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


The previous owner (PO) did a decent job finishing half of the basement into living space. It included drywall with wainscoting, a storage closet, wet bar, bathroom, decorative fireplace, electrical outlets every three feet and over 25 recessed lights (yes, some things were overkill). He left us the pool table and barstools as well as a cat pee stench and bathroom mold. Even before we closed on the house, we tore out the bathroom. We spent several weeks on the cat pee, which involved tearing out drywall, studs, stair stringers and lots and lots of various cleaning remedies. To read in more detail about various Basement projects and changes, visit the Basement category page.

July 2007 (post-closing/pre-moving)

After we closed on the house but before we moved in. We had to tear out the bathroom (not shown) due to mold issues.

I’m definitely not a paneling fan, but the faux beadboard is fine for a basement.

This was to be our problem wall: the PO’s cats saturated this area with pee and we had to remove much of the lower wall (and basement steps). The fireplace is fake but Sterno cans simulate fire.

Circa November 2007


Painting complete.

The red accent color highlights the lowered ceiling (or as I like to say, “I painted it red to hide the blood from tall people smacking their head on it.”).

A bunch of stuff, shoved in front of the wall we had to tear out for pee remediation.

The arched basement window is another favorite original feature.

With black as the third accent color, some favorite personal items include black-framed kindergarten artwork (created by yours truly), a Wilco poster (one of my favorite bands), a silhouette my parents made of me (not sure what age), and a cast-iron stove from my grandparents’ farmhouse in southern Illinois.

Fall 2008. The “cat pee” wall has finally been fixed. A stained glass door from our previous house (not original) was installed to replace a generic hollow-core door.

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