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. Amy says

    That is the most gorgeous basement I have ever seen, well once you repainted it! The finishes are fantastic and not what you normally see in a basement. You are one lucky girl!

  2. says

    Love it! Burgundy that dark is… ugh. But, I do like some different shades of red. I actually have a Bordeaux accent wall in my family room around the fire place and I love it. Of course the rest of the walls are a cream color, so it brightens it up. A whole room and the ceiling of that color…. I would feel like I was surrounded by blood… ugh!

  3. Barb says

    OMG! It is so great! I love the color! Your house will be beautiful for this wedding coming up! Are you the photographer? Hope you will be able to relax and enjoy all the compliments you will receive for your hard work! Bravo to. The Bowers! Your sister better appreciate all the blood, sweat & tears!

    Happy Wedding Weekend!


    • says

      Nope – I actually don’t photograph weddings so I’m glad she didn’t even ask. Plus, I’m the matron of honor so it probably would have been a little tough to do both :)
      xo – kb

  4. Christine says

    It looks great! That looks like a ton of work – but well worth it.
    We renovated our kitchen this summer – I too hate drywall dust. I can’t imagine doing drywall by trade.

  5. Katie says

    It’s really beautiful! And I agree, mudding and sanding is awful! We just finished a bathroom remodel and I thought I would never finish with the sanding!

  6. Jen M says

    Fantastic! You picked the perfect colour for those walls, I can’t believe the difference it makes. Your sister is one lucky girl to be able to have her wedding in such a beautiful, intimate place. Thanks for sharing!

  7. emily says

    it really does look like a completely different room!

    and i love that your cheerleaders are Ohio State cheerleaders with Ohio Stadium in the background! go buckeyes!!!

  8. says

    That color is really great. I think it really makes the room seem much bigger. Not that it needed help in looking bigger. Oh and I hope everyone knows that movie is Anchorman…classic.=)

    “milk was a bad idea”

  9. Jason says

    It looks great and the biggest surprise was when I realized I had already seen the paint in the wedding shower post…apparently I wasn’t, but now I am picking up what you are putting down!!

  10. says

    dear lord baby jesus, (another will ferrell movie) that is a different room…no, a different house!
    i am flabbergasted. really, my jaw hit my desk.

    big time congrats – drywall is NOT easy work.

  11. says

    agreed! drywall dust is awful. we’ve redone two ceilings and a wall since we bought our house a year ago, and it’s just a pain. glad your room turned out so gorgeous!

  12. luckyjayne says

    It looks fantastic! Family events are a great reason to “improve” your home….money spent well. Having your sister’s wedding at your home seems like a win/win. I know that we all look forward to seeing the pics. And I love the new design of your site.

  13. says

    Oh my word! looks SO MUCH BIGGER. it’s amazing the transformation a little (or in this case a lot) of paint can make. From clandestine cave-ish to shabby chic-ness. How about that alliteration?!?

    Oh and I will be highly offended for all who didn’t know that movie reference.

  14. says

    The new colors and fixed drywall look GREAT! Much better than the anchor man color it was. We’re DIYing a basement reno and having the drywall mudded and taped is one of the few things we’re hiring out. When I explain why I’m not DIYing it I’m totally going to say, “Because 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” :)

  15. Lindsey says

    What finish of paint did you use? I always use eggshell but I find it so hard to put on and not have roller marks…also..did you prime? We just painted our laundry room with a paint + primer in one ….in light yellow and used it to cover this darker tan….the tan was not super dark but it took 3 coats of the paint+primer to cover….next time I think I may just use normal paint and save the extra cost is I still have to do the same number of coats.

  16. Michelle Gordon says

    Wow….it looks amazing. What are you going to do with the space after the wedding? You could always rent it out for other occasions! It is stunning! It is hard to believe that’s a basement.

  17. says

    Simply beautiful! It’s funny to me that the trim and moldings pop more with a more neutral color than they did when that bold burgundy was in there. It looks so serene and very clean in there now! Nice job – hopefully worth all the extra fuss!

    Favorite line: “This room has more edges than the Kardashians have le0pard rompers. And that is really saying something.” That really IS saying something! hahahaha

  18. RBC says

    “Not ridiculously exciting” – pffft whatever, it totally IS ridiculously exciting! It looks SO much better! Everyone always says painting is a “quick and easy makeover”. I don’t think those people have ever painted before – and I’m positive they haven’t painted a coffered ceiling. Good work!

  19. says

    The basement has been one of the rooms I’ve been excited to see ever since you guys moved in. All the detail and trimwork makes it one of the fanciest basements I’ve ever seen. ;) You guys did a beautiful job.

  20. Emily says

    I am so glad that the basement is getting some love. It looks great! It would be wonderful to have a space you could close off for daily life but utilize for things like parties. It is like renting a great hall for the one time cost of mudding and painting. That is not to say that the one time work is fun or easy at all.

  21. amanda gragg says

    You said this wasn’t exciting…paint is exciting!!!! Maybe it just is to me. I love how quickly a huge transformation can take place with one in your case a few coats of paint. Love it!

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