1-4 Thicken a Wall, Part IV

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In discussing the thickening of walls to create nooks for built-in cabinets in your home, we’ve mostly been discussing what I would call major thickening. And with major thickening a second wall is built out from the original wall to allow the body of the cabinetry to appear to be recessed. So effectively, we have one single huge wall that takes the place of the old wall.

There is a variation on this called the minor or modest thickening which can be accomplished simply by furring our the studs. A typical furr out where we actually attach new wood to the studs and top and bottom plates, typically this would allow up to about 6″ depth of storage which is about what we see here. This is assuming the original was standard 2 by 4 studs. This would be done by simply ripping new 2 x 4’s down the center which leave 1 11/16 inch pieces that could be nailed straight onto the existing studs. This is very thrifty from a space conservation perspective. The part of the wall where the cabinet is would have no studs in it and so the cabinet needs to be strong.

It would be a bit tricky removing studs and adding headers in places but it can be done. This is not to say that the strength of the wall will come from the cabinetry, but rather from the header that we’re putting in above it. And obviously, if you’re planning on removing studs in the existing wall, you have to know whether it is a load bearing wall and accommodate that load.

You also need a plan for anything else in the wall (in the original wall) for wiring or plumbing. For example, you don’t want to just abandon electrical outlets inside your newly thickened wall. They need to be brought up into the new wall or else embedded in your built-in.