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

It All Started Innocently Enough…

…when I wrote my goals for 2015. The first floor bathroom was high on the list, as it had been for several years.

After I posted my goals this morning, I was doing a few other things on my laptop and then planning to work out in our new home gym. Then the bathroom floor started calling to me.

I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if there’s an inconspicuous spot where I can chip away the tile to see if I can see what the original floor looks like?”

Off I went, chisel and hammer in hand, and there was the spot behind the door. Filthy and gross, but my access point. BTW the door trim in the upper left will be removed. It looks especially grody because the wood refinishers didn’t strip the bathroom door trim, so it’s a combo of refinished wood stain overspray, varnish and old paint job. It’s really not as bad as it looks here.


Lena really wanted to help, but this was a one-woman job.


The more I chipped away, the more excited I got. This was looking pretty cool: BASKETWEAVE!



There were spots that came off pretty easily, but others were more stubborn. I took my time and carefully chiseled away at the tile. If the thinset below the tile didn’t come up right away, it usually chipped away pretty easily with some gentle tapping.


I started at about 1 pm and by 5:00 I had finished at least 3/4 of it.


There are a couple issues. As I mentioned earlier, there IS a crack in the floor near the sink. Pete remembered that there apparently was a water issue, and sure enough there is a build-up of cement near the tub. I’m able to chip it away, very slowly, and we’ll see what we need to do to resolve the issue if we are able to salvage the tile.

I also need to figure out if I can clean it well enough, as there are a few nasty stains (I don’t want to even venture to guess what they are!) and it’s a bit gray overall. I think it’s looking pretty promising though!

Why the hell did I wait so long to do this?? I probably spent more time just thinking about it than it took to actually remove it!


  1. Jovie on October 5, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I woke up this morning with the urge to do this same thing! A quick google search, and I came across this post. I am now convinced that I can do the same in my Chicago Bungalow :-). Thank you for the inspiration.

    • denise on October 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Glad I could help Jovie–I’m excited for you! Let me know how it turns out!

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