1-3 Thicken a Wall, Part III

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We’ve been talking about thickening a wall in your house to make a cavity for built-ins. One objection to this is the obvious fact that this creates quite a bit of dead space. You can see that there is a lot of volume of unused space here in the wall. And many people object to that and feel like, “Hey. I’m paying money to keep this area warm and dry and I’m not using it.”

Well, houses are full of large voids – only some of which are used for human movement or open and airy space which is important for certain parts of the house. But I believe you can be successful with this strategy if you look for areas that wouldn’t suffer from being constructed a little if it means getting very effective storage space in return.

But I really believe that what you lose in raw volume on built-in cabinets, you get back twice in usefulness.

Another common question is what if I have windows or doors – in this case, an opening in the wall – will the strategy still work? Well, see it will, and here’s an example. It simply means that you must also thicken the door jamb or the opening. And this creates those classic, thick wall, castle-like openings.

Let me go back to this shot and point out some of the hidden benefits of the thicken strategy. First of all, it allowed for this wonderful little inset around the framed art of the fireplace. Also, once this pass-through was thickened, there was room for light switches here.

Finally notice that a little bonus that got thrown in with the thickening here is that the HVAC duct, which was running up here to the rooms, is now incorporated into the wall. And so now it’s been effectively hidden, and probably we’re looking at a basement here.

Here’s a rather obscure and very advanced version of a thicken. It’s to thicken a corner to create a nook for a built-in. A round has been used, but another possibility would have been to use a chamfer of 45 degree turns like this. One major drawback of these would be that they require more advanced mudwork, unlike a simple thickening.