Walls Get in the Way
Face it. In a lot of old houses, walls get in the way. That was certainly the case for Susan Smart and Art Westerinen, who two years ago acquired a 1901 Shingle-style house in Montclair, New Jersey. The house, which was a jumble of rooms after a 1920s transformation split it into two apartments, was due for a gut renovation, starting with its cramped galley kitchen. But the obvious solution—knock down the wall it shared with the living room—would mean sacrificing a treasured fireplace. So Susan trained her sights on two walls with less weight, annexing an extra bathroom to gain space at one end and removing two slivers of wall at the other. "Then I took creative liberties to make the room feel more open," she says.