Preserving a Jumbo 2-unit in Chicago/Woodlawn – tons of original stuff

Normal 1450987448 Front

Over the last couple of years, I have done a couple of flips, and about 10 years ago, I used to live in and rent units in a 3-unit building – something I have heard people call “house hacking” – good idea.  Now, I have purchased a Jumbo 2-unit to rent out the units.  My twist on things is that I like to buy mostly intact old buildings and renovate them, not just gut them out.

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The first floor is in pretty good shape.

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The second floor needs work, but has some really cool features.

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Normal 1450987548 Fireplace

I don’t think I can keep it, but I love old scenic wallpaper.  I don’t think I could get a renter to swallow it though, so it will probably have to go.  As a compromise, I might try and salvage one wall, keep the pressed wood horizontal rail, and keep the green “dado” under the trim.  I also have all of the electric fixtures in the house.  I won’t put the dining fixture back on the first floor, people like ceiling fans, but I will keep this one here, and take the one from the basement and put it in my old-house spare parts collection.  The dining rooms in these apartments are really huge.  They are 3/2’s, but I bet they are about 2000 sq/ft.

Normal 1450987596 Upstairs

The upstairs still has a ton of stuff in it, as does the basement.  The guy who lived here was involved in “running the numbers” in Chicago in the 40’s-60’s, so the basement actually has four small apartments for his numbers runners.

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So, this building needs a lot of work, but it still has all of the old house goodies that I really like – original bathrooms, butlers pantries, nice floors, unpainted woodwork, and as a bonus, a bar on the second floor!

Normal 1450987766 Bar

Yes, those are pink elephants!  And large birds with drinks!



4 thoughts on “Preserving a Jumbo 2-unit in Chicago/Woodlawn – tons of original stuff

  1. Hi Derek!

    Congrats on your new blog!

    Oh, and I would urge that you keep ALL the old lights in place, and even that amazing wallpaper!

    Most apartments all look the same. Why not celebrate being different? And original? And cool?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi. Thanks for checking it out! And, definitely all lighting will stay. I have to figure out how to rewire them. I found a lot of the other original fixtures in the basement. Most of the sconces, unfortunately, are either covered in white house paint, or gold spray paint (I know this because there is overspray on the walls. . .). So, I need to figure out how to get the top layers of paint off, rewire – I agree with you that the cloth covered wire is the only way to go – and get them back up.

      The scenic wallpaper in the dining room is unfortunately too hammer-holed (how does that happen?) or water damaged to keep. So, we covered it in 1/4 inch drywall so that hopefully someone else will fix it in the future. I was talking with my contractor and said that I absolutely loved the paper, and he just looked at me like I was crazy.

      And, the drinking cartoon animals are awesome, but maybe not appropriate in a children bedroom. . . the previous owner must have had some awesome parties in that room. Pieces of a good hi-fi were onsite! And that lighting bar with the colored bulbs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you are saving the wall paper, even if under drywall. It’s a win-win! I’d love to have that bar wallpaper – can it be preserved under drywall or paneling as you did in the dining room? If not, at least you can document it with good photos. The fireplaces and other details are really nice… looking forward to watching this place shape up!

        Liked by 2 people

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