Still waiting to hear from my engineers so I cut out a couple of other small wall sections and had a play with Photoshop to help visualise the end product.
The central column below will eventually be removed:
Looking towards kitchen and bathroom entry:(click to enlarge)
Paul also finished turning the soil in the garden and then went off and collected two big bags of cow poo to help condition the soil and has already planted garlic ready for Spring. He's donating about 6 rhubarb plants to me which will be planted in a couple of months.
All the wet weather recently has also slowed things a little, but at least the place will be green again in a week or so!