Oh the joys of the sunken living room. I believe this was 1970’s architects’ attempt to create some interest in their design. But for us interior designers trying to simplify and maximize unnecessarily complicated floor plans, these sunken or raised living spaces can be a major bummer. They limit the size and type of furniture you can use in a space and limit how you can use the room.
Fortunately you can actually fill in your sunken living room for a reasonable investment. The price tag is approximately $5,000 +/- depending on your actual square footage. Keep in mind that this doesn’t factor in the cost for new flooring, but if you are already considering upgrading your carpet to hardwood this could be the perfect time to update those sunken 70’s living room vibes as well.
In the case of our Mission Viejo home, it was a raised living room that was two steps up from the rest of the first floor. Along the perimeter of the raised area was an iron railing so that you wouldn’t fall off the platform…super classy. When we bought the house we assumed/hoped/prayed it was framed with wood and easily removed, but no. This was the beginning of a very long list of unfortunate surprises during our remodel. Instead, the raised platform was actually 10” of dirt with a 4” layer of concrete on top which connected to the outer footing and stem wall. There were a slew of other things that we had modify after we removed the raised living room (i.e. the stairs which connected to the top of the platform and the fireplace) but the cost to jackhammer it out, connect new rebar to the existing foundation and pour new concrete was $12,500.
When I got bids for the job this was by far the most reasonable and it was one of those times when, as I watched it all unfold over the next two weeks, I wondered if I was paying them enough because it was CRAZY how much work (and dust) went into the whole thing. Once it was gone our living room felt about 1,000 times bigger. Worth. Every. Penny.
We used Professional Foundation Repair based out of Garden Grove in Orange County. I recommend them to my interior design clients whenever a similar project comes up. Visit their website and get their contact info here: professinoalfoundationrepair.com
Now for a few before and after photos of our space…