The Basement Project: Series 1 (of many)

When I am not at work, blogging, hanging out with friends, or running errands, there’s one other little big activity that occupies my husband’s and my time… renovating our basement.

Ironically, when we first bought the house, the basement started with an already-finished basement.  Sure, when we moved into the house, the basement had outdated wood paneling, dreary lighting, and icy (both in color and feel) blue sticky tile flooring.  But it was fine. It was low on our totem pole of things-that-we-need-to-do-something-about.  So what rocketed a basement renovation to the top of our To-Do list?

It started with a tiny puddle on the basement floor.  The puddle was so seemingly innocuous, as if it came from a careless bump of a hand carrying a too-full glass of water.  But, as Kansas City’s storm seasons brought rainstorms of increasing might, so followed more water into the basement, seeping in through cracks in the foundation walls.  Watching the sheets of rain falling outside my cube window brought such anxiety.  Did I put enough towels down on the floor this morning?  If I drive home now to check the basement, can I make it back for my next meeting? The rumble of thunder during summer slumbers used to be a soothing sound.  When you have water seeping into the basement, it becomes an ominous alarm clock.

After numerous nights of mopping and bailing water, we decided that our finished basement had to become unfinished, to make way for foundation repairs.  Once we were satisfied that the basement remained bone-dry even after the fiercest of rainstorms, we decided that we needed to refinish the basement.  And thus was born The Basement Project.  Our goal is to put a big, fat line through this To-Do by June 2010.  Come see how we’ve done so far….

Main Basement Area


(Note the wood paneling among the guitar shredding)

July 2009

-Tear out wood paneling
– Foundation repairs
– Re-stud walls
-Put in new electrical outlets, re-do existing

August 2009

-Put up drywall

September 2009


November 2009

-Sand. Mud. Sand.  Rinse, Repeat

January 2010

-Prime Walls (2 coats)

Basement Bathroom


(The previous owner had this hilarious picture above the toilet…shame that she took it with her!)

August 2009 – December 2009

-Remove two layers of wallpaper
– Remove two layers of flooring

Whew!  We’ve actually come a long way in 7 months!  I never really realized that until I just put these pictures together.  Well I’m glad to say, in terms of work effort, we’re more than halfway there (at least I think it’s more than halfway, oh please let it be more than halfway)…

And here is the rest of “The Basement Project” to-do list:
-Paint Ceiling
-Paint Walls
-Install new light fixtures
-(Re)Paint sink cabinet
-Install new flooring
-And finally my favorite part… DESIGNING AND DECORATING!

I’ve never really been one to have an eye for interior decorating so this is where I’m going to have to call in reinforcements, i.e. YOU!  I’m most likely going to be posting some more on interior designs, furniture, color schemes, etc. (taken from the blogging world, websites, magazines, friends) that I hope to use in my basement or just inspiration that I love!  I think the first thing I need to decide on is a basic theme for the basement (Vintage?  Modern?).  *sigh* It’s so hard!  As for colors, I’ve decided that I want shades of yellow to be the color that ties together the main basement area and bathroom…and that’s pretty much as far as I’ve gotten.


  1. Sheena
    February 18, 2010 / 8:44 am

    You’re inspiring me to start some projects in our house! i.e. tiling the bathroom showers!!

  2. February 18, 2010 / 8:46 am

    Hey Sandy/Marvin…looking good! I had no idea you guys were so Bob Vila-y! 😉 Hanging that ‘rock like a pro…and nice mud/taping! (that’s my least favorite part) I’ll be sure to hire you guys to come help finish ours as soon as we get that far. 🙂 The only thing I think your basement is lacking now is a disco ball…and maybe a tiki-style 1970’s wetbar…no? Come on…in honor of the poor wood paneling your ripped out? 🙂

    You’ll have to talk to Kelly about some decorating ideas (yellow is one of our main living room colors!)…she spends many waking hours looking at blogs, design websites, magazines, etc. We should have the house in a semi-presentable state soon…so hang tight for that housewarming invite. Can’t wait for more pictures of your place soon!

    PS…what are you going to do with the fireplace?? We teeter-tottered on whether or not to paint it white too and for NOW left it bricky-colored. You have plans for yours??


    • February 18, 2010 / 11:01 am

      @Evan – Hahaha no honors for the wood paneling… we’re going to try and modernize the joint up! We haven’t figured out what to do with the fireplace yet…. for now, probably nothing. I think it would be cool to white it out though!

  3. February 18, 2010 / 1:06 pm

    What great work, it looks like you are tearing through it. It is seriously too bad the previous owner took that picture it is classic.

  4. Sam
    February 18, 2010 / 2:09 pm

    lol ! i remember that day! it was a GH mad-house down there.

    loving the progress so far! nice job!!!

    you may have more drill skillz than me, but i barely got more GH skillz than you… 😉

    can’t wait, on the edge of my seat for series 2!

  5. Kati
    February 18, 2010 / 2:26 pm

    Its amazing what happens when you just buy what you like (while decorating) it all eventually comes together… there’s nothing wrong with a Vintage Modern basement 😉

    Good luck – can’t wait to see it all done!

  6. February 18, 2010 / 6:15 pm

    Oh wow, that sounds like a HUGE project! I’m sure it its going to be totally worth it, though. I love the idea of yellow to brighten up the space.

  7. February 18, 2010 / 6:35 pm

    wow! can’t wait to see the finished room!

  8. February 18, 2010 / 10:21 pm

    Excellent work so far! I’m looking forward to seeing the completed room – and I’m so down to help with design decisions!! 🙂 xo

  9. Subha
    February 20, 2010 / 7:51 pm

    Sandy, Congrats on the basement renovations! Just wanted to let you know, that Rick and I are challenging Marv and you to a Guitar-hero competition. and a DDR competition!!

  10. February 23, 2010 / 8:32 pm

    This is so cool!! I bet it’ll look and feel
    so good when you’re done. You guys are so good at this stuff!

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