Flip House Basement Makeover

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The basement at the flip house was found space: a scary dark work room turned bright hang out spot.

flip house basement after

Story time: the basement in our current house is the first time we’ve lived somewhere with a usable basement. Our first basement was storage and flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Our historic house didn’t have a basement really unless you count the space accessible via a trap door in the back porch. And the rental house was sitting on stone so nothing there either. Point being, I’m a basement newbie and a BIG fan. Whether using the space for storage or as an out-of-the-way play area for kids… turning this scary workshop at the flip house into more welcoming space seemed like money very well spent.

Basement Before

The state of the basement when I bought the flip house was a forgotten workshop with random items tucked away in all the nooks and crannies. The ‘ceiling’ consisted of miscellaneous materials that had been hammered or screwed into the ceiling joists. The floor was a painted concrete and the walls were a combo of paneling and old drywall. I.e. not welcoming or any place you’d want to deliberately spend time.

flip house basement before
flip house basement before

Around the corner from this room is the laundry room. Honestly there’s only so much flow up I can give the laundry space, but I can certainly make it brighter and cleaner. I mean… this is setting the bar very low:

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flip house laundry room before

Basement Stage One

I left the basement until last as it was a bit of a storage area for things from upstairs, but I was also secretly hoping that maybe it was a space I could just coast on a bit. I planned to remove the weird ceiling and paint the walls.

basement after ceiling demo
basement before makeover

Wanna see the most hilarious and random stuff I found shoved up above the ceiling panels? Not one, not two… but three various prophylactics. Two are shown below.

found objects from flip house

Basement Stage Two

My agent came to see the house and was like ‘immediately no’- this needs to be taken care of more than the basics. Like drywall, windows, lighting. The works. So… I had my drywall guys come back. They weren’t thrilled because you can see the heating pipes are all sticking down below the joists so would need to be cut around for drywall. While the ceiling was open, I also had my electrician come back to add can lights and clean up the years of weird electric the previous owners had installed.

basement after drywall

This was the last room in the house so my motivation/ energy was low. Step one was to clean the floor… that is all drywall mess so everything cleaned right up. I put down a cover and used a roller to prime the drywall first. While that was setting up, I used a high heat oil based paint to paint the many pipes that were still visible below the drywall. Last step was to tape off the area and go in with my sprayer.

basement ready for paint
ready for paint

After painting the entire house upstairs, I was much better with the sprayer and I was able to paint the entire space easily in one evening. This won’t be the first time I say this, but… my agent was obviously right. This area immediately felt like a bright and mostly inviting place to come and hang out!

Basement Finishing Touches

Finishing touches for the basement included: framing out the window that had been over the workbench, painting the window trim, and painting the floor (this was a late addition, but SO worth it).

floor painting
basement progress
finished basement at flip house

Quick Discussion

I’m sharing pictures of the furnished basement and have decided to keep one detail in so I can bring attention to something I was made aware of after posting: the inclusion of a children’s play tent or teepee. This playroom accessory is nothing new and honestly I always considered it a sweet way for children to have a little nook within the play space and it never occurred to me that a teepee is a form of cultural appropriation. In hindsight, I mean… duh. I’ve done lots of research since this was brought to my attention and have seen opinions that range from it’s completely inappropriate given how sacred and important the teepee is to indigenous culture to others who find it less problematic providing children aren’t using the accessory to play ‘Cowboys and Indians’.

finished basement

Personally, if I could restage and rephotograph the space, I would not include this accessory. There are so many other ways to create a little cozy nook without taking advantage of Native American culture but given the house is no longer mine to photograph, I’m leaving these images in and using this as an opportunity to discuss appropriation.

finished flip house basement

I didn’t document a ton of the laundry room process other than over on Instagram but I rebuilt the platform underneath the washer/ dryer, painted the walls and the floor and replaced the appliances. Not ideal, but about as good as it gets without completely changing the space.

laundry room after

Check out the full flip house makeover series here!

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