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I just bought a Victorian house. Should I open up the first floor?

The question

I recently moved into a century-old Victorian with all its original interior walls. Should I open up the main floor or keep the rooms separate?

The answer

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What drew you to the house in the first place? Maybe it's the charming exterior or the high ceilings; if it's not the small rooms, then open it up. I love Victorians, but they can feel confining unless you blow out all the walls and replace those tiny windows.

But this is a full renovation – when you get rid of interior walls, you also have to replace the floors. Run hardwood floor the length of the building in a matte white and do a baseboard with a simple reveal. Replace the windows with full-sheet glass. You will also have to drop a portion of the ceiling for mechanical duct runs and recessed pot lights.

One drawback to open-concept living is that sound carries through the house. Use carpets, drapes and upholstered pieces to absorb sound, and try to capture the noise at the top and bottom of the stairs with doors to all bedrooms and lounges.

But before you do all this, are you sure you bought the right house? Maybe you should consider a more modern home instead of gutting this one.

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is an architect and interior designer. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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