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

No April Fool’s Joke Here!


Yep, all that’s left is the white “crime scene” outline of the stone monster. Pretty apropos, I’d say.

I’m happy to say that I demo’d probably 95% of this thing myself. I did as much as I could on Saturday while Pete was at work, and then on Sunday I continued with it while Pete did some clean-up in the bathroom. It took a LOT of vacuuming with the Shop-Vac — there was a ton of concrete chunks and debris.


I didn’t think I’d be able to remove the hearth pieces myself but chiseling the cement underneath would release the bond to the stone and they lifted up pretty easily from there.

There was a wire mesh on the cement board to hold the stone and that was probably the biggest pain and mess. There were nails holding the mesh to the cement board and they were difficult to access because of the mesh and cement pieces. I had to get the mesh off in order to access the screws that were then holding the cement board to the framing.


By the end of the day Saturday I had removed all the stones from the lower section of the fireplace. Once I removed the cement board from the left hand section I could get the camera in there to see what lay within: lots of dust and a peeling baseboard radiator (I knew that was there but not how badly it was peeling).


The other unknown was the condition of the hardwood floor. You can see the contour from the stone below, which is less noticeable once I dusted the floor. From across the room you can barely see the difference even though we refinished the exposed part of the floor before we first moved in.


Once I cleaned it up the girls had some fun exploring and playing hide-and-seek.


On Sunday morning we were able to remove the hearth framing. It was held to the floor with about 5 screws, and you really have to look to see them in the hardwood.


Next we laid drop cloths and plywood to protect the floor for the upper section.


Getting the first stone out at the ceiling  was the hardest part, and most of the remaining stones were barely held in place!


In no time at all, they were all down!


Again, it was a REAL mess to get that wire mesh off, but from there it was just a matter of finding all the screws holding the framing together.


I’ve already been trying out new furniture arrangements. This was one of the early tries, but the wing chair didn’t stay there long.


I cannot tell you how huge the living room feels!


I might do some swaps with things from other rooms, and of course the house needs to be thoroughly cleaned with all the dust that has been flying around recently.

I’ll also be taking some time to contemplate how I want to proceed with the fireplace. For now, I’m totally happy with it the way it is!



  1. Morgan Culture on April 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    WOW! How long has it taken so far? What progress!!

    Just had an idea with that wing chair sitting there- what about a little inglenook there? It would be tiny… or even some built-in bookshelves? Seeing the space opened up has my mind working 🙂

    • denise on April 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Morgan! It probably took me about 20-25 hours to dismantle. Not bad for doing most of it myself! YES, built-in bookshelves have definitely been part of the plan all along, especially where the wall jogs back a little where I have the chair (great minds…). 🙂 Still thinking about potentially moving it over to the left and angling it toward the room, which would make more space for bookshelves on the right.Would like to see what costs would be like to angle that chimney pipe (I already asked an architect if it was doable, and it is to a certain degree). Or maybe leave where it is and have recessed bookshelves on either side. Either way, it’ll be an improvement.

  2. Jan on April 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Looking good.

    Do you use the fireplace? I ask because I would be tempted to remove it all together. You have such a lovely ceiling and it takes up so much space.

    I’m sure whatever you decide will be lovely like all your other projects.

    • denise on April 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Jan! Yes, we do use it, but yes that has crossed my mind as well to remove it altogether. I don’t think my husband is too keen on that though. If we do keep it I’m definitely going to use that black heat paint on the brass and update the door pulls, so that will help to update it some.

      • Jan on April 1, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        Husbands be like that…..LOL

        That corner would be soooo cute with that chair and a vintage table with a Craftsman style lamp and a couple of great pieces of art work.

        I wish we had coved ceilings.

        • denise on April 2, 2015 at 7:40 am

          You’re so right! I also have a grandfather clock lying around that would look really nice there! 🙂

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