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It seems like the stud wall I'd planned to remove to make an open plan lounge/kitchen in my 30 yr old house is not the frame structure I'd expected. I removed a bit of the dry wall on one side to find the top plate but there's no top plate - just a gap between the dry wall either side of the frame that seems to continue up into a 1st floor wall that is above maybe half of the width of the ground floor wall. About a third of the width of the ground floor wall then runs under the staircase. I want to remove the whole ground floor wall and if it was a regular stud frame wall I would have done so but now I'm concerned it may be an issue because I don't recognise this design??

It surely can't be a load bearing wall - it runs parallel to the ceiling joists above and as mentioned the stairs are over about a third of the wall (and it has a doorway in the middle of it). The survey mentioned standard stud walls and didn't comment that any were load bearing. Does this sound like I can safely remove it and block up/plaster the gap??! Is it a standard design for a non load bearing stud wall?
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    Can you post some pictures. 30 years is not that old for building designs, maybe go back 100 years or more.
    – crip659
    Aug 22, 2022 at 17:28
  • It is probably not load bearing because of running parallel to the joists. All walls need to sit on something, usually a floor, so you won't be able to just cut the studs part way up and leave them hanging in the air. It does seem strange to have long studs, which is why pictures are so important.
    – crip659
    Aug 22, 2022 at 18:22
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    Sounds like balloon framing. Locally, that's not done any more due to poor fire performance (good for the fire, bad for the house and occupants.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 22, 2022 at 19:31
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    It sounds like balloon framing, but I doubt it in a 30 year old(almost new) house(unless the builder was a weirdo). Pictures and more exploring is needed, might just be missing something.
    – crip659
    Aug 22, 2022 at 20:19
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    Either balloon framing or the ceiling was dropped for some reason at one time and the original ceiling is up higher
    – Jack
    Aug 23, 2022 at 3:40

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OK, well my builder finally solved the riddle! I had already found a thin 'top plate' just above the level of the ceiling when he arrived so it could be as Jack said that it was a false ceiling, but apparently this is a 'Paramount' wall!!! No wood frame, or just very thin wood pieces between the panels if anything, and a cardboard 'eggbox' structure between the drywall panels for strengthening(!) Notoriously easy to knock a hole in, & my builder says they are put in after the floor & ceiling and are NOT loadbearing! So lump hammers are out tonight!!! (Sorry I didn't get any more photos but I really didnt want to go up a ladder with a camera & a broken wrist in a sling...)

Thank you all for helping to point me in the right direction and I hope this conversation helps someone in the future.... :-)

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    I did lots of searching on a "paramount" wall, kept getting the movie company. :) For future web-searchers, they're apparently also called "eggbox" walls. Aug 24, 2022 at 16:56

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