A dungeon no more!

Let’s talk about my basement. We bought our house back in 2006, the day after Thanksgiving. It is a basic, cookie cutter, bottom line, don’t spend extras Maronda home. But I love it. It’s yellow, in a cul de sac, and it’s mine.

For years we’ve been talking about renovating the basement, but other things kept getting in the way. We needed a new front door, the carpeting was awful and needed to be replaced, the other floors needed to be replaced, the laundry room had to move to the second floor, the kids bathroom floor needed to be replaced, our fridge died, dishwasher stopped working…typical life of a home owner.

Finally, after some outrageous bids, we got a really good one, from a good, honest guy named Steve Mosco. Not only was his price reasonable, but he also let me have a say in every step of the process. That’s a big deal, as I am a control freak.

When our house was built, the person who had it built in the first place had the foresight to add an extra row of cinder block so that if/when someone chose to finish the basement, it would have head room.

I thank that person.

I used to think I wanted to buy a turn key home, but now, having owned one that needed some improvements, I’m glad. Over the years, it’s slowly become *our* place, and not the home of the person who lived here prior.

Having four kids in a house that doesn’t have room for expansion, we need to use every last corner of space. The basement was a dungeon. We used it as a shoe graveyard and a place to run on the treadmill. As far as basements go, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t like I could just throw a couch down there and call it a day.

Here’s what it looked like.


Panoramic, obviously, but it gives you a good idea. It was big enough, had good bones, needed drywall.

014This was where the bathroom was going to go. It’s hard to believe that’s what it looked like, and that a bathroom could be created out of it.

If you notice the exposed pipes almost ceased any hopes of having a full bathroom down there. However, I offered for our contractor to take some wall from the garage (because it really wasn’t a huge deal, four inches) and move the pipes, it worked, and I got a full bathroom out of that tiny space.

002The water heater was moved from the new bathroom area, and tucked under the stairway. That was also a huge game changer. But as you can see here, bathroom!

006Bam! Fast forward and that’s what it changed into.


From this photo, my back is to the door to the garage. We created a half wall so that we could have a mudroom. I’m 29, but I ain’t stupid. With four kids, this was a complete necessity.


I insisted on a few things, one of which was a real banister. I even got to stain it myself. This photo was taken after three coats of stain. I ended up doing a few more before I polyed it. Also, note the cat door. The door to the right is the way to get under the stairs where the litter box is kept. The door is a full sized door, but only the bottom half is accessible, obviously because of stairs. We were stuck with a wall of doors because of needs to have access to the furnace, water heater and such, the bathroom and to get under the stairs. I refused to have a big door, a smaller door under the bulkhead and then an even smaller door for under the stairs, so I used a full sized door that you can’t even notice the difference!

FullSizeRender (1)

Yesterday the carpet was installed, so now our basement is officially finished! Here’s a tour.


It’s hard to take a photo in tiny room, but that’s the shower. For a 32×32, it’s surprisingly roomy.


The banister with it’s final coat of stain and poly.


The walls are gold, but I didn’t want floor to ceiling gold, because that’s just ridiculous. So I had Steve add in wainscot and detail to offset the awesome color.I was very excited when he hung up the wood shim sunburst mirror I had made. It seems right at home there.

1618425_10152561438353791_8759876628262803917_nOur mudroom! The bench is where all the shoes go to die, the shelves are already stacked with things and I will be installing hooks for coats as soon as I remember to buy wall anchors. The floor tile is really neat. You can’t really tell from this angle, but it’s got glitter in it, and every tile has a different look. I even did the grouting. I chose a pinwheel pattern and I’m so happy I did, because it makes the space feel more unique to my taste.


The electrical panel couldn’t be buried in the wall, so I bought some super huge canvasses and had the kids create some really neat paintings for the wall. The electrical panel is behind Luca’s, which is the one on the far right. The bulkhead has a 6’7″ clearance, which is awesome, especially when the carpet guy came yesterday and had no issues. (He’s 6’5″.) The rest of the ceiling has a 7 foot plus clearance. It doesn’t even remotely feel like a basement.


I never knew you could be in love with a stairwell. I am! For almost 8 years I have climbed these stairs, and they were loud, creeky and blue. Now they’re absolutely silent, comfy and the walls are pretty neat, too. The hand rail is absolutely beautiful and way better than the one inch thick white pine piece we had before.


And the finished room, with carpeting. The couch is a pullout couch from IKEA. It has the most fantastic grey wool pattern and surprisingly comfy. There will someday be a TV on the wall it faces, but design took priority over electronics, so I got wainscot detailing and no TV. Not that sad, just a little. The french doors were installed way before the renovation even took place. Before it was just a single door with a half window. The amount of light the space gets now is incredible. It’s warm, it doesn’t echo, and the carpet is so cushy under my feet. I’ve been looking at that first photo for EIGHT years. That’s longer than I’ve been a mother. This was money well spent on so many levels.

So that’s it! My basement!


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on November 18, 2014, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Beautiful, Cassie, just beautiful. My amazement in you continues…

  2. I love it! And I can attest to the surprisingly roomy shower! Congrats!

  3. Wow! Our basement is unfinished, and I would LOVE to do a makeover like that. I love the banister! Gorgeous job, really.

  4. Oh wow, so much more “quality room”! I would love to do something like this in our house, but unfortunately, it is from the 40s, has no drainage underneath and so the basement is damp and totally not apt for storing paper, clothes, leather and such, and even less for living …
    Your basement looks so cozy, especially in the last picture, like a perfect lounge…

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