Sunday, March 17, 2013

Basement Remodel - Before and After Pictures

Two years ago my husband and I were blessed to buy a semi-fixer-upper on the Mississippi River in a wonderful neighborhood. The house had been empty for six years, so we got an amazing deal, but it was in need of updating. We started with two upstairs rooms the first year and this year we decided to tackle the basement.

The house had two major additions in the 1970's and the 1990's so it's a large house full of character. The addition in the 1970's was a two story addition, on the back of the house. It was about ten feet wide by thirty feet long. The basement is a walk-out to the river, but the downstairs addition wasn't insulated, so it was unusable in the winter - plus, since the house was empty for six years, it was overrun with rodents. It needed to be gutted!

The original walkout to the backyard and the river.
 Here's what this room looks like now:

We opened up a wall separating two rooms to make one
large room, plus we added the far wall, so we could have a foyer
to enter the basement from outside.
This is the other side of the original addition.
It had a "pass-through" granite fireplace and four small windows

Here's the same room. We took out the four small windows
and put in three larger ones.
This was the room on the other side of the "pass-through"
fireplace - my future office!
Same room! I still need to decorate and bring in my furniture.
I have three large new windows to look out on the
river while I'm writing.

This was the window that separated the main heated family
room and the addition. We took out the window
and made a large archway. This is the only picture of the
indoor room - it was pretty dark! Think wood paneling
and checker board tiles. The room is about 12x30 feet.
These are the two rooms, now one! We've since added a
television where the cords are - and moved our living
room furniture downstairs. One of my boys was helping
vacuum and the other was running around in circles!
Here's the other end of the same room, with a peek into my office.
The only thing that remains from the original room are the cabinets.
I wish we had more pictures! There were only two dim lights and
so much paneling. It's an unbelievable transformation.
Another view of the one large room now.
I love the ceiling! We wallpapered the ceiling and painted it with
a high gloss paint, so it looks like an old-fashioned tin ceiling -
at about a tenth of the price. Around the fireplace my husband
did some custom trim work - he's so talented!

My husband and brother-in-law, Matt, did almost all the work on the basement. We started demolition just after the New Year and they were able to finish it in a little over two months. My dad also came in and helped a few times, and I did a lot of the painting. With a little imagination, and a lot of hard work, we have now added another 600 square feet of usable space to our home.

In the next two weeks we'll be hosting the third birthday party for our twins and a Final Four Game party! I love to entertain and I can't wait to use this space with family and friends. Not to mention how much fun we'll have here with our children.

As my husband and I were sitting together admiring the transformation in this space, he said to me: "Everything we own is not really ours. It's a gift from God, on loan to us for as long as He sees fit. He's calling us to use the gifts He's given us to minister to others. We need to use this space to bless as many people as possible." And that's exactly what we hope to do.

What about you? Have you ever remodeled a space in your home? If you could remodel a room, which would it be and what would you do?


  1. I've remodeled the kitchen and the bathroom in my house. Both seemed to take forever but the results were worth it! It's difficult to live through it but so worth it in the end. Looks like you did a great job. Enjoy!

  2. Oh I love it! What a fantastic room to use for God's glory! I am so excited to see what kind of ministry the Lord has for you in it. ;)

  3. Gabe, it's looks MARVELOUS!!! Look at all of that space for the boys to run around. & the windows, all the light they let in - love the color scheme, too. Yay! Lindsay

  4. That's incredible, friend!! Can't wait to see it in person soon. ;) What a transformation! And I'm a wee bit jealous that your office includes a view of the river. That's so sweet!

  5. Fun!! Like Linz said, can't wait to see it in person. Yay!

  6. Looks beautiful--love the paint colours! And an office--priceless!

  7. Awesome job! Great room for the family!

  8. Beautiful, Gabe!! I love before and after makeovers, especially with pictures. Your family did a great job!

  9. Lisa N. - I agree, living through it is hard, but it's so worth it in the end! One day we hope to tackle the kitchen, but that will be really difficult to manage with a family of six and no kitchen.

    Sherrinda - I'm excited, too! We're privileged to be blessed with this house and we hope He uses it to bless others through us.

    Lindsay L. - I can't wait for you to see it! You're going to be shocked. :) It used to be the darkest room in the house and now it's the brightest.

    Lindsay H. - I can't wait for you to see it, too!! June is coming faster and faster! I told Dave he HAD to have it finished before June. :) I can't wait for you to see my office and to spend time relaxing by the water with you!!

    Melissa - Yay for June and writing retreats and good friends to share it with!!!

    Julie - thank you!

    Heather - thank you, I really like how the colors turned out. It's a bit tricky to figure out what color scheme to go with when there is a great big granite fireplace in the middle of the room. Do you go with browns, greys or some other color blended into the rock? I think it turned out great.

    Loree - thank you! My kids (and nieces and nephews and neighborhood kids) have already spent many hours down there. :)

    Lisa - thank you! I wish we had taken more of the bigger room, but it was so dingy we never thought to take a picture! :) My husband and brother-in-law are very talented and hard workers.

  10. Wow, what a change!! It looks beautiful, hard work pays off! :) I am sure pictures don't do it enough justice, can't wait to see it in person someday! :)

  11. What a great job you did. The changes look great.

  12. Angela - thanks for stopping by! I'd love to show it to you. :)

    Keli - Thank you! We had fun making the space brand new.

  13. I love it! I need to tackle the kids bathroom. They're sick of fish. Quite frankly, so am I.

  14. Gabe, It looks fabulous! You need to treat your hubby for all of his hard work. I have to agree with Linz, although 'm ALOT jealous of your view of the river.

    Remodeling...hmmm. Let's just say I've worked on so many projects with hubby that my new mantra -- nope, no, not going to happen to have you lost your mind?

    He just shakes his head and we do it anyway. :0)

    See what love does?


  15. Yay for remodeling! When my husband and I moved into our current house, it was partially remodeled. We finished the remodel and then added on. We now have a very practical, fun space for our growing family.

    Your basement looks great! If I were in your neck of the woods, I would totally crash that Final Four party! ;) I think of you often and wish you the best as you persevere through your writing journey!

  16. Oh, how pretty! I'll bet you that's a cozy place to write. :-)

  17. Gabe, it's beautiful! I love the open spaces and big windows. And, your office.....give me a moment to remove the green from my smile. :) I'm just a wee bit envious. ;) It's beautiful!

    When we moved back into our home in Colorado, we were fortunate to have the funds to do some work before we moved in. All the carpet needed to be replaced (it was only 17 years old!), the linoleum in the kitchen was peeling up, the walls had never been painted, and we had carpeted bathrooms! NOT a good combination with boys.

    We added wood flooring to our kitchen and tiled all the bathrooms. In the kitchen, we replaced country blue 1 inch tiles with cinnamon quartz which updated and warmed up the kitchen. We also had to replace appliances. We had the cabinets refinished and added handles. Small touch-- but I like it. :) No, my honey and I didn't do the work, just the planning.

    Maybe one day, I'll be brave enough to do a serious remodel with my own hands. :) Your husband and company did a fabulous job on yours!

  18. Cool basement so nice. Hope you can also help me remodel mine.

  19. I really like what you did with the windows. Instead of keeping the four small ones, the big ones should give you a better view outside when you need to gather your thoughts while writing. :P Had you not said that you were making part of it your office, I would’ve suggested making the whole thing the home entertainment area/game room. :)

    Camille Edington

    1. I agree! The space would definitely make for a good home theater room. It already has the look for it, all it needs now are a few couches, some recliners, and an awesome sound system and a big LED screen.

      >> Angel

  20. I remodeled our kitchen before, as it was my wife's lifelong dream. But, if I want something remodeled then, I guess that would be our master bedroom. It's the only place in the house where we get to relax and sleep, and I think we deserve a much better looking and comfortable room.

  21. Lovely before and after - I can't wait to get started on my own basement remodel - it's been a long time coming!

  22. Nice! The previous set-up looked like the basement was so cramped, but it looks so much better now with all that space. Plus, by allowing sunlight to pass through, you're making your basement more energy-efficient.

    Isaac Andre @

  23. Your remodeled basement looks better than my actual living room. It really came out amazing, especially the fireplace. That room looks like a place I could sit and watch TV or read a book for hours in peace. Enjoy your new living space. The attention to detail even in the molding has transformed the basement into a place you can really entertain now.


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