Making storage to build into wall between studs


Has anyone ever done this and lived to tell a happy tale? ...
I live in an apartment and want to open up a wall separating my kitchen from the dining area. There is already a pass-through. I want to remove the drywall to the right of it and install shelving units between the studs and attach doors on both sides of the wall for access from the kitchen and dining area. From the ceiling down across the length of the wall above the pass-through I want to remove the drywall and install patterned glass panels to allow more light to enter the kitchen. I would buy the doors and glass panels and make the shelving (which would be painted on the outside to match the walls). There is an electrical outlet box that would have to be relocated about eight inches to the left and may or may not have to cross a stud.
Before I start taking down the dry-wall... Is this an idiotic plan or not? What kinds of "gotchas" could I expect once I start making a mess? What's the best wood to use for the shelving and how should it be finished inside and out (I haven't done well painting unfinished wood before -- the result was never durable enough).
Thanks in advance for any advice... -Gene
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Some things to consider:
1. Can you legally do this? You said you live in an apartment - could be you own it - you didn't say but if you rent or lease the landlord might want a word or two with you before hand - or later during the law suit to recover any damages...;-)
2. Is it a load bearing wall ? Are you sure - how do you know?
3. If it's a load bearing wall and depending on the local codes, you may have to have an architect make up some drawings and get them approved before starting construction. If you jeopardize the integrity of the structure and it sags or worse - you could be in trouble.
4. I've installed bathroom cabinets in my own walls (non-load bearing) and had to cut the studs out in between. In my case the sheetrock was not only nailed to the studs but they used an adhesive. In order to not ruin the other side of the wall in an adjacent room, I had to use a hacksaw blade to cut thru the nails and the adhesive to remove the stud sections. No fun. But you're going all the way thru so that should not be a problem.
5. You indicate you have to move one outlet but are you sure there are not any other wires or pipes in that wall that you want to put a big hole in? Vent pipes, water pipes, drain pipes, whole-house vacuum systems, etc. Pipes and wiring could be from another apartment above/below yours.
See how simple these 10 minute projects can be.....
Bob S.

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Even in an owned apartment there may be limits to the amount of structural remodeling that can be done by residents. Covenants may require architects and contractors be employed for the job.
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On Sat, 28 May 2005 22:46:10 GMT, Lobby Dosser

Yeah. If I lived in an apartment complex (thank God I don't) and the guy who owned the unit downstairs started cutting up walls that were holding up my floor, I think I'd have some pretty strong words for him.
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BobS wrote:

I own the apartment.

It is not a load bearing wall. Other people in the building have completely removed this wall. It has been established via the building's managing agent (this is a cooperative building) that all interior walls are NOT load bearing.
...

Based on other people's renovations in the building it's safe to assume that there is only electrical wiring to worry about. I'll allocate A LOT of time to carefully remove the drywall first (no deep plunge cuts) before dealing with studs and conduit. If moving the box is not trivial I'll engage an electrician.

Which is why I've solicited advice from the good, knowledgeable folks in this group. Nothing beats hearing from people experienced with these sorts of things. So, in the spirit of "measure twice, cut once" I'll take my time and make sure to proceed safely. THANKS!

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Are there Rules?
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Things to consider.
If the wall is a load bearing wall removing sheet rock will weaken the wall unless you replace the sheet rock with something to help keep the studs from bowing. Sheet rock will keep studs from bowing, leaning, etc. It is very likely that the studs in the walls will not be parallel to each other. It is very likely that the studs will not be evenly spaced.
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Eliminating a portion of a stud is not much of a problem. You will simply have to provide a header and footer to the opening and uprights on each side to support them. The biggest problem is probably that outlet. If the wire is running through your intended opening you will need an electrician to re-route it. In areas where coding isn't a problem (this probably does NOT include you) the wiring will have to be cut and a piece spliced in in order to get aroun the opening. The splices will have to be inside approved boxes.

remove
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Not if he just cuts out a piece big enough for your basic medicine cabinet, or even somewhat bigger. Actually, he could probably remove the sheetrock from floor to ceiling in one stud pocket and not cause any problems.

Not sure why you suggest the Leon. I think even spacing is a resonable enough expectation in most construction. If nothing else, it's something safe to assume going in, anyway.
I'd be more concerned with his plan to put the glass over the pass through. He's going to have to remove cripples to do this and he'll end up with a significant span that could be a problem.
I'd be even more concerned with a tenant doing any of this kind of work. Most rental agencies won't allow tenants to do this kind of stuff for a lot of very good reasons.
--

-Mike-
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Lawsuits from the owner of the building.
Penalties and financial costs involved in returning the wall to it's original condition once the landlord calls out the building inspector.
Do call the L/L before you do *anything*
steve
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It really sounds like he is going for more than a medicine cabinet sized removal of sheetrock.

It is absolutely not reasonable to assume "all" even spacing of studs in a wall. Walls are not built to lengths that are evenly divisable by the stud spacing lengths and existing openings are not required to be located next to evenly spaced studs. If the distance between a stud and an opening/pass through is more that 16/20" there is going to be another stud in that distance. For instance the between the opening and next stud could easily be 8" followed by 16 oc spacing from that point, maybe.

Agreed.
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Sorry - thought you meant just sloppy construction.
--

-Mike-
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wrote:

Your landlord will kill you? <G>
Barry
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wrote:

Make sure your landlord okays it, obviously.

Small shelves, but if that's what floats your boat, I can't imagine it would hurt the wall much.

This is the only bit I see a problem with- Walls move, whether you'd like them to or not. If you're mounting glass tightly into the studs, expect it to crack if (when) the house settles. Your windows don't crack because the opening is framed to accomidate glass- something a regular wall is not necessarily suited for. Of course, if you mount them in a floating frame of some sort with a little room to move, they should be just fine.

I don't think I'd do it, but that doesn't make it idiotic, just a different style preference. You can make a shelf out of just about anything, really. If you want to paint it, just make sure you prime new wood first (that may be the answer to your durability problem?)
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Prometheus wrote:

I own the apartment.

...
Right! We will get glass doors to mount on both side of a shallow cabinet to allow the light through.

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