Renovating 4 Spaces In My Home, And It’s Happening All A Once! Yikes!

Welcome to the 716th Metamorphosis Monday!

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy around here. I just had a new hot water heater installed and this week I have two different electrical companies coming out to give me estimates on adding additional lighting for the staircase that leads down to my basement/terrace level.  Hard to believe when this home was built around 1982, the only lighting installed for this staircase is a light at the very bottom of the staircase!


So, presently, when you open this door in the upstairs hallway…

Framed Bird Prints for Paneled Hall


…this is what you see. But that’s all about to change!


I plan to have a couple of recessed lights added overhead and possibly wall lights installed along the right wall, just above the steps themselves. Just two recessed lights in the ceiling would probably suffice, but I think these wall lights will be really pretty lighting up the steps of the staircase. The overhead lighting and the step lighting will be on different switches so they can be turned on together or separately. (Step lighting is available here: Step Lighting.)


Plans for the Basement: At some point, before my time, this basement was rather crudely finished in. They nailed up some really awful, brown, paneling on the walls that was reminiscent of something you would have seen in basements in the 70s. The ceiling was a hung ceiling that was in terrible shape with warped, sagging tiles. The flooring was covered in a rust/burnt-orange-colored carpeting that was borderline shag. It was bad!

In 2008, after years before having demoed the awful paneling, ceiling tiles, and carpet, I had this side of the basement finished back in properly. When my home was built, I don’t think basements were being designed with full-height ceilings, at least not in my area. I guess back then basements were mostly just used for storage. So my contractor added tray ceilings on both sides of this large room to bring the ceiling up to full height in those areas.


Here’s a better view of one of the tray ceilings in this room.


There are quite a few windows in this space, making this very much a daylight basement. When I had the basement redone in 2008, I didn’t bother to have it painted or carpeted since I was just using the space for storage. I thought I’d let the next homeowner choose the carpet and paint.


After renovating my garage recently and seeing the dramatic transformation flooring and paint can make, I’ve decided to go ahead and finish this room now. I ordered a bunch of paint samples this evening, hoping to avoid another last-minute, panicky, color change as happened with the garage. The painting company I’ve chosen for this job is currently booked around 3 weeks out until around the second week of November. That timeframe works out great because it gives me time to choose my paint color and get everything I have stored here moved over to the unfinished side of the basement. I think I know the flooring I’ll be going with for this space. I’ll share more on that at a later date when I know for sure.


The Unfinished Side of the Basement

Here’s how the unfinished side was looking a few days ago. This area is around 27-28 feet long and around 12-13 feet wide. I’ve really caught the renovation bug, so I’d like to make this space look and feel nicer than it does now. For starters, I decided to paint the concrete walls in this room. That awful, cheap paneling was down two sides of this room, but I’ve removed it from in here, also.


A few days ago I did a search for “the best paint for unfinished basements” and I kept seeing something recommended called, DryLok. Apparently, it’s great for walls/rooms that are below ground level. I’ve never had moisture on the walls in here but I liked the sound of the Drylok so I purchased a few gallons and got busy painting the concrete walls to brighten this space up. I still need to go back and do one more coat.

Painting concrete, especially concrete with a “brick” pattern, is A LOT of work! The walls just soak up the thicker-than-paint Drylok paint, so it takes a lot of paint. Also, you’re supposed to really work the Drylok down into any crevices/pits in the concrete. My hands and wrists were aching after just a few hours of painting it on with a brush as recommended in the instructions. The next night, instead of just applying the Drylock with a brush, I used a roller and rolled it on generously, then followed that up immediately with the brush. That’s another method that’s also recommended for applying it. I like that method a lot more–less stress on the hands and wrists. The next coat should go pretty quickly since the first coat is the one that really takes some time to work into all the grooves.


Once I finish the other side of the basement with paint and flooring, I’d like to have this room drywalled in and perhaps even add ceiling tiles above and some type of practical flooring, but for right now, I just want to brighten it up a bit. See that opening in the wall, way down there at the end? That’s another space that’s getting a small facelift right now.


That opening leads to a storage area I had created many years ago. When I first moved in, this was a crawl space with an earthen/dirt floor. The concrete wall on that end stopped about halfway up, then there was a wide door that could be opened to see inside. Each year, when it was time for my annual termite inspection, my pest control company would open that half-door and shine a flashlight inside. I never liked having that space there, it felt kinda creepy. A contractor who occasionally did work in my home, suggested I have concrete poured to create additional storage space. I loved that idea and had shelving built for the inside at the same time. Goodbye creepy space, Hello additional storage!


This weekend, after applying the first coat of Drylok to the concrete walls of the unfinished area of the basement, I decided to paint this storage area, too. Before I could get started, I had to remove the stuff I had stored here, then I gave the shelves a thorough vacuuming. Afterward, I started “cutting in” the shelves with primer since they had never been painted before. I should be able to finish up the priming today, then I’ll be able to get busy painting them.  Once the walls and shelves are painted, I’ll paint the floor with paint that is specially designed for concrete floors. I’m going with a dove gray color for the flooring in this storage area. I think the majority of the stuff that’s currently stored in the semi-finished part of the basement will fit here on the shelves. Can’t wait to get those items in here once I’m finished painting in this space.


The Other Project…

Another project that will get done by the same painting company I’ve hired to paint the basement is crown molding here in the upstairs living room/bonus room.


I think it will be so pretty in this room!


I would have had crown molding added to this room ages ago but I only just recently discovered that crown molding can be added to rooms with slanted, quirky ceilings. I’ll keep you posted on the progress in these spaces. The real action should start around the 2nd week of November.

Fortnum & Mason Hamper, reuse as End Table


Do you have any renovation projects going on in your home before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are upon us? Would love to hear what you have planned!

Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday!

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Metamorphosis Monday

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  1. Oh, wow, Susan! You’re tackling some big projects that’ll yield some great looking returns.
    I’ve been chipping away at a few things that were on our inspection report from buying garden last year. I hope I’m finished for now, will start back up next spring. I don’t like doing projects when the weather turns crappy. There’s enough mess when it’s sunny and dry in spring/summer. Good luck, and keep us posted.

  2. Sheila Cartelli says

    Hello Susan,

    Even better then more “ light” in the basement you will find
    LESS DUST in the upstairs rooms.


    • The main floor is so insulated with the basement below and another floor above, the air doesn’t run that much on those two levels, so it will be interesting to see. But I’m all for less dust! LOL

  3. Mary from Virginia says

    You lucky to have all that great storage! I would be thrilled! Good luck with all of the projectsl. Looking forward to changes and color selections!

  4. Well, I feel better about having to fluff the Christmas trees now.
    It seemed like a lot until I read your post. You are busy and energetic to take on this work. I can’t wait to see it all done. Two things I did not make enough room for here are storage and a walk in pantry. I really love that armoire in your upstairs BTW.

    • Ha! Yeah, I don’t know what gets into me. As I was pulling a gazillion carpet staples out of the basement stairs, I was reminding myself that once it’s done, I will never have to do that again. It’s not like housework that never stays done. lol Audible is helping a lot, too!

  5. SharonFromMichigan says

    Excellent choice with the DryLok paint. We used it in our basement & there are absolutely no worries about moisture coming in when it rains heavily. DryLok is pricey, but really worth it. Every house we’ve ever owned up north has had dark, dingy paint colors in the unfinished basements. I never understood that, as white walls and a lighter color on the floor make it so much “less creepy” down there. 🙂 Can’t wait to see your renovations completed!

    • It is pricey but it was so highly recommended for basements, I decided to give it a go. Maybe it will help with the musty smell that basements sometimes have when the heat/AC hasn’t been running a lot.
      I so agree! Gotta brighten up those underground spaces!

  6. Wow Susan, you never stop! Good luck with all these projects, your basement storage area is huge!! Thanks for the party~

  7. P.S. You can buy pretty concrete paint for the storage room you know. Ha, more work.

    • That’s true! I’m going to probably use the DryLok to start with, but it can be painted over. Can you imagine the storage area with the shelves painted a bright pink? 😉

  8. You are ambitious!! We used dry-lock paint in our previous home and it worked like a charm. It was tricky to paint with, but cleanup was a breeze – I threw everything out!

    • Ha! That is a super easy cleanup! I learned the hard way to only use a DryLok brush! Home Depot and Lowes didn’t have them in stock so I ordered another brush that was recommended when I added the DryLok to my cart online. Oh my gosh, it was the pits! The bristles were too short and way too soft. The DryLok brush finally arrived and what a difference! So much easy to apply and worth the cost!

    • Cindy, I did the very same thing when I used liquid rubber. I took one look at the roller and even the metal holder and said it wasn’t worth it!

  9. I love what you are doing. Your house has so much storage space. I am jealous. I would love to put crown molding in my home, but it’s so expensive to have done. the molding it self is not that bad, it’s the price of the contractors installing.

    • Thanks, Margo! I know, it’s always the labor that really costs. I hope they will do a great job with all the cuts that will need to be made.

  10. Wow – that’s all going to be fabulous Susan! How exciting! I especially love that little storage area in the basement – perfect! Happy Monday, and thanks for hosting!

  11. Love your mission to beautify everything! Hope everything going well. And waiting to see your beautiful result.

  12. Your basement is an amazing space, Susan. Getting lighting on your stairway is a safety issue for you, so it will make a huge difference. Thanks so much for having us over. Have a great week!

  13. I bought a condo built in 1984 and my brother came to FL from NY and did a lot of the the work like new floor, painting throughout, electrical, and he built a wall that had previously been removed. Then he had to go home, so I have a bunch more to do. I was telling him recently what I plan, and he said “what’s with you women? You never stop and just keep fixing and fixing, it never ends!” Ugh, that’s his job, but he looks at things like a man. It’s good enough, so why not leave it alone? I tried to explain how it’s part of the business of owning a home, just like you would fix your car. You need to keep it in tip top shape to hold the value of your most valuable investment. Plus, it gives me pleasure to look around at the improvements.

    • That is so true, unfortunately, things wear out or have to be renovated from time to time. It does bring a lot of enjoyment to get these accomplished. You are so lucky to have a brother that is so talented and able to help with all those things! That’s wonderful! Wish I had all those skills! 🙂

  14. I’m redecorating a room to become a nursery for my two great grandbabies who are arriving in 2023. We had two grandchildren get married in 2021 and now both couples are expecting.
    I’ve always had bedrooms in my house for grandchildren for overnight visits. So I’m renovating my granddaughter’s room for the nursery since she’s one of the mommies and will keep the grandsons room for one grandson who still occasionally visit and also other guests. I’m so excited!

  15. I envy all that storage space!

  16. Tamara Nelson says

    I see you have my favorite glass case sitting there. Oh how I wish you would change your mind and sell it to me. I am 63 and always wanted one. I am hankdicap now so I cant go out to look for them as I always did. I miss those days so much!!!! Please keep thinking about it . Have a great holiday and yu have a big project on your mind. Your doing so much to the house have you given up traveling. Loved seeing all your trips. I know covid came and its hard. My son took his first trip to London. He lives in Nyc I made it to the beach this year have great holiday. Dont get to tired you have to put all those beautiful xmas ornaments up. I am only doing a little since I will be by myself. I am just going to decorate my outside and my bedroom take care

  17. Linda Page Gurganus says

    I love what you are doing! The basement will be so much nicer! And the crown molding will be perfect! Come work on my house!!! I will feed you!

    • lol You notice, I’m avoiding the bathroom renovations and finding other stuff to update. I think the bathrooms will happen next year. Those scare me!

  18. Wow Susan, you have some serious and amazing projects going on! Your home is so lovely as is, but it will be amazing once done. I didn’t know southern homes had basements back in the 80’s. I know when I was kid down south, there wasn’t homes with basements or very few. But maybe that was because we near the ocean. I can’t wait to see your spaces once done! Hugs, Brenda

    • Thanks so much, Brenda! A lot of the homes here in the Atlanta area have them. It can be pretty hilly around here, not as flat as south Georgia, so it’s easy to build and include a basement. They are really popular here. Yeah, probably rare to see them in those areas in the south of closer to the ocean.

  19. Michele M. / Finch Rest says

    Oh wow – these are going to be amazing changes, Susan! Funny just this weekend I was saying it is such a shame we can’t put more crown molding up…we have it everywhere there is a box room (all the bathrooms, one of the bedrooms) but the rest of our house is all interesting slants and such – never ever would I have believed there’d be a solution for that. Looking very forward to learning more from you. Thank you.

    And by the way – you have to have the most amazing basement of all time. Holy cow – all those windows and doors – that’s like an entire new house down there. How wonderful!!! Going to be soooo nice and clean and bright.

    • I know, I was so surprised to find that I could put it in that room. I’ll definitely take photos and share those. I’m super excited about seeing that done!
      Thanks! It’s a shame I haven’t done more with it over the years. The electrician is just finishing installing the lights on the staircase and I love how that looks! Makes me want to put them on my main staircase! Lighting just makes such a difference!

  20. We are having the last of the concrete poured today for our new driveway. The old one was cracked and broken by tree roots. We added a circle drive to it also. We are at the end of a culdesac and always need extra parking when family comes. So exciting!! I showed my husband your garage floor and we are just thinking of that possibility down the road also.

    • Oooh, I love circular driveways! That sounds wonderful! It’s so nice when you find you have to do a repair–you are able to actually turn it into an exciting upgrade! Love when that happens!

  21. Susan, you have so much going on! I love your basement. It’s pretty, and that storage area is fantastic! Can’t wait to see the after photos.

  22. You are so lucky to have so much storage space! Here in Miami, houses do not have basements (because of the waterline I think-they would be pools in about 3 minutes) and the newer homes only have attics that are not very tall, and it gets crazy hot in them, so we don’t store anything there. Just doing any kind of work that requires going into the attic has to be done in January or February temperatures, because it’s almost dangerous to go up there when it’s hot. Even your “small” storage area looks great for all kinds of stuff – there’s even a spot for your Christmas trees in the front!! Now that you seem to be on a remodeling mode, are you going to do that living room in the entrance of your home? I’ve been waiting years (yes, since you first posted about the fireplace you wanted there) for you to work your magic there!! I love that room, I always thought it would make a beautiful library.

    • I agree, Elena! The “someday” room is awesome. I love the French doors and the pretty bookcases she bought for the space. I look forward to seeing what she does with it someday.

    • I know what you mean about those attics in the summer, they are brutal that time of year! Oh, I would love to do that room! I should do bathrooms next because mine so badly need to be done, but it would be wonderful to do that space, too. Last year was the year of the car. This year has been the year of the garage and basement. I think 2023 will be the year of doing the two upstairs baths, but I’d love to do that room after the baths. At this rate, though, I’ll never want to move! Ha! I can’t take any of these upgrades with me.

  23. Oh, my, Susan, if I had a hat on I would take it off and salute you! Bravo for all the self-renovations you are doing. I’m worn out just reading about them. You are a force to be reckoned with and I admire you so much. Your home is so very lovely. Thanks for sharing all your projects!

    • Awww, thanks Rosie! Appreciate that so much! ♥ Looking forward to sharing these projects. The electrician has been installing all the lighting on the steps today and I love how it’s turning out! Will share that real soon!

  24. Susan,
    I am already decorating the upstairs for Christmas and have 6 Trees up and decorated including a new 6 foot flocked tree in my Sitting room…Last year it took me 30 days to decorate the entire house inside and out so I have to start early!!
    Thanks so much for hosting this delightful party each and every week!! I really appreciate the time and effort that goes into it along with visiting all the links and choosing Features!!! Thank You!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    • Wow! That sounds amazing, Debbie! I don’t blame you for starting early, gives you more time to really enjoy it! I know how much work that is so kudos for you for getting so much done already! What rooms do you have the trees in so far?

  25. I see you have a chair in the basement that you can at least take a breather in! Wow so ambitious and I hate painting. Paint refreshes everything so it gives an immediate result, but still I don’t like doing painting. lol I have to look up Drylok because I used liquid rubber on my wood (osb) porch to protect it when it rains. I chose it because it is used on boats. Now I need to “paint” over that coat because it looks like it dries rough and things stick to it. I expected your back storage to be a “crawl” space but it is huge. You really do inspire with your energy and ideas and knowledge. Looking forward to when the projects (including the upstairs molding) are completed.

    • Ha! I need to have that chair reupholstered–I have the perfect spot for it in my bedroom. I gave myself the day off from painting today to let my body recover. Will get going on that again tomorrow. I did get my second coat of DryLok on the wall and the shelves are fully primed in the smaller storage room. Still a lot to do though!

  26. All my large projects were done last year. You will be so happy when it is all finished!

  27. All I can say is hang in there! We started an addition to our garage and garage apartment last year and then had a flood in the house causing us to have to replace ALL of the flooring…which meant that bedroom we wanted to add onto the kitchen had to happen NOW. So you will be busy! Take some time to sit down and work a puzzle for a break!

  28. Wow…you really are going to town on working on your home. Good for you! All the improvements sound great. Agree…our last house had that one light at the bottom of the stairs. So dangerous! Have used that Drylok paint before…it seemed to work. We just returned from a 2 week cruise to Canada and New England and are still unpacking. BUT…my next project is to get rid of the microwave over the stove in the near future. We are in our apartment 5 years now and the microwave is making funny noises. That, and the fact that I am only 5 feet tall and sometimes worry about getting hot dishes out of the unit at my eye level has me thinking I want a counter top microwave ( maybe hidden in the pantry) and a new hood and vent. I am looking for ideas about how to fill in the space with a decorative tile if the tile we have is no longer available. Luckily my neighbor at the other end of the hall did this project a year or so ago….so I am getting ideas. Thanks for sharing your plans…hope everything goes smoothly!

  29. Thanks for hosting!

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