A Basement-Terrace Level Reveal, Sharing All 3 Spaces and How They Look Now!

Welcome to the 720th Metamorphosis Monday! I am so excited to give you an update reveal on the basement area. As you look at these pictures, please keep in mind that the basement is still not complete–I have many more plans for this space!

You may remember when I first started this process a few weeks ago, the basement stairs looked like this. Not sure why, but when this home was built in 1982-83, the only light for the basement stairs was a light at the very foot of the staircase. No one has ever fallen on these stairs (thank goodness!) but obviously, this is not great lighting for a staircase.


I had overhead recessed lighting installed and these adorable staircase lights down the right side. The electrician thoughtfully saved the small drywall piece he removed when he installed the overhead lighting. It came in handy when the painting was done.

Stairway Lights, Step Lighting for Basement Steps


Here’s how it looks today. My favorite part of the new lighting is definitely the little step lighting down the right side.

Basement Stair Lighting


This is the way I keep it almost 100% of the time–with just the step lighting on. I was really surprised and delighted to see how well they lit up the staircase. (Staircase lighting is available here: Staircase Lighting.)

Staircase Lights for Basement Stairs


I love these recessed lights that my electrician chose for overhead. When he first installed the recessed lighting above the staircase, the light near the top of the stairs blinded you when you opened the door to go down. No matter how he adjusted the light that he normally uses on staircases, the one at the top of the staircase still blinded us. He ended up locating this light that can pivot in a gazillion ways and it’s perfect! It projects the light right down the staircase and not in your face. It’s perfect! So how’s the basement looking now?

Recessed Lights, Basement Staircase


When I last shared the basement, this is how it looked.


In 2008 when I added a screen porch and front porch to my home, I had the basement completely redone. A previous homeowner had sorta finished it in with really cheap brown paneling like you would have seen back in the 70s, orange carpeting that was borderline shag, and a drop ceiling that was in terrible condition with stained panels that were bowing and curling. There was no windowsill or trim at all around the windows. It was crude, to say the least. I wish I had pictures of that to share.

This was as far as I got with the basement in 2008. I wasn’t planning on having it painted or adding flooring, thought I’d save that for the next owner of this home since I was only using this space for storage. Recently, I decided to go ahead and finish it. Redoing my garage and seeing that transformation has really awakened the renovation bug in me!


Amazing the transformation a few gallons of paint can make! I chose Benjamin Moore White Dove for the walls and Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace for the trim. I really love how those colors look in this space.

Basement Makeover, After Painting, Before Flooring


Here’s a view taken with a wide-angle lens. You can see the staircase coming down (should have turned on the staircase lights) along with the two doors that lead into the unfinished side of the basement.

Basement After Painting


Another view from the other side of the basement…notice the subtle difference between the walls and the trim. That was exactly the look I was going for in this basement/terrace-level space. This photo below is the most accurate depiction of how the paint looks in person. I have a feeling I’ll be using it again in the future.

Basement Renovation, After Painting, Before Flooring


See that little cutout area on the right? It’s under the basement staircase. Originally, I envisioned having a bar coming out from that small wall with a refrigerator tucked into that alcove. That’s why there’s an electrical outlet in that space. I could envision turning this room into a downstairs movie room or playroom and I thought it would be nice to have a microwave and a refrigerator close at hand.

Benjamin Moore White Dove, Chantilly Lace


The Unfinished Side of the Basement

So how about the unfinished area of the basement? Here’s how it looked a few weeks ago.


I did a search for “best paint for concrete basement walls” and Drylok was the paint I saw recommended over and over. I think this photo was taken after the first coat. Drylok is super thick and is a workout to apply by hand!


Here’s how it looks this morning. I forgot to open the blinds for this photo…arghhh.

Unfinished Basement Before Drywall and Flooring Makeover


Another view looking back the other direction…all the items you see at the end of the room are items I’m giving to other family members.

Unfinished Side of Basement


Here’s another view taken yesterday, this time with the blinds open. What I’d like to do in this space is add drywall down the wall on the right and across the wall at the end, along with molding around the windows. For the flooring, I would love to do the exact same flooring here that I have in the garage…the epoxy flooring from Granite Garage.


I really love this flooring and I think it would be perfect and practical for the unfinished part of the basement.

Granite Garage Flooring, Garage Makeover


Try to imagine drywall painted in the same color as the other side of the basement, along with the pretty flooring I have in the garage. I would also like to add a freezer to the spot where the bike is in the photo below. During this process, I had the electrician add a second outlet along this wall–it’s visible in a few photos up in this post. So now I have a double outlet on the left side of the workbench, along with an outlet there behind the bike for a future freezer. I’ve already gotten an estimate for the flooring and I have someone coming out tomorrow to give me an estimate for drywall. I’ll be getting other estimates over the next few months before choosing who I’ll use for the drywall.


I’m not sure if I’ll put drywall down this side of the basement or not. I kinda like the brick-patterned concrete on that side. I’ll most likely leave the ceiling open since this is where so much of the plumbing stuff is located, or maybe I’ll add a drop/suspended ceiling. Not sure about that just yet. See that opening on the wall down at the very end near the windows?

Unfinished Basement Before Drywall and Flooring Makeover


The Crawl Space, Now Storage Room

This used to be a creepy crawl space but many, many years ago I had a concrete floor poured and shelving added to turn it into usable storage. I removed everything I had stored here and in this photo, I had just primed the bare wood shelves for paint.


At this point, I had painted the shelves with Benjamin Moore Advance paint for shelves/cabinets and was almost finished painting the walls with Drylok.


Here’s how it looks today with everything stored back away. The height in this space is exactly 72 inches (6 feet) from the concrete floor to the floor joists above, so I can easily walk around inside since I’m only 5’4″.

Crawl Space Turned Into Storage Space


When I add drywall to this unfinished side of the basement, it will also be added to that open area on the left, along with a door to close off this storage space. Notice the garden tools on the left just inside the storage room.

Turning Crawl Space into Storage Room


You may remember this tool organizer I mentioned that I had purchased.


It’s working great in this space. The two rakes in the back would be difficult to pull up and out since the ceiling is just 6 feet tall inside this storage room, but I can’t even remember when I last did any raking. It’s been years. All the other tools are easily accessed. The tools I mainly use are my shovel, hedge trimmers, broom, and post-hole digger whenever I add another birdhouse to the yard. You’ll find this tool organizer here: Tool Storage/Organization.

Garden Tool Storage


Christmas and other holiday decor are stored down the left side, including my Dept. 56 houses.

Crawl Space Become Storage


Lanterns, cushions, and painting supplies are stored on the right side.

Crawl Space Turned Into Storage Room


I have my left over paint from previous painting projects stored here at the very back of this storage space. I need to go through it all and decide what needs to be kept and what’s dried up and no longer usable.

Storage, Paint Cans


This is the view looking back toward the opening. Update: Someone asked in the comments why I don’t store my gardening tools in the garage. When I renovated the garage recently, I made the decision to only store items I use on a daily or weekly basis (like my leaf blower) in the garage. That will keep the garage clutter-free. This storage room is just a few feet away from a door to my backyard as seen below, so it’s the perfect place for storing garden tools.

Storage Room, Previously Crawl Space


I painted the concrete floor in this space with Drylok in the color Dove Gray. It looks so dark in a lot of the photos,  but here’s how it actually looks when you are in this space.


Accomplished during this basement renovation, so far:
Painted: Finished side of the basement (walls, trim, and ceiling)
Painted: Concrete walls on the unfinished side of the basement
Painted: Crawl space storage room (walls, floor, and shelving)
New hot water heater installed
Replaced water shut-off handle with an easy-to-use lever handle
Staircase Lighting (overhead-recessed and step lighting) added to the staircase
Dimmer switches added to basement lighting
4-gang outlet added for the workbench, other outlet will be used for future freezer
Whole-house surge protector installed

It may be a while before I add flooring to this side. I think I’m going with LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) since it seems to be the most recommended flooring for basements. I’ll be getting estimates over the next few weeks and will probably dive back into finishing up the basement renovations after the holidays. I almost want to do the drywall and flooring in the unfinished area first. I LOVE a great storage space! Ha!

Basement After Painting



Thanks so much for following along through this renovation. Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday!

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  1. Such a big project, and it’s looking great, and wow, you have so much space! You’ve no doubt really added value to your house too. Thanks for sharing and for the party~

  2. bravo! How wonderful it is when you have a house that everything is well organized and every corner is well thought. It is my dream. I will follow!

  3. I probably wouldn’t put drywall over the painted concrete/brick wall; wouldn’t want to cover it up as it looks good like it is. Some large cities (I think Seattle is one) will now allow you to donate your cans of paint; Seattle just mixes up all the donations, adds dark browns/grays and gives it away, I believe. What a good way to recycle and keep it out of the landfills! Perhaps Atlanta does the same thing. Good luck on these projects!

    • Thanks, Nicki! I think you’re right. The various contractors I’ve asked have all said the same thing…to leave it exposed. I’m not sure if ATL does that. The majority I will want to keep since I still have rooms painted that color in my home. Thanks for that info, though, that’s good to know!

  4. Wow what a great job! You have tackled a major project and got it done!

  5. A tip from a fellow basement renovator — do the unfinished storage area first, so that contractors won’t be lugging materials and supplies over and through finished space. Good luck!

    • Great point! The painters who just painted the finished side used the unfinished side for storing a few things while they were painting. It was a mess in there at the time though because I had just finished painting the shelves in the storage space, so everything on the shelves was in the room. Thanks!

  6. Your renovation projects have been pretty amazing this last year! I know it’s been a lot of hard work for you, Susan. Great Job, love the stairway lighting!
    Thanks for having us over!

  7. OMG, it looks fabulous! Will you please come over to my house and re-do my cellar? It truly looks like a dungeon. Did you do this all by yourself, Susan, or did someone(s) help you? Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I did the painting on the unfinished side and in the crawl space/storage room, but I hired the company that painted my front porch a few years back, to paint the finished side. Of course, I hired an electrician and plumber to do all the electrical/plumbing stuff. Flooring will make such a difference, so can’t wait to get that installed!

  8. Your basement is most enviable and you are amazing!

  9. LInda Page Gurganus says

    This is an amazing renovation. This looks so much better than when I saw it. Your storage area is perfect. The entire space looks so much brighter! I agree with the same flooring as the garage and drywall in that area but I would also leave the brick uncovered. I love the look of brick! Vinyl plank flooring will be perfect for the larger area. That area would be a perfect place to escape and read a book or watch a movie and still have a view of your backyard area. Can’t wait to see the finished product!!

    • Thanks, Linda! After I finish in the basement, I’m starting on the baths. I keep putting them off, but they are next. Then you guys can come back for a visit. 🙂

  10. Tina W Reynolds says

    If I had such a wonderful walk-out basement, I wouldn’t be able to resist developing it. It is lovely. Having a space where guests can enjoy a loud football game on TV or playing their favorite tunes on a good sounding stereo system is such an asset during holidays. Fortunately for me, my family room is remote from the living room and serves that purpose. When I “fixed up” my family room in 2006 I had those objectives and also wanted a table for eating/snacking that could double as a place for my grandson to do his homework, draw or do puzzles. It has worked well. Your beautiful space seems relaxing, too though! Maybe it is the rattan chaise in the picture! I was ready to plop down on that and admire the work you’ve done. Such good ideas, and as my mom would have said, “a place for everything, and everything in its place!” I remain so jealous of your garage floor!

    • Thanks, Tina! I was thinking the other day, it’s tempting to furnish it now it’s almost finished, but I don’t need that space. If/when I sell my home one day, maybe I should rent furniture for that area to show how it could be used. That’s wonderful that you were able to make your family work so well for you and your grandchildren… love that! ♥

  11. Wow – that’s a lot of work and a LOT of reward! What great – usable – spaces you have now! I’m trying to figure out how to get some lovely french doors in my basement now. 🙂 Thanks for inspiring me once again, and Happy Monday!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! There used to only be a single, half-glass French door on the finished side, going to the outside…it was down near the door going into the unfinished side. When I had the basement redone in 2008, I had that door removed and installed a window that lets in a lot more light than the half-lite door did. At that time, I added French doors to the wall between the windows to maximize the daylight feature of the basement as much as possible. Def recommend that if you have the wall space.

  12. I had garage envy, now I have basement envy, lol. And I don’t even have a basement! But I love this so much, Susan. What a lovely room! And all that storage is making me drool. When you first posted about that little crawl space / cubby hole storage with the shelves, I mistakenly assumed it was a regular 8′ high space. Knowing it’s only 6′ seems to make it even more ingenious. I’m so glad you had the foresight to have the concrete floor poured and the shelves put in. I’m a shorty, like you, so fussing around in there, getting things off those shelves, putting things back, would be wonderful because I could actually REACH them! I think I’m as excited as you are. Just imagine the other section finished with drywall and the flooring down there and on the stairs! Once it’s completely finished, you’ll probably want to decorate that whole area. Which would be a fun excuse to buy furniture! Yay! Haha.

    Btw, the color choices look great. That BM White Dove looks clean and pretty without being too stark. Very nice and the stair area looks great too.

    One question, if you have time. The little lights that go down the right side of the stairs — were those a hassle for the electrician to install? Was there a lot of wiring he had to wrangle with? I love the idea of adding some of those lights. Thanks!

    • I know, I’ll have to force myself to NOT decorate it since I don’t really have a need for it. Thanks, I love how the colors turned out and no panic paint changes mid-painting like I had with the garage.
      The wiring for the little step lights was really easy due to the other side of that wall being open and accessible from the unfinished side of the basement. I didn’t stick around to see exactly how he did it, but he was here most of the day. I’m always amazed how electricians find ways to get everything connected. If you end up wanting to add something similar in your home, I bet the electrician can find a way. I remember when I added the hanging light in the center of my front porch, the electrician cut a small hole some place to get access to the wiring in my entry, I think in the ceiling. It wasn’t a big deal to get that fixed afterward.

      • Thanks! And yeah, I guess they can be ingenious like that. Years of having to figure things out made them think creatively. I think the lights look great!

  13. That really looks great, Susan. I love a great storage space too. Your floor plan in the basement reminds me of our former home.

  14. Everything is looking so good! Feels satisfying I’m sure! Question: how do you manage to get those trees out of the basement?

    • Each tree comes apart in three sections and each section collapses down a lot. You know how trees come in rather small boxes–so they do collapse down a lot. I used to always store the trees in the basement, until a few years back I started storing them in the garage since one tree always gets set up in the kitchen which is just inside the garage. After I redid the garage, I didn’t want them stored there anymore so I moved them both back down to the basement.
      The only section that’s a challenge is the bottom/larger section of each tree. I just have to collapse it down as small as possible to bring it up. I guess I could carry it out the French doors and around to the front door and bring it in that way. I may do that with my garden cart this year. 🙂

  15. franki Parde says

    That was MASSIVE!!! And, now, MARVELOUS!!! What a lot of work, thought & RESULTS!!! franki

  16. Bravo Susan, everything looks so good!

  17. Tamara Nelson says

    I can’t believe you still have all your village in there boxes. I have collected department 56 and mine are in bins. I have stopped collected them because I don’t put the village up. Do you put your village up I never scene it in photos. Who ever inherits that is so lucky. My son wants mine I keep telling him to come take it. Also I don’t understand why you are spending so much money on the basement. I thought you wanted to move. I just think it nice but dont know how much you will get back when the house sells. I wouldnt waste anymore money in the basement it looks fine. I just cant believe all the stuff you have in storage your daughter inlaw is a lucky person. But its so much if I was you I would start selling some of it off its to much. I am 62 and my kids don’t even want my stuff and its good stuff. I am just trying to tell you what I feel its just so overwhelmiing I think you should travel more now that we can. And start putting stuff online to sell. I have seen all my neighbors that have past and there kids just throw the stuff away it makes me cry all the time cause I know how much you treasured it. And it looks like you have only one son. I have four children and they could careless about it they all want new. Just my opinion

  18. What a difference! I love how organized the storage area is, the paint looking so nice and fresh…even the floor. I love the two “whites” you chose for the main area, just enough of a difference to be seen but not in your face bold color difference. Looks amazing. I am loving all your ideas and I’m looking forward to seeing them all come together. Everything is looking amazing Susan! Hugs, Brenda

    • Thanks, Brenda! Every time I paint, I am once again amazed by how it can transform a room/space. It really is the biggest makeover tool of all. Thanks, I really am pleased with how the color turned out. I wanted to keep the room as light/bright as possible. I can’t wait to share it with you once the flooring is in. That will happen sometime after the new year…will take a break from renovating during the holidays, I think.

  19. Peggy Kuppers says

    Congratulations on a great renovation. It looks wonderful. You always inspire me to get busy with fixing/redecorating areas of our home – and I really need inspiration and a nudge to get up and get going. Your website is a bright spot in many of my days. Thanks!

  20. Absolutely gorgeous and incredibly inspirational! My first thought was “what a beautiful space to ride out tornado weather in.” Maybe put a daybed down there for just that purpose. Maybe a crafting area you could leave set up?

  21. The basement looks great Susan. I envy all your storage space. In northern California basements don’t really exist. I miss them. XO- MaryJo

  22. LOVE!!! What a transformation, and more to come. Cannot wait to see!

  23. Looks gift! I am envious of all your space!!
    Thanks so much for hosting this delightful party each and every week! Thank You!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

  24. Elizabeth Roderick says

    WOW I am impressed with all the things you do. That’s why I read your blog. I still love the Sugar Cookie paint. Maybe your living room would be a good place to set up glass cabinets. You do so much yourself and I consider you an amazing lady. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I would love that! I used to envision having built-ins across the side wall of the basement, but I love the idea of putting them in the living room, too!

  25. Susan, I love your big home. I have been waiting years for you to finish the basement. You never fail.
    Is there a bathroom in the basement ? It would make a great mother in law suite. They say the real estate market is changing. Somebody plunked down over a million in cash for a home in this area recently.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  26. Susan, I backtracked to look at the before and after. You have had a lot of amazing work accomplished. Now that you have allowed us all over the inside of your home, can we see the outside entrance to the basement ? LOL

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