When we purchased Howard Hall in 2005, the basement had been divided into several spaces, with only the boiler room serving any purpose. The kitchen had been split down the middle, the fireplace had been covered by another smaller fireplace, and then all of that had been covered again. Windows had been boarded, the ceiling beams had been painted an inky black, and most importantly, it was not functioning as a kitchen. Our goal in this restoration had been to return the house to the original state it had been in when it was built (or as close to it as we could get). This meant restoring the basement kitchen to a functioning state. We opened the space, stripped the ceiling and uncovered the fireplace. To our surprise the original hook for hanging pots over the fire was still attached to the hearth, and there was a beehive oven next to it, albeit in a very sorry state. We rebuilt the entire fireplace, including the beehive oven.
Sometimes functionality comes before authenticity. The downstairs bathroom was little more than an alcove beneath the stairs when we stepped into the picture, and in fact, there was no record of a bathroom even being there. However, we knew we needed one to serve the lower levels of the house and so we built one up from scratch. We cleared out the space; poured concrete floors; installed an open shower, clawfoot tub, toilet and vanity; and gave the entire thing a beautiful whitewash.