designer on staff
Take your time vetting candidates to find the perfect remodeling partner.
Creating a Project Plan and Timeline
Your contractor will develop a comprehensive schedule covering:
- Project phases from demolition to finish details
- Order of operations for efficient workflows
- Contingencies for potential delays and change orders
- Milestones for inspections and approvals
- Coordination of all subcontractors and materials
Understand the plan thoroughly so you know what to expect throughout the remodel.
Staying On Budget
A major remodel involving structural work can have a substantial price tag. Manage costs with smart practices like:
- Solicit bids from several contractors for best pricing
- Review estimates in detail to avoid surprise charges
- Have clear expectations about included features
- Prioritize must-haves versus nice-to-have upgrades
Proper planning gives you the gorgeous open concept kitchen you want without overspending.
Enjoying Your New Open Concept Split Level Kitchen
After months of anticipation, demolition, and construction, the day will come when your reimagined open concept split level kitchen is complete. Standing in the airy, bright, expansive space, admiring the sleek contemporary finishes, you’ll immediately realize every investment was worthwhile.
You’ll be eager to host your first dinner party in the modern space, showing it off while enjoying the seamless flow from the redesigned kitchen to the dining and living areas. No longer confined to a closed-off cook space, you’ll feel connected to family and friends as you effortlessly circulate during meal prep. Your flawlessly styled kitchen at the heart of your home, this vision you’ve brought to life, will be a space that makes memories for years to come.
Renovating a split level kitchen into an open concept is a major project, but the benefits for your home, lifestyle and enjoyment are immense. By removing walls, you can infuse your kitchen with natural light, introduce sight lines that enlarge the space, gain room for optimal work zones, and create a living area filled with contemporary style.
You can make your open concept dreams a reality with the help of a kitchen remodeling contractor. The investment will transform your split level home into a showcase ready for all of life’s special moments.