I am in the process of buying my first home and my head is already spinning with update ideas. The main idea, in particular, is renovating the kitchen/dining. There is a wall separating the two spaces and I believe the wall is load bearing, as there is a second floor and the wall is perpendicular to the floor joists with supports in the basement directly beneath. I haven't moved into the home yet but I want some input from others on this topic.

My assumption is that the load bearing wall has already been removed and replaced with a beam. If you notice on the attached pictures, the wall between the kitchen and dining already has an opening indicating to me that previous owners may have already installed a beam. And that wall is "lower" than the wall in the adjacent space. My thought is they want to cover the installed beam. My plan is to open that wall up entirely (between kitchen and dining) and add an island in between the spaces.

My question is this: IF there IS a load bearing beam in place, can I remove the 2x4s framing the current wall and add columns closer to the center of the beam to frame the island around? If there is NOT a beam in place, I intend to install a beam and build from there. Essentially, I'm asking if I can remove studs attached to a load bearing beam and add new ones in different places?

I hope I articulated my question well enough. I've added pictures and assumed/proposed drawings to illustrate what I'm asking. Once I move in I can better assess the situation and start remodeling from there. But the question still remains: could I remove studs and add new ones. These are just assumptions and I'm anxious to move in and find out for myself first hand! And I know I may be jumping the gun having not moved into the home yet, but this is driving me nuts and I just want to know if this idea is valid or foolish. Any input would help put my mind at ease. Even if my thought is entirely asinine and you feel the need to tell me so, HAHA! Thanks! Kitchen/Dining View 1Kitchen/Dining View 2Assumed Wall ConstructionProposed New Construction

  • If you're basing your initial assumption on something other than wishful thinking, do share.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 20:15
  • Thanks! To be quite honest, it was about 90% wishful thinking and 10% assumption just based on that bigger opening where the counter is. Like I said in the original post, I haven't moved in but my slight OCD was getting the best of me and I wanted some feedback. I really appreciate your input! My mind can finally calm down on this for a bit.
    – AL7248
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 20:19
  • Funny thing is, I was just reading one of your responses on a beam question asked previously. I'm glad you could provide some input on this! I tried to hone some structural knowledge from college (I took some Dynamics and other structural courses while studying for my BSME) and assumptions just based on what I was looking at. I know course work is vastly different from real application, but having a knowledge of load bearing is helpful. Again Thanks for your input! It was very helpful!
    – AL7248
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 20:28
  • I've retracted my close vote. You appropriately included a big IF that I had overlooked. One more tip: Live in the space for at least a few months before bringing in the sledge hammer. You may find it performs differently in practice than in theory. Enjoy.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


It's highly unlikely that there's a full beam in that wall. There's probably a doubled 2x10 header over the opening. Plan on installing a 3-1/2" by 14" LVL beam (or steel) to span that distance (after talking to an engineer, of course).

You can remove studs under a load-bearing beam if the beam is designed for the resulting span(s) and the remaining studs (posts) are properly supported below.


I think (having torn into more than one wall of a 1970's home) it is much more likely that there is a small header spanning the doorway only and not the entire wall. This will mean managing the new openings you make to distribute the weight appropriately to the posts you include in your picture. Consulting an engineer on how to do this correctly would be quite helpful.

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