Painting the Basement Storage Room

Ok, I finally pulled my ass off the couch long enough to do something useful. Or at least long enough to make a mess.

So we’ve got this basement, right? And it’s mostly just a place to store stuff. It hasn’t seen any investment in a long time, so it’s starting to look a little ragged. Previous owners had painted the concrete block walls and some of the interior walls, but it’s all yellowing, dingy, flaking, and pretty unsightly. Also, it’s just not very well organized. There are shelves, but not the right kinds, and not where we want them. Other spaces are undefined and not particularly useful.

Our goal with this project is pretty much just to paint everything, probably build a few new shelves while we’re at it, right? We have too much crap laying around to do the whole basement at once, so we’ll have to do it one room at a time. We’ll start in the storage room. It’s a decent sized room. Almost too big. Big enough that if you don’t have stuff stacked up in the middle of the room you feel like you’re wasting space. When we built our garage, a lot stuff ended up in the basement that should be in the garage, and a lot of it hasn’t made it’s way back out to the garage again yet. First we just had to haul all the stuff out. It’s just stuffed around in other places of our basement, which is now mostly unusable because of crap.

Ok, on to the pictures. Here’s what our basement looks like full of useless stuff.

Basement storage room is full of stuff.
Basement storage room is full of stuff.
One little shelf on that wall is dumb.
One little shelf on that wall is dumb.
Boxes and stacks of stuff next to the laundry chute.
Boxes and stacks of stuff next to the laundry chute.
Stuff stacked under the stairs.
Stuff stacked under the stairs.
Massive set of shelves.
Massive set of shelves. I never loved the doors on these. They’re always awkward.
Flaking paint. Looks like water damage, but dry to the touch.
Flaking paint. Looks like water damage, but dry to the touch.
Flaking Paint.
Flaking Paint.

After we had all the stuff moved out, we heavily debated what to do about the massive shelves. They are as sturdy as 200 elephants, but the wall behind them was in pretty rough shape. We wouldn’t be able to do a great job painting the wall with them in place, so we decided they needed to come out. We salvaged a lot of the lumber to use elsewhere. Anyway, the basic tasks here were as follows:

  • Use a wire brush attachment on a power drill to power scrape all the loose paint off
  • Use a hand wire brush as necessary in problem areas
  • Vacuum the walls
  • Scrub the walls
  • Use quick-setting hydraulic cement to patch some of the holes
  • Place three coats of DryLok paint on the masonry walls
  • One coat of primer on the interior wood framed walls

Here are some before-and-afters. More accurately, these are still in-progress shots since we don’t have the final coat of paint on any of it yet. The “before” shots are also after we’ve already brushed, vacuumed, and scrubbed the walls.

View 1 - Before
View 1 – Before
View 1 - After
View 1 – After
View 2 - Before
View 2 – Before
View 2 - After
View 2 – After
View 3 - Before
View 3 – Before
View 3 - After
View 3 – After

Really brightens up the space, huh? Even after three coats of the heavy paint, the walls are still yellowing a bit. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone with white paint?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Next steps are to finish painting the walls, scrub the floor, paint the floor, then build some new shelving in here. Stay tuned.

Painting the Basement

Insert something here about how I never post anymore.

Welcome back to ReubensCube. Here today with another DIY project that most people could have finished in a weekend but it took me a month because that’s just the kind of person I am. I’m talking about painting the basement. Here’s a refresher of what our basement looked like the day we bought the house.

Basement when we moved in.

My favorite part of the room was the little counter on the left there with the hole in the wall. I guess previous owners used to throw parties down here or something and that was the dry bar? I dunno. But 70’s faux wood paneling, drop ceiling, brown electrical outlets, harsh florescent lights.

Where to start with a space like this? Long term, this whole space just needs to be gutted and reconstructed from scratch, but we didn’t have time or budget for something like that right now, so we just needed a bandaid fix to last us a few years. My wife and I agreed that neither of us were up for the task of removing the paneling and drywalling – too many unknowns and too big of a project to do it right.

But we did put a lot of thought into the ceiling. We both hate the harsh lights and the drop ceiling and wanted to remove it, but what to replace it with? Like I said, neither of us were up for drywalling the space right now. We spent a lot of time  looking for design ideas. I was really drawn to the open joist look and thought pretty hard about giving it a shot in this space. I love the look of fully finished floors and walls with completely raw and rough ceilings.

But, ultimately, even that was more effort than we wanted to put into it right now, so we agreed the whole space would just get a coat of paint, including the drop ceiling. We ended up buying a handheld spray gun to do the painting – that experience probably deserves a post of it’s own (that I’ll never write).

Here’s a before shot of the room:

Basement - Before
Basement – Before

And here’s an after shot of the room:

Basement - After
Basement – After

Pretty big change, huh? The walls are a light grey color, the ceiling is white. In the photo above, you can also see that we collected our three mismatched bookshelves along the back wall, and used some 4″ lag screws and 2×4’s to anchor the things into the wall to keep them from toppling. The shelves have always been a bit wobbly and unsteady, and we have been worried for some time about one of the kids trying to climb the shelves and winding up in an awful situation. Not a very attractive solution, but it gets the job done.

We also finally got around to hanging a bunch of bike and Minneapolis themed posters.

Blank Wall.
Blank Wall.
More Bike Themed Wall Art.
More Bike Themed Wall Art.
Bike & Minneapolis Themed Wall Art.
Bike & Minneapolis Themed Wall Art.

We also swapped out the brown electrical outlets for white, but we’ll have to live with the awful florescent lights for the time being.

Long term, we’d like to buy a second TV an hang it on the wall. I didn’t take a picture of it, but we removed the old counter/bar, and (poorly) patched the hole in the wall – that space would work nicely now for mounting a TV. This is shaping up to be some sort of family room or play room or something, so you know, kids gotta watch Curious George somewhere…

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Painting the Attic Hallway

More painting in the attic. We threw a few coats of white paint on the hallway and stairway. Unlike the bedroom, we didn’t paint any of the trim. We didn’t want to paint the stairs or the trim along the stairs, and we didn’t really know how to transition from unpainted stair trim to painted baseboards, so none of the trim got painted. Here are some before and afters:

Hallway before.
Hallway before.
Hallway after.
Hallway after.
Top of Stairs before.
Top of Stairs before.
Top of Stairs after.
Top of Stairs after.

Now if we could just get around to getting rid of those awful pink blinds on the window… someday.

Painting the Attic Bedroom

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we were trying to spruce the attic up a bit by just throwing up a bit of paint and making only very minor repairs. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the walls are made of plywood, with a thin skim coat over the top. It’s not holding up well, and the skim coat is chipping off in a lot of places. There has also been some water intrusion over the years, so we were left with a lot of little things like this to repair:

Paint over plywood.
Paint over plywood.

We’re not really putting a ton of effort into it, we’re just mudding it up to conceal the holes for now. It’s not a great long-term fix, but like I mentioned previously, we’re operating under the assumption that the whole attic will be gutted within 5 years, so good enough.

We spent last weekend throwing up some paint on the walls in the bedroom area (we haven’t tackled the hallway yet). Here are a few before and after shots showing the walls as they’ve looked for the past year. The walls were a really awful salmon color. White-washing things really went a long way towards brightening this space up.

Attic Bed Nook - Before
Attic Bed Nook – Before
Attic Bed Nook - After
Attic Bed Nook – After

Nice, huh? We updated some of the electrical, and mounted a couple new lights right above each bed. There is a new outlet right at the head of each bed, which isn’t exactly the most convenient place for an outlet, but whatever. That’s where the wires were and moving wires around was out of the scope of this project.

Try this before and after on for size:

Attic Bathroom Door - Before
Attic Bathroom Door – Before
Attic Bathroom Door - After
Attic Bathroom Door – After

We didn’t paint any of the doors – we might in the future, but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do right now. These are beautiful solid wood doors, and I haven’t totally ruled out the possibility of stripping them sometime in the future.

How about this one?

Attic Side - Before
Attic Side – Before
Attic Side - After
Attic Side – After

What do you think? The space is almost livable now, right? We don’t have house guests all that often, but when we do, I think they’ll appreciate the updated look.

Painting the Kitchen

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the painting in the kitchen. It mostly went from white to white, but once again, we felt like the smoke and smell needed to be taken care of. We painted below the chair-rail molding with the same gray-blue color we used in the dining and living rooms, and the top half and the ceiling in bright white. Even if you aren’t dramatically changing colors, don’t you think a fresh coat of paint can do wonders to make the room feel like it got a nice upgrade?

Not much to see here

The brick wall was left alone for now, although I confess I was briefly tempted to paint it white too.

Brick wall in the kitchen - love it or hate it?

We seem to get mixed reactions from people when they see it- some love it and some think it needs to go- what do you think? Have you seen any type of trearment for bricks that would let us update the look?

Painting the Bathroom

Believe it or not, I was actually a little sad that we couldn’t keep this fantastic specimen of 1940s wallpaper up in our bathroom. We know ultimately this room will need a pretty serious makeover and it might have been fun to get nostalgic every time we used the commode, but unfortunately the wall paper was covered in a layer of smoke and grime and some other sticky residue that I’m not sure I want to identify.  So for those of you who were fans of the gold/pink tile combo, here is one last look at it:

Bathroom before: Gold foiled glory!

Luckily the wall paper came down easily- just pulled straight off the wall with no prep work required. There was another layer of glue that needed to be scrubbed off though- similar to KP’s room. We also had a fair amount of spackling that needed to happen. This bathroom has no vent and between that and possible ice dam damage there is some pretty soft spots in the ceiling. We’re hoping it holds up till we get the chance to do a proper makeover. For now this room is sporting a fresh coat of ultra-white on the walls.

Bathroom with a fresh coat of paint

It really tones down the pink tiles, don’t cha think? Don’t worry- replacing those gold blinds is still pretty high on our to do list!

Painting the Master Bedroom

Next up in the painting projects was our bedroom.

First we had to do some pretty serious prep work to get the room ready.

Before- Bedroom on move in day

Out went the carpet and down came the paneling, exposing a nice hardwood floor along with a wall of thick black adhesive.

Black adhesive behind the paneling

A few hours of sanding with the orbital sander and we had pretty smooth walls. The rest of the room took a good scrubbing  and then we were ready to paint.

Once again the Original Killz primer was needed to help block any smoke residue from seeping out.  Then a coat of Behr Grass Cloth in eggshell finish went on the walls and the trim and ceiling got a treatment of ultra-white.

Master bedroom with green walls and clean floor.

I really like using the ultra-white for trim and ceilings because I think it gives such a nice pop of freshness and contrast to the colored walls. Just our personal taste.

We debated about removing the popcorn from the ceiling, but ended up deciding it could stay for now. The popcorn finish isn’t exactly our personal taste and if we were putting it in from scratch we wouldn’t add it, but sometimes you just have to pick and choose where to put your ceiling scraping efforts.

Obviously, we still need to finish the heat registers, find a new light fixture, and hang some closet shelves.

Painting KP’s Room

Next up in the painting marathon was KP’s room. This room actually took the longest time of any room to prep for painting.
We started by peeling off the wallpaper. It actually came down pretty easy. It seemed to be a pretty high quality fabric type wall covering. Too bad years of smoke and neglect left it growse.

Wallpaper on KP's walls = nasty

Behind the wallpaper was a layer of glue. Hot soapy water, sponges, and elbow grease were required to get that off.

Layer of glue under the wall paper
In process; scrubbing off the glue

While we were at it, we decided to scrape the popcorn texture off the ceiling in this room. It wasn’t hard, but it was pretty messy. We put down plastic sheeting and then used spray bottles of warm water to wet the ceiling. Once the popcorn was wet enough we could scrape it off fairly easily. This left us and the room covered in a mud-like popcorn goop, but the ceiling looks great!

For this room we again primed with Original Killz primer and then put on a coat of Glidden Clear Blue Sky on the walls.

The trim and ceiling got the same ultra-white treatment as the trim in the rest of the house.  We were given a hand-me-down dresser for KP,  but it needed a little cosmetic work, so we used the same wall and trim paint to give her a custom colored dresser.

KP's room with a fresh coat of Blue Sky paint

Obviously, we still need to finish work on the heat registers, the electrical receptacles, the light fixture, and window coverings, but we think it looks pretty good.

What do you think?


Painting the Living Room

Move in day

Here’s a little math equation for y’all:

Years of smoking inside the house

+ Several years without repainting the walls

– Any substantial cleaning

All the walls in the house need to be painted

Fortunately my parents were kind enough to spend an entire week helping us out or we would still be painting.

We decided to start in the living room/dining room which is basically one large room semi-divided with a large archway.  As you can see from the before pictures, these walls were gross. Lots of smoke stains, water discolorations, and patches of patched plaster repairs that had never been painted over.

Because of the smoke residue, our only choice was to first attack the walls and ceilings with a thick layer of Original Killz primer. This stuff is pretty nasty- my advice is to ventilate the room as much as possible if you need to use this stuff. It did the trick though- no more nasty smoke smell/old people odor left here!

Even the priming made things look waaaayyy better.

Once the walls and ceilings had been primed it was time for the fun part- putting new color on the walls. We went with Glidden Antique Silver.  In the store we thought it was gray with a tint of blue, but once it was on the walls we decided it was more of a blue with a tint of gray. We think it looks pretty darn good with the wood stain on all the doors, trim, and picture rail trim.

What do you think?

Painted dining room
Painted living room