Basement Demo Day

The basement of our brownstone (can you call it a brownstone if it’s brick?) is zoned as a separate unit; separate electric meter, separate gas meter, 2 different points of egress, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, it’s not what one would call “habitable”.

The kitchen is delineated by a couple cabinets covered in a sticky, dark brown goo

peeling wallpaper (also splattered with said sticky goo)

water plumbing stuffed with gauze

gas lines stuffed with some other mystery white fabric

Have you barfed yet? I did. A little. In my mouth.

I believe I already showed you what was passing for a bathroom. But, just in case, I’ll show you again.
(That gray stuff behind the plunger is steel wool stuffed in the wall. By the number of rat traps & poison we found, it’s probably to try and keep the little suckers out.)


Today, my friends, all this changed! The “Family Team” (aka: our parents) came up and the 6 of us took the basement by storm. Before we go any further, I must say that we have THE BEST family in the world. We could not do this without their help and expertise.

We started in the kitchen, unscrewing the doors and taking the upper cabinets off. The wallpaper peeled off in whole sheets; no steaming required. The one base cabinet was next.

You can use your imagination for what we found under the cabinets.




The hubs & his dear father worked in the bathroom; popped the surround off,

pulled out the medicine cabinet & vanity,

and removed the tile,

Want to hear something REALLY gross?? Good. Cause I’m going to tell you.

My dear husband’s father removed the lower parts of the dry wall around the tub because it looked moldy.

At the foot of the tub, on the INSIDE of the wall, look what we found:

Need a closer look??
Those would be scratch marks.

INSIDE the walls.

Guess that steel wool, rat poison, & sticky traps weren’t just for show.

:-O*** * *   (that’s my emoticon for ‘barf’)

And, in case you were wondering, linoleum is a P.I.T.A. to get up. We tried several tools but found the putty knife/scraper was the way to go.



The nice thin blade was the only thing that got under the top layer. Even then, it left most of the adhesive backed lower layer behind (that’s the white stuff, gray is concrete).

(kitchen before)

(kitchen after)

We aren’t going to worry much about scraping ALL the way to the concrete. Frankly, what’s left of the plastic is not coming up and it’s evening out the floors. Therefore, it can stay.

Besides the kitchen & bath, we removed the cabinets/bar so that our tenant has some place to put their clothes.



There’s also this weird fireplace-y thing built out into the room.

We drilled a whole in the left side. That way we could peak inside and see if we really wanted to tackle whatever was behind the drywall. We saw brick, an old fireplace that had been covered over, and a lot of wood.

We decided to go for it, rip all the drywall off and see what we really had to work with.


I know it looks worse now but we have a plan that will actually add about 8″ back of usable floor space.

All in all, we got a lot accomplished.


Also, a there has been a development regarding the flooring situation. We have decided to tile the bathroom and paint everything else.

After spending the better part of the day on my hands & knees scraping up linoleum, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy (well, actually I might) (but I certainly wouldn’t want to do this again). Therefore, we will not be laying any kind of vinyl or linoleum. I’m thinking a nice light color, instead of the current garage gray.



We’re getting there!! How do you think we did??

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13 Responses to Basement Demo Day

  1. Melissa and Justin says:

    Justin and I are so happy for you and Rob! The basement looks awesome and we can tell how much work went into it — what a Saturday!! Please let us know when we can come up and help with your next big thing. We love you 🙂

  2. Caitlin says:

    Wow you guys got so much done! Yea!!!

  3. Kim says:

    Oh.My.Gawd. I definitely threw up a little.

    But, YAY for all you got done. Isn’t it so fun to see the progress? Cannot wait to see it all come together.

    (The scratching marks seriously put me over the edge. I had to laugh, because we found some crazy shat behind our cabinets – dirty diapers, chicken wings, and more – but never scratching marks. I really hate rodents. Like, hate them. So, when Ryan told me there was mouse poo in our house when we first started demo-ing, I totally checked out until he could guarantee me I would not encounter one of those dirty little creatures.)

    You did an awesome job. Cannot wait to see what’s next.

  4. Lily says:

    Wow, thanks for blogging all of this so that we can follow you in your journey to the eighth level of hell.

    Sweet Mary Mother of God you have some nastiness down there.

    Still, you guys got a LOT accomplished. Hooray for family!

  5. Erin says:

    looks awesome!!! cant wait to come up, see it all in person and get our hands dirty!!!

  6. MEA says:

    WOW you all did amazing! Looks MUCH better already. My favorite part was the emoticon though 😉

  7. tia says:

    maybe i’m weird but the basement looks tons better to me with all the demo you did. i think it’s because of all that natural light from those two windows. they make it almost not a basement. i can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

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