My husband and I recently purchased a home in Orange County, CA (note: earthquakes). The home was built in 1981, and is two "levels" if you will. The entry way, living room, all bedrooms, and a couple bathrooms are one level. The lower level is about 16 inches lower... from the entry way you can step down into a walkway, family room, and then beyond is the kitchen etc.
The living room and family room are right next to each other, with a two way fireplace in the middle, high ceilings (vaulted, but about 18 feet at their highest. There is no wall between (with the exception of the fireplace).
My husband and I would like to combine the living room and family room into one large great room if possible. But there is the 16ish inch-thick concrete foundation that is higher (I'm not sure if I'm making sense, so Im' trying to be descriptive as possible...I'll get a photo). If we were to break into this concrete would we be breaking the foundation? And if we DID break the foundation, could we fix it, or would we compromise the structure of our home?
Due to the roofline, raising the foundation in the lower room is not an option.