To get to the basement from the first floor, you say a little prayer and make your way down the most unstable, old wooden stairs you’ve ever seen. Fun story: the first time we walked through the house, Brian was carrying the baby throughout the entire house, then handed me the baby to carry down the death stairs. They were literally being supported at the base by a single brick. Anyways, the current basement is one of those scary, unfinished Chicago basements so not too much to show. The thing we lucked out on were that the existing ceilings were pretty high (for a basement). Chicago code requires basement ceilings to be 7′ and this was at least that in some places and taller in others. We didn’t quite get what the big deal was at the time, but basically this saved us having to dig out the basement and possibly more foundation-related work as part of the renovation (read: $$$).
There are columns down the center of the basement, except the front-most column which is closer to the stairs. It’s positioned to take the load-bearing weight for the foyer wall on the first floor and the dividing wall in the second story living room.
There was a laundry here and old workbench. The windows were boarded up as we didn’t even notice until the second time we came through how much light it could get. (I mean, it’s still a basement so it’s not going to be sun drenched or anything). When we were in the process of buying the house the basement was full of stuff – once it was cleared out there only remained one friend hanging from the ceiling (see image below). A warning? You decide.