I have a "pony wall" opening between the kitchen and family room that I'd like to install an arch in.. The span is about 6-7 feet..At the top of the opening, there is large header spanning the entire opening...Below this header is attached some 2x4 framing with short vertical blockers..this additional framing extends the pony wall an additional foot or so down. (I'm guessing the builder attached the framing to give the kitchen a more closed-in look). What I would like to do is to remove this additional framing to give me additional headroom for the curved arch...However, I'm concerned that this extended framing may be part of the overall support beam, which supports a floor above. What should I look for to determine if I can remove just the extended framing? I assume the wide beam above the framing is the support structure for the opening, but I'd like some expert ideas or guesses from you guys before I start removing the afore-mentioned framing.
Look to see if there are full length "jack" studs under the ends of the header. This would be a continious stud that fits betwen the floor and the bottom of the header. If these are there, then the rest of the framing is exactly as you suspect, and merely there to lower the height of the opening to match others nearby. This is how most framers do it. Considering that you have the headers there, the ends of them must be supported already.