Mud, Sand, Paint…Repeat

Our basement saga continues…we have prepped and are ready to go.  and have apparently have stretched and warmed up those high V’s too. aye aye aye. 


That’s right…in order to get this space done, we used a big chunk of that True Value project budget for buckets and buckets and buckets of paint.  It was so simple – we just took in our paint swatch (Martha Stewart’s Ash Bark) into our local True Value store and they color matched it in store while we picked up extra rollers, brushes and other painting accessories.

Let me just say – cutting in was a BEAST.  This room has more edges than the Kardashians have le0pard rompers.  And that is really saying something.

 It roughly took me and my crew (my sis Nornie, my mom, and some miscellaneous helpers) a full day of painting just to get the first coat on.  Wowza.

Yes, we were taking turns up on the ladders (mostly because they didn’t want to keep hearing me shriek, “I’M FALLING HELP! HELP!  Oh wait, I’m okay.” over and over).  Even just that photo of Norn makes me kinda dizzy and want to photoshop pillowy clouds beneath her to break any fall. 

But after everything dried and Will and I went down there, I noticed a problem.  The areas that we had patched weren’t exactly smooth.  Maybe it was sheer laziness, maybe it was because we simply hate doing drywall work, maybe it was a simple mistake….but the walls and ceiling needed one more coat of mud that we had failed to do. 

So back to the drawing board…err…the mudding board we went.  I had to resand, remud, and resand all the spots that needed it. 

Forgive me for a moment while I rant about mudding drywall.  It is the pits.  the pits of a large sweaty Italian man.  a man that has a sweater of hair on after he takes off all his clothing.  those kinda pits.  and my family is full of such men so I know what I am talking about here.  believe me…even Sure Antiperspirant is not so positive about them pitties.

It not only leaves a mess, but it makes you physically ill.  Before it all settles IN EVERY CREVICE OF YOUR BODY, the dust gets in your lungs, your nose, your mouth, and basically every surface needs a full wipedown – not once but several times.  And that’s all while wearing protective eyewear, masks, and the full ET-just-landed bodysuit.  Like I said…THE PITS.

On the upside, it was fun to show Will how to properly use a broom to make swirls in the floor mess. 

Consider it training for the day that will require him to actually clean up the dust vs. just playing in it.

Seriously, who needs toys when you have a broom and a dirty floor, right?!

Anyhoo…after cleaning everything AGAIN, another coat on the ceiling, two more coats on the walls, and two more coats on the areas that needed remudding, we have a finished and wedding-ready basement.

I must say that I do love how it looks with the raised panels in the ceiling as the wall color and the trimwork all matching.  Burgundy is never good…unless it’s a character played by Will Ferrell…then it’s kind of a big deal :)  name that movie…so yeah, basically this ash bark is the bee’s knees in comparison. 

In the kitchenette area, we painted and left the hole from the bar.  Since we had this desk and my mom wanted a drink station over in this area anyway, we simply needed a solid surface that could protect the pipes and the open wall.  The tables are going to be draped so it will be well-hidden for the wedding.

Oh and you may have noticed that we got a rug down here…it’s the one from the dining room.  And all we did was fill the big spaces in the tile (that’s made to look like wood) with a bucket of pre-mixed grout.  We smeared it in, let it dry and then had a solid surface that was smooth enough to place a rug over and hide completely.

In other basement news, we also hung a few things – like lights (more on that later) and fans and a tv.  This actually belongs to my dad and he brought it over to have a slideshow of photos running during the wedding of the lovely bride & groom.

And our fans we actually got for a steal – under $45 each for the big room.  Since we already had recessed lighting, we figured that just getting a plain fan (vs. a fan that also has lights) would be a good way for us to save money but still add a way for good air movement. 

So there you have it – our basement before & after….


Not too shabby, huh?  It was nice to have that earlier deadline of Norn’s shower before the chaos of wedding week hit. 


So that was how we did it.  Not ridiculously exciting (it is only painting afterall) but definitely an improvement.  And hopefully one day, we will look back and laugh about the amount of dust on that floor.  I guess that’s the same day that the dust bunnies on the first floor will have decided to hop off to the woods :)  Hey, a girl can dream!

“I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”



  1. says

    It looks totally awesome! What a huge improvement! I feel ya on the pain of mudding and sanding, that is a horrible job, but kudos to y’all for redoing it because it would’ve bugged the mess of you to have to look at it if you hadn’t bitten the bullet and done it!

  2. says

    Your basement really is a beautiful part of your home. I love that wall color and I am wondering if it will work for our living room. It’s the darkest space in our house and it needs something ligher in there. Hmmmm…
    I hate mudding too and had a heck of a time with it in the past, so I feel your pain. The payoff was worth it, though, right? The room is gorgeous!

    Oh yeah, the movie is Anchor Man!

  3. Angela says

    Zeus’ Beard! That’s amazing! :) (Weatherman quotes are always appropriate and timely.)

    It looks incredible. I love the colors. Nice work.

  4. Judy says

    Katie – this looks like a gorgeous house!! I wanted to pass along a tip my husband & I learned along the DIY road with our first house. After replacing all the plumbing in our 1940’s house left huge holes in our walls, we learned that instead of sanding dried joint compound, you could smooth it out with a damp sponge. NO DUST!!!! This is now how we do all drywall and hold-filling projects. After filling the hole/area with joint compound, let it fully dry. Then get an old rag or sponge damp and rub circles over the patched area. Repeat until everything is even and feathered out. Not only is it a faster method, but it means you don’t have to 1) dress in ET clean suits 2) clean up all the dust later and 3) clean up dust in all the other corners of your house that you didn’t realize were affected. Good luck with your next project!!

    • says

      I have heard of the scrape-while-partially-wet rule (courtesy of Holmes on Homes) but not sponging….I did ask our mudguy if we could wet sand but he said that drysanding over painted drywall was the only way to get it really smooth…maybe he was fibbing?
      xo – kb

  5. says

    Holy moly, it looks amazing!!! The paint color you chose is PERFECT; it really plays up the architecture of the space and looks oh-so-classy!

    P.S. I love the new look of the blog! “Fall-ish” but not so much that you can’t keep it up through December ~ well done! :)

  6. Briel K. says

    Uuugh I hate painting. I can’t imagine what a nightmare that would have been for me. haha It looks awesome though! Such a beautiful room!

  7. Bobbie says

    The room looks great and I love the blog, but your mudding needs work serious work. We’ve redone half our house to the studs ~ 42 sheets of sheetrock at this point. I’ve mudded and taped it all. That much dust is ridiculous. Wet sand! And your mud lines are way, way too small you need to feather it out then wet sand it. No less than 3 coats ever and each coat gets progressively larger (and thinner). You tube is your friend in this endeavor. Watch some videos and it really will suck so much less!

    • says

      Yup – that is why we had to remud…the feathering was WAY too small the first two times. But we called up our drywall guy and he said that wet sanding on our ceiling (where it had already been painted was going to be not as effective at getting smooth as the sander) – maybe he was wrong, I don’t know, but I followed his instructions because he is a mudguy – and part of that dust was also because we had to redo the back wall (the one painted that has the windows and the door) because it had serious damage and the wood and the drywall all had to be redone. It just didn’t make the blog because I had very few photos :)
      xo – kb

  8. Kelsey says

    Katie, I absolutely love reading your blog. You are very creative and I love seeing all your projects/transformations, even if it is as “simple” as painting. ALSO, i really like the new blog design!!

  9. Gabrielle C. says

    I swear, you just added at least 50,000 dollars to your equity by doing that. That is such a turn around, and so elegant! Your home is like my template for what I want my future house to look like. You have such amazing taste!! It will be so beautiful for the wedding!

  10. Sara says

    Hey all Bloggers and Katie…. Thought you might all be interested in this little “link party” its great inspiration and fun, and Im sure all of you and Katie, absaloutely, will have lots of fabulous older blogs posts they could add full of inspiration and ideas for other people to check out…
    Also a great way to get your blog some more followers…. Hopefully everyone will comment on eachothers blogs and maybe eve try out some of the projects they find!!!! BlogLove! :)

    Katie, you pretty much could link up every blog post hahaha

  11. Erin says

    Amazing transformation. It feels like such a zen space now, not to mention it’s probably as large as my whole condo!

    Katie, you’re kind of magical. I would feel completely overwhelmed by the place, but you just keep surprising us with your incredible resourcefulness and creativity. I’m loving watching the transformation (and gorgeous pics of your family in between).

  12. says

    LOVE the “Anchorman” reference. I literally laughed out loud. love the ER too, it looks awesome and we’ll be praying for all of a wonderful day for your sister’s wedding. :)

    • says

      haha…GROSS fo’ shizzle. I have so many stories for you…whenever we meet up, you can hear all about some other crazy paint finish stories in this neighborhood :)
      xo – kb

  13. says

    Umm, I’m planning mine and my hubby’s vow renewal in the Atlanta area (Marietta) – can I borrow your basement? GORGEOUS, girl! :)

    Your sister’s wedding is going to be amazing!

  14. Cassie says

    That’s really pretty. Great job! Our basement just had water damage and we need to re-do so I’m picking a paint color now. I just looked at the MSL211 and it looks more khaki than green. Is that the right color? I thought your color looked silver-green. Should I get a tester?

    • says

      I picked the swatch too because I thought it looked more khaki but in our space it turned a different color. Definitely worth getting a sample in your space!
      xo – kb

  15. says

    This is your BASEMENT??? I thought basements were supposed to be dark and scary – a place for monsters and psychopaths to hide out. This room is simply stunning, and after seeing your floorplan in the previous post, I’m in awe at how big the space is. When I think back to how much you paid for your house, I just about want to die. You got soooo much for your money. You’d probably pay $1.5 million for that same house up here in the Boston, MA area. Le sigh…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *