A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Basement Fixed!


2008093004I am officially crossing the basement off my list!

Come on downstairs.

Yes, the stairs themselves leave a lot to be desired, especially since the last two steps have been patched in (see my post on cat pee to read why). When we re-do the stairs to the second floor (located directly above these), we’re hoping to rebuild these as well.

We’ll need to move the wall on the left 6 inches over in order to widen the staircase to the second floor, so it would be nice to extend the extra elbow room to the basement stairs as well.

Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, however, you’re greeted by the best basement door EVER! (IMHO)

This is a door that we brought with us from our previous house. At the time it separated our living room/dining room/library from the rest of the house, but it wasn’t original to the 1960s raised ranch.

The dining room/library was originally the third bedroom in that house, so after a few months on the market without much interest, we converted that room back into a bedroom. It was the absolute best move we ever made because we sold the house within weeks after that. Of course that meant the room would need a solid door, but either way we had planned on taking this door with us because it has a history with Pete’s family.

Anyway, we originally thought we may use this door when we remodel the attic, but after working out the plans we found that there wouldn’t be a good use for it up there.

In the basement though, there was originally a hollow-core generic door here, but we had to throw it out because —— you guessed it ——— it was soaked with pee from the PO’s cats. So what better way to close off this area but still allow light to come through than with this door?

Once you step into the finished space, it’s pretty much the same layout as we’ve had before.


It’s when you walk into the space and turn around where it really has changed.

Here is how it looked when we took possession of the house:

After tearing out the lower half of the wall for cat pee remediation:

Up until now, trying to hide the lack of wall by shoving a bunch of stuff in front of it:

And today, a cozy, usable space!


  1. Jacky on September 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Looks great! I love the door!

    We also recently replaced our basement door w/half glass door. It really changed the space w/extra sun light.

    I love the new space next to your fireplace. Looks like a totally different room now.

    Btw, I’m curious how you guys finished your basement floor. Is it concrete? Stained? We have unfinished basement, thinking about tiling it since we sometimes have heavy rain in winter, Basement can be slightly flooded. So carpet is not our option.

  2. denise on September 30, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks Jacky! Yes, I too am really amazed at how much it changed the space.
    Re: floor, yes, it’s concrete. The PO had painted it with an tannish-gray oil-based paint and it has held up pretty well. If I had a choice though, I would love to do an acid-etch stain on it with varnish, but I doubt we’ll ever do that.
    Our floor slopes a lot toward the sewer drain so tile wouldn’t work for us. Our Flor carpet tiles warm the space up, and those are rubber-backed—their web site indicates that they will hold to up to occasional moisture, so depending on how much water you get, maybe that would be an option at least for an area rug?

  3. sharon on October 1, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Fabulous job! Happy to see a homeowner mesh retro design and comfort and make it work!

  4. Sandy on October 5, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Wow! LOVE that door. It’s beautiful. The basement looks awesome! Super job!

  5. denise on October 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    thanks sharon and Sandy! Sorry for the late response. I’ve been a little crazed lately. 🙂

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