Cat Pee & Ikea Hacks: My Renovation Story

A year ago, I ripped apart my spare room. One of my cats had made it their litter box and peed all over. Needless to say, it stunk in my house. I never found out which cat was the culprit, but I had my suspicions. So it was a renovation that had to be done.

But it was also a blessing in disguise. See, my spare room is my office. And it was a mess. And it was just ugly. I was running out of space for my books and really couldn’t concentrate. It’s too bad I didn’t take a before picture, but this shot will give you an idea of how awful it was.


Yes, focus on the beautiful cat and ignore the mess behind her…

It served me well through university, but I could stand it no longer. Also, the stink of pee. Do you know what cat urine smells like? It’s horrible. I felt like a crazy cat lady. Finally, I asked my dad for help. He’s a retired bricklayer/carpenter, so he knew what to do. I took a week of vacation from work and after I cleaned the room of the mess, we ripped apart the floor. We put a new coat of paint, in a much more neutral and relaxing color, and put gorgeous porcelain tiles instead of more laminate flooring. It was looking good. But I didn’t find all the furniture pieces until about a month ago. Now, I believe it is complete.


After we ripped the floor out and before we painted.


That was one of the bad corners.


Behold the new and improved office!


This is where my big, clunky old desk used to be. Now it’s my reading corner. The lounge chair is from Home Sense. My mom crocheted the rose blanket a long time ago.


The bad corner now holds my new desk, which I got from Ikea. The filing cabinet and office chair also come from Ikea. The smelly corner is now my writing corner!


The final piece was this little cabinet I found at Ikea. I use it to store my color printer and other supplies. Also, my stereo fits nicely on it. The map on the wall was something I’ve been wanting to put up for years. It’s so old, Gatineau is still known as Hull.

Now you might be asking where did all those books go? That is part two of this renovation story. Originally, I packed them up in plastic rubber maids and hauled them downstairs to the basement. But you see, the basement was also bothering me because even though my office was now pristine and cat urine-free, my basement wasn’t. The same culprit peed all over there. I had cleaned it out in the spring, throwing away all my useless junk (I’m a bit of a packrat, I’ll admit) and now all that remained was to redo the floor. Because parts of it were rising up and getting warped. I kept saying I would get to it, but procrastination won for a few months.

Just before Christmas, I was inspired by this blog post on Bliss at Home. They took Ikea Billy bookcases and made them look like built-ins. I could do this, I thought. I could do this in my basement! I proposed the project to my dad. Lucky for me, his buddies were pestering him for some work and he gathered them together to rip apart my basement. They redid the floors and separated it with a wall, making two rooms in the process. The smallest one would become my library.


If you’d seen my basement before, you’d be amazed by how this looks now. The only thing I dislike is how the light is not centered in the room. And oh, the only electrical outlet is somewhere behind one of the shelves.


I got this sofa at Structube. It turns into a bed so if I want to lie down and read,  I can.


I have space to grow into. I can buy books again without worrying where I’m going to put them!


My cat loves to sneak in and use the carpet as a scratching post. Bad kitty! I bought the carpet at Home Sense.

So that’s my renovation story! My office and my library are now cat-free zones. I may open it up to them in the future when I’m absolutely certain there is no lingering scent of cat urine (because you know, cats tend to pee in the same spot and if they smell it again… I’m in trouble). I now have two places to chill out, research, and write in.




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