Bluestone Basement Laundry: The Big Reveal!

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WELL BOY OH BOY, it’s been a busy month of work on the Bluestone Cottage basement renovation, and now I have stuff to show you! The very first finished space in this house! Which may have been the most challenging one, although I may eat those words later, and certainly the most grim “before” I’ve ever encountered. If you haven’t checked out the earlier posts about resurfacing the concrete floor and adding insulation and finishes, go read those! We’ve got a lot of ground to get through in this one!

SHALL WE?! Let’s go.

Even though this old basement access is now covered over in favor of new wooden steps stacked under the main staircase, let’s just think wayyyyyyy back for a moment to when I first walked through this house and located the basement access. I walked down with just my iPhone flashlight, and then NOPE’D my butt right out of there. It was dark, dank, smelly, cramped, and littered with trash. And carpeting!! The kind of space where you might come upon a corpse and kinda feel like you asked for it.

Later on, once I got some lights set up down there, I took a total of two photos. They are above. I do this to myself sometimes: if I don’t really foresee something undergoing a big transformation, I neglect to take nearly enough “before” pictures and then I’m grumpy about it later. But anyway: can’t you just see a washer and dryer tucked into that little nook? No?

How about now?

NOT TOO SHABBY, AM I RIGHT?! I kind of surprised myself in here: I started work on this a month ago without any real design plan, and then inspiration struck hard in the form of Port Lockroy, a 1940s British research station on Antarctica. I tried to really let that space guide me with more than just a color scheme—the modesty, the simplicity and handmade quality of it were just as informative! I tend to overcomplicate things for myself sometimes, so I found myself mulling a lot over how to deal with certain things efficiently and frugally and without a lot of fuss. Some of those solutions ended up being my favorite things in the room!

This is shortly after I started work about a month ago, after I spent a few days cleaning up! Edwin and I had previously framed the walls, and electric and plumbing rough-ins had to be completed before any of this finish work could take place. The propane tank, by the way, is connected to this Craftsman portable propane heater—I have no idea how I lived for so long without one of these for winter projects.

S’cute right? I really wanted the space to feel super casual and practical because it’s a basement! In an old house! Practical is its entire job! So it’s not precious—throw up a hook wherever you need it, add a shelf, staple a cable, cut a hole and patch it with something else, provided you paint it—it’s all good.

Bear in mind that almost every single thing in this space is brand new and from Lowe’s!, but I still wanted it to feel like a vintage space. Finishing it like the rest of the house would have felt too formal and unnatural, though, so I tried to do things throughout to get that nice fresh WWII vibe all the kids are talking about (if I say it, does that make it true?). I basically asked myself “what would grandpa do?” a lot. Not either of my actual grandpas—to be honest, I have no idea how they would have finished a basement in 1945—more like some generic old guy in my brain who putters around. He’s always been old and he doesn’t have time for your shenanigans. Grandpa paints right over the outlets and switches and utilities, so I DID TOO. Grandpa ain’t about that painter’s tape life either. It felt so naughty and liberating. But like, I think it works.

Behind that door is the old basement access. Aside from the floor, I haven’t really dealt with that space yet, but it’ll house the boiler and some additional storage. I love that there’s a separate space for that! Because the ceiling height is so low (about 6-6’4″ depending on where you’re standing), it’s also really nice to have all the plumbing tucked into the ceiling so it could be finished without exposed Pex. Copper pipe can look great but Pex isn’t as nice to look at.

Putting all the hooks and hangers and tools on the pegboard was so much funnnnnn. I’ve never actually had a pegboard, and now I want one for myself! I kind of want this whole room for myself, but that’s a different story.

OK, now that we’ve kind of given it the once-over, let’s break it down!

Last time, we discussed the Azek composite baseboards, Dow Froth-Pak spray foam insulation, and 1/4″ thick beadboard plywood that I used for the walls. As a precaution, I painted the backside of the plywood with Rust-Oleum’s Mold Killing Primer. I attached the panels to the studs with 1 1/4″ exterior screws, and strips of scrap wood cover all the seams! The intention here is that should parts of a wall/ceiling ever need to be removed for any reason (like to access a pipe or a cable or something), one could do so fairly easily by just prying off the seam trim and locating the screw heads, and everything could likely be reused for the repair.

Since I ripped the panel widths down for the walls, I had some large off-cuts to use on the ceiling! The joists are all over the place and the thin plywood is definitely wavy as a result, but it’s ok! It looked so bad before I put up the seams to cover the strips and painted it, but now it’s great. The strips on the seams, by the way, are just the same plywood ripped to 2″ and flipped over to the smooth side. The “chair rail” piece is scraps of that same Azek composite board I used for the baseboard, ripped down to 2″ and only 1/2″ thick. I made a LOT of sawdust during this project, but didn’t buy any lumber (composite or real!) aside from 15 sheets of the plywood.

Itty bitty window! I’m pretty sure it had only been painted when it was new and had never been reglazed—which left it in probably the most restorable condition of any window in the house!

The old hardware didn’t work anymore with the new framing/trim, so I had to improvise a little but it works!

I couldn’t dress up this room without a few little nods to my Antarctic inspiration. That little print is by Charley Harper—I’ve been carrying around a stack of prints like this that I ripped out of a day planner like a decade ago.

This vintage print is one of the only things left in my own house from a previous owner, and I thought it’d be cute just hanging there tacked to the wall all casual. I used my super special supply of vintage carpet tacks for the occasion.

The door to the boiler room actually came out of my own house, too! It was a 1930s closet addition and the style isn’t appropriate for my house, but it’s perfect for this space! And it was already so small that I only had to cut about an inch off the bottom to make it work. Like it was meant to be!

So the grandpa part of me wanted to paint the door hardware right along with the door, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Ha! So I restored it instead. The backplate was original to this door, but the knob itself came from this house (the original knob is glass—I may use it upstairs?). I like when I can use excess from my house in other projects—it makes them all feel linked in a weird way.

Can we just take a hard right for a second and talk about HOW GLORIOUS IS THIS PAINT?! Now, you guys know me by now, right? I tend to be a black-white-neutral kinda guy when it comes to paint. I’m not typically using two really strong greens in combination, plus a color that resembles warm mayonnaise. BUT I LOVE IT. I love it so much that I wish we could all hang out down here in person, because the colors don’t translate precisely into photos shot in artificial light on an iPhone, but I did my best. It feels cheery and clean and vintage and modern and British and nautical and like a morgue all at the same time. The morgue part, especially, pleases me greatly.

Over time I’ve learned to appreciate sheens as much as colors—how glossy or matte a paint is can be a total game-changer! The Valspar High Gloss Enamel paint is fantastic to work with—thick, great coverage, and excellent self-leveling ability. The high gloss feels SO nice down here—it really gives off a vintage oil-based paint vibe, but with all the convenience and relative environmental friendliness and accelerated dry time of modern latex paint. Every surface feels scrubbable and smooth, and the sheen reflects a lot of light and makes the whole space just feel fresh. Love.

The actual painting was a bit labor-intensive, but totally worth it. I ended up finding that rolling with a regular nap 9″ roller and back-brushing everything with a 3″ angled brush was a good method for getting thorough coverage—all those grooves in the beaded ply suck up a lot of paint! You want to use kind of a heavy hand to get that thick oil-based paint look, you know? I did a minimum of two coats and three in some areas, and it would just look better and better with more coats. That plywood goes from looking a little hokey and cheap to downright luxurious with the right paint and caulk.

By the way, I’m a huge fan of these Whizz Microlon roller covers. They don’t shed like other roller covers do, and they wash really well—I threw some in my washing machine after giving them a good rinse, and they came out looking and feeling brand new! They’re awesome.

The upper walls and ceiling are Valspar’s “Ginger Sugar,” the minty color is called “Kelp,” and the dark green accent is “Palace Green.” For maybe the first time ever, I got three sample colors and ended up using exactly those three sample colors!

By the way—it took me a while to figure out how exactly to deal with these stairs. They were built speedily but not well, which ended up making a bunch of extra work for me later to reinforce all the treads and figure out how to finish them in a way that felt decent-looking and easy to clean. On the upside, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured it out. On the downside, I haven’t actually done it yet. But the stringer looks not bad for nailing some literal trash to it and painting it green! Let’s also not forget that I still have to renovate the entire house, so those basement stairs might take a beating before all is said and done—it might be better to just wait.

ANYWAY. Let’s discuss this region of the room. Pegboard? Love it. I just used a regular roller to paint it (be careful with brushing—paint can pool in the holes and drip out as it dries). It’s furred out 1″ from the studs behind, which creates the space for the pegs to be inserted into place. I started with this large assortment of pegboard accessories by Blue Hawkand then purchased a few extra bits like those little black mesh baskets and little yellow containers. I think organizing the pegboard is my new favorite game.

The big wooden trunk is an antique I picked up a while ago that I never especially had a space for in my house, but it adds a lot of charm here! It’s currently empty, but it could store a million different things. At my house it held a sewing machine and a bunch of fabric and associated supplies, but I decided those things would feel more at home spread across my dining room table because I needed to poach that trunk for my big boy art project.

The hanging clothes dryer is from one of my favorite stores in Brooklyn (now closed, like everything else I used to like in Brooklyn), and is no longer in production, so I cannot help you there. It hung in my first laundry room in my own house, and I would have reused it in my second one but there just wasn’t a good spot for it. I know this arrangement looks a little funny, but it’s hung far enough from the pegboard that I don’t think it’s an issue.

Speaking of drying! I’m not yet in a position to report back on the performance of the Bosch 500-series washer and matching electric ventless dryer I got for this space (read more about that decision-making here!) because they aren’t tottttalllllly hooked up yet, but I still feel good about them! You guys gave me a lot of good feedback on ventless dryers—which are definitely not all created equal—including how to optimize performance and what to reasonably expect. Some of you even have experience with these very models, which was encouraging! So anyway, I’m hoping that between the actual dryer, the hanging dryer, and the clothesline, there are enough ways to dry stuff down here.

OH YEAH GIRL, THERE’S A RETRACTABLE CLOTHESLINE. Did you think this was a JOKE? It stretches from one side of the room to the other and it took about 5 minutes to put up but somehow feels like huge fancy luxury and height of modern convenience.

My machine nook ended up being weirdly challenging! The hookups are way up by the ceiling (remember, really low ceilings), and I hate looking at that stuff but it needs to be easily accessible. I also wanted a big surface on top to fold or sort or put down a towel and iron or whatever, and a place to throw stuff away, while still leaving space around the machines (evidently crowding the dryer can really affect its performance), and then there’s that big 3″ waste line above and other plumbing just cutting across all ugly like that.

For the work surface, I mounted old 2×4 scraps as cleats to the side walls and back (I ended up cutting off the ends of that back piece later for the hoses and cords to fit up through), being sure to hit the studs. Then I used this Baltic Birch butcherblock counter, which was almost the perfect size! A few measurements and a pass with the circular saw later, I had a SUPER nice, solid worktop! To finish it, I used this Watco butcher block oil and finish, which is excellent stuff—it doesn’t need to be refreshed nearly as often as mineral oil does.

The overhead waste line situation was a little more iffy. I thought originally that I’d just build out a little soffit and box it in like a regular person, but after putting up a small section just to get a sense of how it would look and feel, I couldn’t! It looked AWFUL and it was a real head-banger—worse than the pipe alone since it protruded out further and lower. Just so awkward and terrible. I moved on to other stuff until I could think of a better solution. What would grandpa do?

Well, I’m not sure what grandpa would do but I know what I did which was so easy and I’m a little too smug about. I attached the framing lumber—one nailer up on the ceiling and one below on the wall. Obviously the framing is level and the pipe is pitched down, so I wanted to keep my “soffit” as high as possible while still maintaining a level line.


One occasionally advantageous quality of the Azek composite boards is that they’re SUPER bendy. After ripping 3/4″ thick boards down to 1/2″ thick for the chair rail, I had a lot of 1/8″ thick off-cuts that can bend almost in half before breaking. A-ha! I attached strips like this in several places along the length of the soffit to create a super-simple frame/shape.

Then, I attached 14″ flashing to the framing along the ceiling, and pulled it over my rounded composite board skeleton so it’d maintain a nice curve! I went into Lowe’s for aluminum flashing but opted for this vinyl flashing instead, since I thought it would be more forgiving as I inevitably bent and creased it by accident during install. This definitely would have been better as a two person job but I managed.

Anyway—a little caulk and paint and now it’s one of my favorite things in the room! It definitely looks like painted sheet metal, not vinyl flashing, and I feel like it’s one of those things your brain just kind of accepts as serving some function and moves on without thinking about more. I felt really crafty with that one, you guys.

For the whole hook-up situation, I tried not to overthink it (there were whole schemes with shelves and cabinets with false backs and other nonsense) and just made myself a little modesty skirt! And I really like it! I used a regular canvas drop cloth from Lowe’s, sewed a couple straight lines and boom, curtain! I hung it off of a metal clothing rod cut to size, which is easy to remove when the curtain needs to be washed. I like that there’s a lot of space to stash stuff behind it, too! There are a couple enamel trays back there to corral bottles of cleaners and stuff.

There’s about a foot and a half of dead space behind the machines, plus about 14″ to the side. I’m hoping that air circulation helps the dryer do its thing! I picked up this nice and affordable Style Selections trash can to sit in that space.

OK, should we talk about that huge work bench?! I love it and I’m jealous of it! It’s a full 8′ long by 2′ deep, which is such a wonderful and huge work surface to have anywhere in this little house! If I were doing this room for myself I’d probably want more of a proper tool bench with lots of drawers, but this feels more versatile if you just wanted it for general storage.

I started with a classic Edsal shelving unit, but modified it a little. I cut about 2″ off the vertical supports to lower the whole thing—especially with adding the butcherblock top, it was just too high for the space. Before assembly, I laid out all the pieces and coated them with this Krylon bonding primer spray paint, which dries quickly and leaves a nice matte finish to accept the topcoat!

Then I broke out my little Wagner spray gun (I love that thing for little projects like this!) and painted the parts to match the walls, of course!

I really like how it turned out! I’m sure the paint will chip here and there over time with use, but I feel like that’ll make it better in this case. I had to do a little…engineering to get the really nice baltic butcherblock top to work (not as easy as my plan of just plopping it on there), so there’s some added wood support at the ends to hold the top up and L-brackets to keep it in place. I also cut 1/2″ birch plywood for the shelves and layered it on top of the particleboard shelves that come with these units, which will hopefully keep the shelves from bowing and warping over time. I have these set up as shelving in my basement, and the particleboard is, unfortunately, a bendy mess after a few years.

By the way, I picked up an assortment of these Hefty storage containers to keep things more organized (the cottage has its own painting bin! how quaint!), and they’re great for this kind of thing! Most of the storage containers in my own basement are flimsy and tend to break a lot, but these seem really sturdy and up to the task of dealing with tools and heavy odd-shaped stuff. It’s nice to be able to just pull out a bin of everything you need (or at least everything you have, so you know what you need!) for a specific task.

Oh right—finally, the floor! It’s been a journey with this floor, which started with a cleaning marathon, followed by patching, priming, pouring Sakrete Self-Leveling Resurfacer, having to stop, priming again, and pouring more self-leveling resurfacer, tinted this time. Read that whole process here! I neither loved nor hated the final color of the concrete (I should have made myself some samples before mixing and pouring 700 pounds of concrete—my bad), but knew it would darken with a sealer and I wasn’t sure how it would play once the rest of the space was coming together.

Turns out—not into it! It wasn’t horrible but not really what I wanted. I spent about an hour sanding it with an orbital sander connected to my shopvac with 40 grit paper, which took off any paint drips, smoothed and buffed it out a little, and kind of softened the splatter-y stuff I did at the end of my concrete pour.

OK, so: people paint concrete. People stain concrete. People seal concrete. People epoxy concrete, and resurface concrete, and lay other flooring on top of concrete, and stencil it, and pour acid all over it. Within all of these categories of Things People Do to Concrete, we have subcategories. Finally we have products, and reviews for those products, and limitations of those products like the surface temperature and how long the concrete has cured, and these things are complicated by the fact that this has all been done in sub-optimal too-cold conditions in spite of my best efforts and I don’t know if any of it is a good idea. I tossed around my options for…weeks. My primary concern was that I’d do something that would wind up peeling, and then I’d hate myself forever? I’m not sure why this floor felt so high stakes.

While sanding the floor, I realized that my light, quick sanding wasn’t all that quick! The paint drips proved a lot harder to get out than I thought they’d be when I was cavalierly just painting without drop cloths, which I did because I knew I wanted to sand the floor down a little anyway, and I wanted to see the colors together.

Sometimes in situations like this, I’ll come up with a solution and somehow convince myself it’s the best one and I can’t really justify it later but it worked out so who cares? This is that. I bought a quart of dark brown latex paint. I thinned it to a ratio of about 4 parts water to 1 part paint. Then, because it was sitting there, I grabbed some of the powdered orange concrete tint and threw that in there too, because why not. Then I mixed it all up in a 5 gallon bucket.

I cut in around the room with a brush and then wiped up any excess, which was very little. That was the point! If it really soaks into the concrete instead of sitting on top of it…I mean, that’s logically what you want, right?

Anyway. I rolled out about 4’x4′ sections, and then buffed out the excess with a towel. I kept working that way across the floor, blending edges. What was kind of cool was that the powdered concrete tint didn’t really incorporate into the paint-water mix, so some spots got more pigment than others and I could blend those areas out to create some nice variation.

I don’t know, I’m into it.

The next day when the “stain” was totally dry, I added one coat of this Valspar Protective Sealer in the “wet look” (there’s also a “natural look,” which really is invisible when it’s dry). This deepens the color and dries with a glossy sheen—which I like in an instance like this, where it’s still a concrete floor but you want to be able to mop it, ya know? It soaks in really nicely—the reviews for this stuff are a mixed bag, but I’ve used it several times now for different things (brick, natural stone, now concrete) and it’s been great every time and very forgiving. Ideally I would have done at least one additional coat, but I was antsy to put this floor project to bed and it looked good with one, so I figured I could always add another later on down the line.

SO. ANYWAY. WHAT ELSE. I’ve reached a point where I think I have a mirror for any occasion? This one isn’t as old as I usually like ’em, but it’s so sweet for this house. Evidently I bought it at an auction, and since I don’t remember doing so, that means it was very very cheap. Unless I bought it at a yard sale from somebody who bought it at an auction and just left the lot sticker on. This is not important. I’m not worried about it, you’re worried about it!

That vintage ball lamp has been with me for years! I threw a bunch of these little brass Gatehouse coat hooks around the room, just because. Hooks are so handy. Never enough hooks. And I feel like these $3 basic hooks are perfect for this kind of space. I wish a little bit I’d hung them earlier so I could have painted over them—you know that’s what grandpa would have done!

That plaid throw laid SO VERY CASUALLY across the worktop is the official tartan of Antarctica, purchased at the continent’s only gift shop at Port Lockroy—the historic site that inspired this room for me. And I feel sort of stupid saying it, but creating this space felt on some level like being able to go back there, just a little bit. Or maybe access the feelings, somehow, of being there. Because “there” was a physical space, of course, but it was also a headspace that was more impactful than I think I realized at the time. It was a time of shifting perspective; of evaluating my life and thinking critically about such topics as priorities and goals and what are you doing?—a question often quickly followed by with that poor house down the street? 

Welp. I did this with that poor house down the street. From the design to the sponsorship to the basement-ness of it, it’s all been outside of my comfort zone in a way that’s been challenging and stimulating and hard and highly productive. I’m not going to pretend every day down in that room was fun and exciting, but it also felt like exactly where I needed to be. Like I was keeping some important promises I’d made to myself down at the bottom of the globe. Following through. Getting it done. Doing the work. Sucking it up. Getting back on track—maybe not the same track, but a track. Tracks are nice.

So anyway. I love this room, and I love you guys for being on this weird funny ride with me—even when the waters get a little choppy. And a huge thank you to Lowe’s for allowing me to take this on! I know for certain that this room is vastly better for the opportunity to do this with them.

Tired but happy human, for scale.


232 Comments

  1. Love it! Crazy how the project is turning around!

  2. Daniel, it looks absolutely, insanely beautiful! My laundry room next!

  3. GORGEOUS work! It looks so cozy and warm, and very historically accurate. If someone way back when decided to finish the basement, this is what I would expect it too look like. And now I know my 1918 basement isn’t as gross and hopeless as it seemed.

  4. Wow. AMAZING job. I can’t believe how well you captured the feel of those Antarctica photo. And I love your “What would Grandpa do?” mantra! It served you well. I even spotted that flashing-as-bulkhead you did for the pipes before you mentioned it, and thought, “Very clever, Grandpa!” Love the Charley Harper print, love the glossy paint, love everything, really! Fantastic room, although as a 6′ tall person I have a feeling I wouldn’t necessarily like being in it for very long!

    And now I have to go work on a room in my house, and maybe use that Antarctica tartan as an inspiration, because it’s fabulous.

    • Thank you, Sara L! This house was definitely built for a shorter generation, haha! But it sure is nice to do a whole room without a ladder—that doesn’t happen very often for my 5’7″ stature! :)

      I love that tartan too—it’s such a fascinating design thing I didn’t really know about! From the Scottish Register of Tartans: “Designed by Rosalind Jones of Celtic Originals. Colours: white represents the ice-covered continent, ice flows, and the edge of the Antarctic Ocean; grey represents outcropping rocks, seals and birds; orange represents lichen, Emperor and King penguin (head) plumage; yellow also represents penguin plumage and the summer midnight sun; black and white together depict penguins and whales; pale blue represents crevasses in the ice and shallow blue icy waters on the ice shelves, whilst dark midnight blue represents the deep Antarctic Ocean and the darkness of the Antarctic winter. The design is based upon the Antarctic’s geography: the light square of white at the edge of the sett represents the light of the Antarctic summer on the ice-covered continent. This is quartered by threads of pale blue. These represent the zero / 360, 90, 180, and 270 lines of longitude. The point where they cross represents the South Pole. Two bands of grey surrounding the white heart depicts nunataks, mountain ranges, and exposed coastal rocks. Around the coast Antarctica’s life forms are found so the colours that follow in the sett, orange, yellow, black and white, represent the wealth of animal life on land and in the seas. Orange also represents the lichens that encrust the rocks. Surrounding the land, pale blue and white depict the ice shelves whilst the outside is edged by bands of midnight blue for the ocean deeps and dark winters. Each sett is separated by a thin band of white that represents the edge of Antarctica. Where these cross, the Southern Cross is depicted. This viewed diagonally also represents the Scottish saltire, tribute that 2001 is the centenary of Scott’s first expedition to the Antarctic in 1901. This tartan was authorised by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to raise funds for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. The tartan is sold in several parts of the world -including Port Lockroy in Antarctica.”

      • Wow, that is fascinating! I knew the colors had to be indicative of the actual geology, since that dark blue definitely evokes deep cold ocean, but I had no idea of the amount of symbolism involved in a tartan.

    • Yes, on Charley Harper. Yes on the Antarctica tartan. Yes on the gloss and gramma choices. This turned out great, Daniel!

  5. Daniel,
    The entire project is wonderful and your explanation of what-and-why, as always, made me smile. The best part? The scale human.
    Congratulations,
    J-Dub

  6. Beautiful and amazing work as usual! Inspiring documentation and results — thank you!

  7. Love it – so jealous since I only have a crawl space, even though on one end it’s high enough to walk stooped over (live on a slope). Grandpa would be proud.

  8. Nicely done! I’m relocating my laundry to the basement and this is an inspiration! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Love everything about it – especially your use of scrap and stuff you already had. It’s fabulous – makes me want to do my laundry there…

  10. Cracking up at the Grandpa comments and the color- as we bought my husband’s Grandfather’s home, and our cold storage room is painted this exact turquoise color, light switches and all.

  11. My laundry is in the kind of basement people are always telling you not to go into in scary movies so I am ALL ABOUT this renovation! And (while I know this person can be polarizing) the finished look is what I imagine it would look like if your inner grandpa was Wes Anderson with your amazing color scheme and references to Antarctic exploration. Amazing job, Daniel!

  12. This looks so good, it’s making me angry! I love those greens, and I freaking LOVE the vinyl soffit thing. Such a good solution, and totally what Grandpa would do!

  13. Good show – after a 6 hour power outage I was excited to have computer/internet access and THEN here is your post with this lovely finished basement! Applause, and again, good show!

  14. When are you getting your own show?! Ilove your writing, you’re hilarious. The morgue thing was extremely funny.

  15. Love it! The greens are so awesome! I can’t believe it is even the same space as the “before.” So happy you are working on Bluestone Cottage — I love, love, love your blog!

  16. Great Job Daniel-
    Kudos for keeping your own promises and this amazing transformation!!
    Love the soffit solution and living in the spirit of “a coat of paint solves many ills”.
    I really think the color combos are spot on vintage 40s, and the floor reminds me of the color of those big patinated legal folder/envelopes. love. love. love.
    Keep going, keep going….this is the sweetest little hovel EVER!!
    Can’t wait for the next project!
    KO

    • That’s totally what the floor is like!! And funny enough, the note pad sitting on the work bench has that exact kind of cover…no wonder I thought it was a good thing to grab for pics! Thank you for the kind words! :)

  17. I… wouldn’t be mad if my entire house looked like this. Maybe that’s because it does look very British (I’m a Scot, so I say it with authority!).

  18. Congratulations! It looks amazing. You never cease to impress, Daniel.

  19. The improvisation with the flashing is FANTASTIC. Definitely adds to the “research station” vibe. Could not love this transformation any more. You’re awesome.

  20. I wake up to an inclement weather delayed start AND Daniel’s basement reveal?? So blessed. I adore it.

  21. It’s all wonderful and truly reflects all the hard work and years of worry you poured into this basement. Will you throw a neighborhood party down there so they can all enjoy it, too?!

  22. Beautiful! I think your WWGD attitude served you well and I’m totally going to apply that to my house projects going forward.

    And so interesting with the high gloss paint – it looks great and wouldn’t make me hate going into the basement – what a concept! Great, great job and excellent jumping off point to get the rest of the house in gear.

    • Thank you, Charlotte! “Grandpa” can be a very helpful voice for us over-thinker/over-builder/over-anxious folk! Within reason, of course! Lots of masking tape repairs in my house that probably aren’t worth emulating, haha!

  23. I absolutely love it! The colors, the glossy paint, the rustic Antarctic, acerbic, Britishness of it all… swoon!

  24. Man, that was a juicy post.

  25. You are so ingenuitive Daniel, this is great! I love the grandpa vibe and the splash of color three thumbs up !!

  26. Your soffit solution adds to the shipshape look of the whole space and the glossy paint is so luscious. Nicely, done, Daniel.

  27. Absolutely beautiful. Absolute inspiration. Absolutely want it to be my basement.

  28. What an amazing transformation. Your adherence to your inspiration was spot on. I really do feel like there should be old British fishing and rowing equipment instead of laundry supplies.

    The staircase looks amazing against the light green and off-white and I’m glad you painted the baseboards light green and left the hooks gold. Painted hooks gather a lot of grime and little shiny bits are always nice.

    I think it is wonderful that you have finished this room first. Now when you work on the rest of the house, you won’t have to dread tackling the basement at the end.

    A lot of renovations take all of the character out of a room. You restore and add so much into a space.
    I can’t wait to see what you do next!

    • So true! I probably would have tackled it last, and probably wouldn’t have approached it with the same commitment after doing the whole house—I know that project fatigue well by now! Thank you so much for the encouraging words!

  29. Oh, Daniel, it’s just perfect! Even the shiny brass hooks. Really!!

  30. I freakin’ ADORE how this turned out! Everything is so perfect and has that 1940s feel but still looks modern and clean as well.

  31. I love this room so much! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been struggling with what to do with my large basement which is a mish-mash of print studio space, storage, fireplace with living room area? Add in a LOT of “grandpa” custom built-ins and paint overs plus a built-out basement ceiling with many a hole for new wiring over the years and you’ve got my current space. Woof. Anyway, this is super inspiring and I love your aesthetic for every project you do!

  32. Tired but happy human wearing a Grandpa style sweater? Love it. Love you. That vinyl stuff instead of a boxy soffit is so cool—way more than “crafting”. The floor looks amazing. Not a green fan, as you know all to well, but that basement “wears” it well. Just don’t come near me or my place with any of that green shit.

    • OR WHAT?! JK, I learned that lesson during GreenBathroomGate of…what, 2003? When Mom says she doesn’t like green, she is not playing.

      (are you commenting on my GREEN GREEN GREEN room within 2 hours of posting from Singapore?! Oh mommy. I love you so much.)

  33. Daniel, any time you doubt yourself, I want you to come back and look at the before and after photos here. They’re stunning. The eye for design you have is what makes this basement (a basement of all things!) so much more special and perfect than any ole other person executing a project like this. I feel like I have a pretty good eye for design and this transformation is beyond my wildest imaginings.

    Well deserved kudos to you, sir. Truly fabulous.

  34. I think my favorite thing is the shiny paint! I love the way it is reflecting the light. Great job!

  35. Daniel! This space is amazing!! You’re right it really does feel vintage, like some grandpa painted it in the ‘40s and I love that so much. the attention to detail is so impressive from little things like the mirror and hooks to bigger things that add so much storage like that fantastic pegboard! I’m so inspired to deal with my mess of a basement after reading this! And I’m happy that the project feels like getting back on a track, because this track is just fantastic and I know the rest of the project you have planned will be too!

    • Thank you, Laurel! It’s funny—now that I’ve done this, I’ve been low-key obsessing over why my own basement is such a shitshow. I have way too many things to do yet I stayed up measuring it the other night…uh-oh….

      • I mean, I think if you only ever wanted to do basement makeovers, NO ONE would complain after seeing this one. I volunteer my basement as tribute.

  36. This is just absolutely gorgeous, with far more character than any basement has any right to. Absolutely love the colours!

  37. This color is perfect “Maine Lake Camp Green”. I love it. Also love that enamel tray! What is that and where did you find it?

    • I had that New England summer camp thought too!! So funny. The enamel tray….vintage, not sure where I found it or the original use! Medical, maybe? If I come across cheap vintage enamelware I tend to just buy it because it comes in handy for so much. Plus you can stick it in the dishwasher, always a plus.

  38. Excellent post, like many others of yours. Love reading your long technical explanations, but also how this impacted you personally. It is inspiring for our house to keep going. Now, I want such a basement!

  39. What a spectacular and original color scheme. Standing ovation.

    Now I have to tell you, you did this in your kitchen too, you put appliances right next to the wall in a way that would make me squirm. And you put windows near each other, or fusebox/window, also in a way that makes me squirm. Like, I need things to have more white space? Hard to say. I sense I am revealing some kind of internal psychoaesthetic quirk here but I can’t even say what it is!

    In any case, I agree with the crowd, this basement is adorable and kind of genius.

  40. This is great and really reminded me of my own grandpas and their workshops! In my case, we would also find a few other odds and ends painted the same green years later because you used what you had and made do. Thanks for during stirring up warm thoughts on a cold day

  41. The soffit solution is absolutely killer. Bravo!!

  42. Well done. Love it!

  43. Daniel, it looks FAN freakin TASTIC. I have a laundry room re-model to do in my parent’s 1910 house. You’ve inspired me to go vintage with it. The look of the old oil paint is totally what I’m going for and the beadboard panels to be able to get to the stuff in the ceiling will also be gratefully appropriated!

    Thanks for all the details on this. I’m not dreading it now.

  44. oh man oh man… what a tease on a monday crazy at work morning… i just scrolled thru and cant wait to glory in this long post reveal later while eating lunch such fun to look forward to this

    but just looks gorgeous as usual… and now you have great ideas for YOUR basement!

    looking forward to reading the whole thing!

  45. Looks awesome and you and this story are really relatable to me. Life has kicked the crap out of me a few times and it’s hard to reset and restart. It almost doesn’t matter what you did, just that you did it, and your pace is pretty impressive. Inspiring overall. Also, I love how it’s a souvenir of your trip in the form of a physical space. Very cool.

    • Thanks, Jen! It does feel so good to have something done and looking so different after the house looked more or less the same for such a long time. I’m psyched to tackle the rest of it in a way I haven’t been for years! And I love that souvenir part, too—to me it’s kinda like how people used to travel to exotic places when traveling was much more difficult than it is today and bring those influences back home. Like chinoiserie wallpaper or something?

  46. I kinda want that mint green to show up in the rest of the cottage, maybe the front door or? My gramps had an endless gallon of green paint that he painted all sorts of stuff with.

    • You know what’s funny (/not funny)—I actually DID try to paint the front door something similar (it might literally be the same color, I can’t remember) a few years ago, and it went HORRIBLY wrong!! I thought it would be so cute and cool but it really looks completely horrendous. And then I got crippled with indecision over what it should be and still haven’t circled back to fix it yet. OOPS! I guess there’s a time and a place for colors like that, and that ended up not being one of them!!

  47. I wish blogs had like buttons and heart eye emoji. I thought I wouldn’t like the glossy green paint combo, but it’s so cheerful!

  48. retractable clotheslines are never a joke!
    and who’da thought lowes would carry a handsome, simple version? not i. my washer and dryer are in our enormous, gray, dank, brown recluse spider-inhabited basement. it’s grisly down there. but enough about me—well done, you!

  49. I freaking love this! The thing I love most is it *doesn’t* look like every other basement/laundry room/space out there in blogland right now. I wish MY basement looked like this. It is wonderful.

  50. Duuuuuuddde! This is perfection. I would legit pay to live in this room. You should totally rent it out on airbnb :)

  51. Um, this is amazing! This is giving me feelings like watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s duet at the Oscars. Hot damn! I also have an old, creepy, scary basement with a sandstone foundation, so this is giving me hope for what it could look like in the future. Wow-o-wow!

  52. Excessive hooks are definitely “grandpa,” shiny or painted.

    I once rented a house after an old man moved out to a retirement apartment. Under the stairs, there were random nails on every piece of wood, and a paper sign that said “Hang on a nail, find without fail.” We affectionately referred to this man we had never met as “Captain Hook.” He had also built in a wood shelf immediately over the stove – like one inch. I assume he never cooked on it.

  53. Great job! Love the colours and all the little touches. Would be very happy doing laundry in that space.

  54. Wow. standing ovation wow. Parade wow. It’s perfect and yet attainable. While it references the past and in an old house the ideas feel fresh and new compared to a lot of current sameness.

    Thank you “rolling with it” and reminding us that often perfect is exactly what works, not what’s on Pinterest. That with some thought, a lot of elbow grease, and some extra stuff laying around we can have perfect too!

    Lowe’s and the rest of us us are really lucky you are you.

  55. This turned out great – congrats!

  56. Bravo!
    I just listened to this interview with this dude who used to edit the Whole Earth Catalog, shelter section, back in the day, in addition to being a surfer and runner. He’s still publishing and active at 83 with no signs of slowing down.
    All your “old man” references made me think of him. He’s an avid builder for the diy set. Think small homes.
    May be worth a look-see on your part.
    Lloyd Kahn
    shelterpub.com
    He’s on social media too.

    The interview was on chrisryanphd.com
    https://chrisryanphd.com/tangentially-speaking/2018/10/31/350-lloyd-kahn-green-architect

    I really enjoy reading your blog and looking at your work. Inspiring.
    Thanks for you candor.

  57. Can I just say that I wish this is how all sponsored content ended up? This room is so original, and so very you…. and you still managed to squeak in your product mentions in a way that felt authentic. I completely understand and fully support that you need to work with partners to fund and finish your projects, but I think this is an example of how that relationship works best- supporting you in creating content that is so very inspiring and exciting to the reader! Thank you for this, and looking forward to what’s to come!

    • Thank you, Laura! That’s really nice to hear. Much of that credit goes to the team at Lowe’s, who really are fabulous partners. I’ve gotten to do things the way that I want to do them and use only the products I want to use. As someone who’s always HIGHLY appreciated having a long leash, it’s a real delight to work with a team that gives me that!

  58. This is the nicest basement I’ve ever seen, Daniel! LOVE IT!!! :)

  59. If I hadn’t seen the “before” I would think this basement has always looked this good and was meant to look like this. What an amazing transformation. I hope to spruce up my own basement laundry and I appreciate all the helpful info here.

  60. Perfect! I couldn’t envision it. Even with your explanation and pics from the trip. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it, but THIS…is amazing. I like your ingenuity, use what you’ve got, don’t break the bank mindset, cause that’s all I’ve got the budget for around here.

    • Thank you, Alexis! You DEFINITELY were not alone, haha! I’d show people the basement before and those couple of Antarctica pictures and they’d look at me like I had three heads. I’m stubborn!

  61. I love it! Everything looks so stinking good! And you have inspired me to finally get my peg board hung up (and maybe painting a fun color?).

    I can’t wait to see more!

  62. This is an absolutely phenomenal interpretation of your design inspiration, so much so that I had to create a new board on Pinterest to showcase it, e.g. Modern Vintage Style. Well done you! Cheers, Ardith

  63. BRAVO! So good! As is Mom’s comment :))))

  64. WOW! This is literally the nicest looking basement I’ve ever seen. I was skeptical of the greens, but I will never doubt again.

  65. Oh Daniel, I just love you. Love the room, love your honesty your personality. Your fearlessness about being your true self even in a sponsored post! I swear other blogs who do sponsored posts play it safe because they are getting paid by someone. Those other sponsored posts end up sounding stiff and formal and impersonal. Not YOU! Love love love it!

    • Thank you, Susan! I know what you mean, and I actually think I get why it happens—seems like it’s typically that the blogger is really trying (naturally, completely understandably) to do a good job and give the sponsor the type of post they *think* the sponsor wants to see. Like trying to meet an expectation that feels external but is really self-imposed. It’s a hard trap to stay out of—I constantly have to remind myself that if someone is hiring me, it’s because they’re familiar with how I approach stuff and want THAT, not for me to be a different person for a post. And therefore, actually the best way to give them what they want is to be myself—even when I’m not sure how Lowe’s is gonna feel about having a room that they sponsored compared favorably to a morgue. It’s harder than it sounds! I’m not sure what I’m tying to explain here except that I think it’s actually much more a product of human nature than the blogger OR the sponsor making any kind of conscious choice, if that makes sense. But anyway. Thank you!

      • Well just saying, my style is completely different than yours but I want to try out that paint because of your post :)

  66. This basement turned out great. I love your blog. I love the slow reality of it as well. My husband and I have been working on our house for 12 years. (I tell people it’s where DIY goes to die. ) Can’t wait to see your continued progress!

  67. Omg, I love it. Love love love! The color combo is to die for, and I love all your practical, non-fussy solutions. It’s PERFECT.

  68. Those are colors I would generally loathe, but they totally work in this space and I could even imagine that being my space. Looks great Daniel!

  69. Please tell me you purposely color coordinated your outfit to the space in the last picture.
    (Also, a beautiful, inspiring room.)

    • Ha! I did throw on the sweater before heading out the door because I thought it’d match the room well, and also I felt fat in my t-shirt but was too lazy to change. Then I forgot to put on real shoes.

    • LOL, was thinking the same thing!

  70. What they all said!
    The soffit solution is super ingenious. And the Charley Harper penguin was what I zeroed in on first of all.
    : )

  71. WOW, what a difference. Congratulations. It must feel so great to finally be working on that house again. xx

  72. I love it times a million! That glossy paint is amazing and I’m totally down with the “what would grandpa do?” mentality.

  73. Daniel. This might be my favorite thing you’ve ever done, which is saying a lot.
    I don’t know what it is about that color, but all the handmade shelves (and anything they touch) are painted the same color in my farmhouse basement!

  74. Daniel: It looks GREAT!!. I think you need add satisfied, and accomplished to “tired, happy human”:

  75. Oh, fabulous and perfect.

  76. Yes, yes and YEEEEEESSSSSS!!! That basement makes me so happy I could cry. Love the soffit, love the colors, love the practicality, love the problem solving, love the everything! And I’m getting one of those propane heaters as soon as humanly possible. I spent the last two months in my latest rehab freezing my giblets off because we had to run new copper everywhere before we could get the boiler on line. Man, could I have used that thing! Has Lowe’s ever picked up a whole house reno to sponser? If/when they do I hope it is you and Bluestone!

    • Boy would that be nice, haha! CALL ANYTIME, LOWE’S. ;)

      And yes!! You need one of these things! I feel kinda stupid because I’ve relied a lot on electric space heaters over the years (those ones that look like a little radiator on wheels) and while they’re great for certain things, they’re not nearly enough to make a drafty unheated construction site comfortable in the winter. Working for extended periods in the cold is so…immobilizing, aside from being super uncomfortable? I like the one I have because it ignites with a switch and I never felt like I was going to blow myself up. It’s also nice and compact!

      • Yep, guilty of the electric space heater failure. With four going and a fire stoked up in the fireplace the house still wasn’t warm. The whole crew was taking breaks by the hearth to thaw out. I’m surprised no one chopped off a limb fumbling around with power tools with numb fingers. The worst part was the $700 electric bills! I’m treating myself (and them) after this one sells.

  77. I. Just. Love. It!
    You are so cool.

  78. Oh, you’d have a field day in my dad’s 1956 bungalow. Built it himself. Rec room was built around the piano and couch. Quirky but still love visiting. Oh, he’s a WWII vet too. Thanks for the post and congrats. It’s beautiful. Love your humour. ❤️

  79. I love following your progress! You are such an amazing person and an inspiration to this 50 something year old who lives vicariously through your projects. I live much closer to another big home improvement store (HD), but now I make the trek to Lowes because they carry much nicer products and the workers are extremely helpful- you might tell them you are definitely influencing your readers. I was there the other day and saw some glass enclosures for a shower (or tub) and I would love to see you renovate a bathroom using one of their frameless glass doors in the future. Thanks for taking the time to write these posts!

  80. I want to add that this laundry room brought back happy memories of my grandparent’s Dutch Colonial house which had glass nobs, big windows, beautiful wooden floors and a similar basement (only spic and span, not scary). I read your mom’s comment and she sounds as amazing as you; have you ever featured her on your blog? I’d like to learn more about her since she obviously influenced the wonderful man you have become.

  81. Ha! My gramps loved those shades of green so much that the OUTSIDE of my grandparent’s house was painted the lighter green with the darker green on the trim! The living room was the lighter Gramps’ green as well, gloss enamel on Weld-Tex striated board on the walls. He had a pegboard wall in the garage as well (plus metal jar lids attached to the underside of shelves so you could then screw on the jar filled with nails or bolts or whatever). I love love love this space and feel like you have done an amazing job channeling a mid-century raised grandpa’s workshop plus somehow Antarctica.

  82. Fantastic! Just absolutely fantastic transformation!

  83. This might be my favourite transformation that you’ve done. #grampastyle

  84. A triumph in mint green! Never thought I’d use ‘triumph’ and ‘mint green’ in the same sentence.

    But I love that you went for something so bold and interesting, because there are soooooo many white rooms on the Internets these days. The world needs more colour!

  85. I love how it came out Daniel. That basement went from a -1000 to a 100 all the way! I also love when you partner with Lowe’s as that’s our preferred home improvement store and you use their products so naturally that I can see using them myself as well. Congrats on achieving this basement. I am excited for you to continue a room at a time upstairs. You can do it!

  86. This was so much fun to read!
    Best comment, that you’d wished you would have hung the hooks earlier, so you could have painted over them cause that’s what Grandpa would have done!
    Loved seeing the bright vintage colors, and reading about the inspiration from your arctic adventure. Well done!

  87. Congratulations on finishing this huge step in the direction you want to go! I am so happy for you and the fresh, glossy-green-and-warm-mayonnaise results of the hard, thoughtful work you are doing. It is truly beautiful.

  88. I don’t know how you do it! That lighter green shade is buried somewhere in my subconscious, and usually provokes a slightly nauseous feeling, but because you used it in this totally new grandpa way I love it! I love that this combination of colors came from your trip, and I can definitely see this room in some old shack in Antarctica. The whole space just makes me smile :)

  89. What Would Grandpa Do is speaking to me — coming across those previous-home-owner-solutions that are kinda wacky but have clearly been working for many years is one of the joys of home ownership for me. We all need to cut ourselves some slack and just get.on.with.it sometimes!

  90. And it is absolutely terrific. I live in New Zealand which has retained a great deal of that 1940s oil painted grand pa made it vibe in many older buildings. Our old 1929 house, that needed to be demolished due to that big earthquake we had in Canterbury, had a toilet added on when they went from an out house to town sewer. Musk pink oil paint over masonite sheet with half round strips. You would have felt right at home. And I recognise your Antarctic influences you got it so right. I love it.

  91. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a SPONSORED (no less) blog post that doesn’t look like every single other one; where every tiny detail is NOT perfect, and NOT just like every other single blog post. Forget the philosophical problems for all of us of feeling like we have to, or ought to, live up to that level of perfection. It is all so BORING. But not you, my friend. I am surprised and impressed that Lowes has the good sense to see the value in featuring real life. I will be giving them more of my business because of it. As for you, imperfection, quirkiness, practicality and authenticity are why we love you so. Keep up the great work. But for crying out loud, post more often!!!

  92. This is so freaking awesome. You completely transformed it and it looks so perfectly vintage. Love it. Way to step outside the vintage industrial and do something unique!

  93. You are a tenacious thing. And you make me laugh.
    If laundry rooms can be beautiful, this is it. It feels happy which is really the best you can hope for in a laundry room. Well done!

  94. Hubba hubba, Grandpa!!! This looks SO GOOD. Please dust your shoulders off. Lowe’s, please give Daniel more money so he can work this magic on the rest of the house!

  95. MY GOSH! How can this be one of my fave blog posts of yours EVER? I seriously want to go around and vintage up my whole basement to look like Antarctica – RIGHT NOW. Daniel, you make all of this ridiculously hard work look so very worth it :)

  96. YES YES YES! I LOVE IT!
    Hey, Lowe’s, listen up. I just bought a dishwasher from you in part because you sponsor this blog. Please give Daniel more money and I will buy more stuff from you, ‘kay? Great, thanks.

  97. Thank you for taking us all through the process. I love the way you transformed your memory into a useful, functional, well thought out attractive laundry room. When I was in a England in 1980, (yes, 1980!) I went to a party at a London townhouse and was awestruck by a pistachio green kitchen with black and white marble checked floors. I have never forgotten that kitchen and will use that color combination when I get my turn of the century house I am always dreaming about. Do you have other inspirations to power you through the rest of the house?? I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Congratulations on material reuse!!

  98. Winner, Winner, chicken dinner!!! I don’t know why this is so comforting but it is.

  99. This is so utterly charming, I love it!

  100. You nailed it Daniel. The vibe is right.
    I remember 1920’s basement space (ok, minus the really great washer/dryer) – substitute a wringer washer and a few more drying lines – from my childhood -1920’s type old house) but your colours take that era color and do fresh and shiny and clean and bright – and you made the space so flexible.

    Your trip to the Antarctica was a life changer.

    Lowe’s is amazing ! Great partnership.

    Hard work. Well worth your time and effort and ‘eye’ for making it work.
    Joy

  101. So Awesome!!!! Absolutely love this space!!! The colors are so good! Using this for inspiration in my own blah basement that needs some love! Keep up the good work!!!

  102. Daniel..thank you a hundred times over for taking us along on your journey! I grew up in a 1910 house with a basement not terribly dissimilar – okay bigger and more windows. My dad was the grandpa you speak of with workbench and projects enough to keep him away from the seven kids running all over the house above his head. He would retire down to the basement after dinner to work on one project after another – or to repair one of the things in the house that his kids had damaged. After my parents passed away very little was done in the basement except laundry and storage, so it retains my father’s mark and his workbench. It also has the two concrete sinks that served as the original washing machines at the foot of the stairs. Your column has inspired me to at least dream of doing some puttering down in the cellar – it even has a “root cellar” which we labelled the fruit cellar. Maybe I’ll take a trip out to Lowes and see what they have to offer. Thanks again my fiend.

  103. How are you even able to make high gloss brightly coloured paint everywhere in a room look good? THAT SHOULDN’T BE POSSIBLE! What kind of black magic is this?! <3

  104. It all looks wonderful, but have I missed something? Where is a basin/water source in case you want to wash/rinse something other than in the washing machine? I see hand towels, but no way of wetting hands in the first place. Surely “washing down” is part of “cleaning up”?

  105. What a transformation! Congratulations on a completed area! From someone who renovated a 1920s home, I know how much went into this. It looks super usable and a place someone will actually enjoy doing laundry. Love love LOVE your commentary about the whole thing. Cant wait to see what you have in store next!

  106. I dare say, jolly good show old chap! (That’s me sounding very Breeteesh)

  107. At 35 years old, this is the first laundry room I’ve ever seen where I’d actually wanted to do laundry. It isn’t some perfect 600 sq ft space in a new construction home – it seems more like something I’d love to have in my home. And I can totally picture myself sneaking down here with a glass of wine to avoid my family for twenty minutes.

  108. You are a wonder! This space is amazing. At your recommendation I purchased a hanging air dryer. I love it and use it often. I have even dried herb bundles suspended from it. Please write a how to book. It would be fabulous!

  109. WELL DONE DANIEL! Love everything about this room and reading your thoughts behind all the decisions makes it so much better! ~Ally

  110. This space is PHENOMENAL! What a transformation! I loved reading about your inspiration and the results are spectacular.

  111. 1) This basement looks like a basement! but cleaner and more functional than my basement right now.
    2) The color selection and high gloss finish makes it look like it’s been this way for 75 years, brightens up the space, and totally captures the inspiration of the arctic research station. I also have a basement painted several tones of green by the original owners and a much too fancy “work bench” that I plan to convert into storage drawers for my laundry/pantry corner.
    3) The Charley Harper print and vintage barn print are spot on. I just remembered that I have some vintage calendars stored in a drawer that could provide excellent basement decoration.
    4) WWGD is just right for a basement. I’m surprised that you didn’t have enough of your own painted over hooks to use in this basement, my house has lots. Love the hand broom and dust pan (exactly like my dad’s) hanging around the perimeter.
    5) this post, the basement, where you’re at and where you’re going with your home and Bluestone cottage.

  112. Thank you for making something inspirational, cool, unique and fun to read about! I DIG this project. Major garage inpso.

  113. I’m not a green color person, either, but this brought back such fond memories of my grandparents’ farm house. Built in the 20s, they bought and lived it in from the 40s until they both passed in the 90s — permeated in just these colors. Their canning room walls were the “warm mayonnaise” color with the floor-to-ceiling shelves (for all the canned goods we “put up” over the summer and fall) slathered in the mint green. The pie safe (which I blessedly inherited) was also in that mint green and still is to this day — could never bring myself to paint over grandpa’s work — painted hinges/latches/handles and all. Their wrap-around porch floorboards were always dark glossy green to match the shutters. You definitely achieved the look from that era with such perfection! Grandpa was definitely the use-what-you-have mentality. Go find some scrap lumber in the barn that works, nail it up and cover it with paint. Never better!

  114. Just amazing Daniel. Love the colours so so much. That space before hand was scary as all hell, you did great.

  115. I love it! The colors and paint sheen are brilliant.

  116. Looks so great! The before kind of looks like my frightening basement, except mine has 12 foot ceilings! Someday after tackling all the other projects in our wonky 1910 house i would love to do something similar!

  117. What a happy and functional and weird little basement! I love the inspiration you took, and the grandpa design ethos resonates with me. I appreciate how openly and honestly you’ve talked about your sponsorship with lowes, and good for you for getting paid for your hard work!

  118. This is so good–and all the more so for being so meaningful.

  119. Nailed it. As always. I love the morgue/medical look. Now you just need to invite Clive Owen over to do surgery on himself and it will be even more perfect.

  120. Love it all! And love seeing you in there too. You did a great job and its got a wonderful vibe. Wish i had a cool little laundry room just like it. You are a triple threat – great craftsman, smart and beautiful designer, fantastic writer… wow.

  121. I love this hypothetical grandpa!!! And this basement is adorable!!! And genius!!! And please don’t ever stop creating and blogging!

  122. When I first saw the before pictures of the basement, I was thinking wow, he’s gonna have to pull a rabbit out of a hat…………………and you did! It’s functional and super charming :) Love it!

  123. I LOVE it! And now I know there is hope for my basement! In fact, there is hope for ALL the bad basements in America! You have inspired America!

  124. this basement inspires waves of peaceful nostalgia–clothes actually drying on a clothesline!

  125. OH. MY. GAWD. DANIEL! This turned out INCREDIBLE! I will never be able to see any dark, dirty, cramped, unfinished basement as anything other than a potential clean, bright, functional space. Seriously, you absolutely deserve to feel so proud of this. That curved soffit thing? Get out of here! You’re a true inspiration.

  126. I am so charmed and so grateful to see something imperfect and lovely on the design world internet! Your workmanship and creativity is on full display here. Thank you for sharing

  127. The before pictures fully communicated what an ugly scary basement was in this house. You transformed this space, it looks charming…and laundry space is valuable real estate!

  128. Daniel, AMAZING TRANSFORMATION!!! Stunning, especially considering the original state of this basement. Great job and pat yourself on the back for this one! Keep up the great work! Your posts are an inspiration too.

    From a fan in Toronto, Canada.

  129. Oh. and Oh again. What a job, it’s perfect (even though it isn’t, if you know what I mean….). Well done on that one!

  130. Love love love that you ran into real problems and had to come up with custom solutions like it seems anyone not in the internet has to. The curved soffit invention over the landry is brilliant and amazing.

  131. What a difference – basements are zero fun but you saw it thru now I hope the locals leave it alone ! Nice work!

  132. Daniel, this is wonderful! Can I just say your writing is always the best, the most for reals, completely honest in a sometimes sad and yet makes-me-smile way (maybe that’s messed up?!) I love your writing as much as I love your work. Grandpa got shit done and you do too! Thank you for being so real!

  133. Just came to say – love it! Wonderful job! Love the colors!

  134. I absolutely LOVE this room. I love the Antartica inspiration and how it all came together. I love that you got sponsorship to make a room that doesn’t look cookie-cutter farmhouse, but that looks crafted and thought-through. I love your explanations for why you did things and especially the practical use of vinyl flashing to cover the pipes. Super smart!

    Thank you for blogging. I get so excited when I see a new post from you.

  135. Okay you wearing that Aran cardigan really made you look like a legit antarctic researcher in his station. What an achievement! It’s amazing how you’ve transformed your scary room. It looks like it’s always been this way but just got a refresh. All these details…wow! Very impressive!

  136. I love this room so much. So. Much.
    I can’t even…

  137. It’s so beautiful! Great work!

  138. Absolutely stunning! You are a visionary genius to be able to create this level beauty in what was such a forbidding space.

  139. Wow – I have been in my 1868 home for about 30 years and my basement still looks like the before (with a little less dust and junk) perhaps there is hope! I do have plenty of old hooks and it is grandpa painted pepto pink…

  140. The laundry room is the bees knees! I love that it speaks so well to the house. You are amazingly clever!

  141. Great project! I love the color too (:

  142. Wow, wow wow…You are an amazing eye for getting it just right. Congratulations!

  143. Awesomely stunning transformation!

  144. Hi Daniel,

    So proud of you. I started reading your blog in the spring of 2017 when I was doing some renovations to my brownstone in BK. I was looking for a work sink and you scored the brockway sink. (still envious) Anyway you are such an inspiration and hopefully I’ll be renovating my own getaway cottage sooner rather than later. I am no where near as skilled and handy as you so I plan on asking for lots of help and offering god knows what.

    Breathe and Take care.

    Ursula

  145. Daniel, you are fantastic to the point of being sometimes super-human. Thank you. Also, I have a thought about your reflection on the trip to Antarctica. Everything you mentioned is so true (about the trip coinciding with your shifting perspective), and I think another part of how that place stuck with you (to the point of dreaming about it) is your experience of the landscape. The land, the water, the sky, the light – they’re usually not the first things we think about during travel, but I think they make a huge impact on us on a gut level (on a level of unconscious awareness). So there. I think you were caught by the magic of that land.

  146. Absolutely sensational. The Antarctic tartan brought tears to my eyes.
    And you, you’ve grown up. I’ve been reading since day one. And really, it looks like you’ve made it through your twenties magnificently, that you’ve come home, in a way, in from the cold, at Bluestone.
    Love to Bungee and Meeko. Moar pix.

  147. Okay…so you took that basement from totally creepy, haunted, spider filled space which requires boots and running to circumnavigate to a place I would be happy to hang out in…to do laundry…and some other project. Really amazing job! Well done!

  148. From creepy murder basement to cheerful workspace! I Love the color scheme – nautical and classic (yes, with a hint of morgue – but not in a bad way?). It’s an amazing transformation, you should be proud.

  149. Aww! You included a picture of yourself in that amazingly transformed basement at the very end. How lovely! :D

  150. I guess this is what a miracle looks like!
    Danie, you did a miracle to that space and it’s cozy, warm, neat, cute and welcoming, a wonderful job. Bravo!

  151. Awesome! And totally what my grandpa would have done!

  152. Miraculous and gorgeous and inspiring! You set a really high bar with this basement– cannot wait to see how the rest of the home unfolds from here.

  153. “Did you think this was a JOKE?” As usual, you killed it on this project!
    (Also: I am wearing a similar old lady/old man sweater right now and am not the least bit sorry. )

  154. This is MINDBLOWING! This is the most fabulous basement I have ever seen, and yet it looks like it’s just miraculously always been that way… you NAILED the vintage vibe, like really really nailed it. Wowowowowow.

    Also if anyone from Lowe’s is reading this, please know that it TOTALLY makes me want to go to Lowe’s and makeover my own horrifying basement, so keep sponsoring Daniel because he does an amazing job!!! :)

  155. UGH!!! IT IS SO CUUUUUUTE!
    I loved the inspiration you shared for this, and I think you really brought that feeling and flavor to this tiny, once-creepy space. It is not an aesthetic I would have ever considered, and you just made it fit SO well. Nice work!
    ALSO, Charley Harper is one of my all-time favorites, and i love that you put that little penguin guy in there!

  156. Well, I sure do hope the colors look different in person than they do on the computer screen, because all this green on my screen makes me think of is Pepto Bismol pink – it has that nauseating quality. If I bought this house, I’d want to paint over it all, as I don’t like the dark green paint as it appears on my screen either. I’d probably leave the paint on the workbench – I could take that much of the green as an accent color just fine.

    Though I would like having a finished basement with laundry, so paint color wouldn’t deter me as a buyer. And I think the floor looks great. Though I wouldn’t want my pegboard tools near my hanging rack – I’d move the hanging rack, probably to somewhere upstairs so things would dry faster than they likely will in this basement.

    I like the painting on the wall here a lot. But I’d find something to use other than fabric for that privacy screen over the W/D.

  157. Daniel, thank you for doing something authentic and different. The sameness in the shelter blog world is getting numbing. Thank you for using those greens, thank you for improvising, being creative, and being real. And yeah, did I mention – those greens?!! Just wonderful.

  158. Looks great Daniel! I especially like the ceiling. You should totally Grandpa those hooks later. Also, nice Grandpa cardigan to keep on message. :)

  159. LOVE! So original and refreshing.

  160. I love that you love the morgue thing!

  161. I love this so much! Makes me wish I had a pokey basement to redo.

  162. It’s an amazing transformation! This gives me hope for my own basement, which is every bit as scary as Bluestone Cottage’s. I love what you did here.

  163. This room is P.E.R.F.E.C.T. And as much I usually always detest that “Kelp” color of green in any iteration, it works so well in your laundry room that I love and adore it. Well done you! Can’t wait to see more of your transformations in the cottage and your other properties.

  164. This post made me happy. You knocked it out of the park and you should be proud. Good job and thanks to Lowe’s for helping with this project.

  165. Daniel, coming in late to say how much I love this basement! From WWGD to Antarctica, you’ve banged it out of the park. I especially love that it’s not all stylin’ and cookie-cutter, but rather approachable and *real*. Can’t wait to see what you and Lowe’s do next!

  166. Ooh, I have a basement and I would just love for it to look like this, finished and functional but still a basement and still basically fine if water gets in.

  167. I can’t even handle how adorable and amazing and nostalgic this post and reveal makes me. Also! Lucy has the same Charley Harper in her nursery, but it’s a cross stitch. :D

  168. love it! I’d like to suggest stitching a green line of fabric to match the walls on the curtain above the washer to continue the line across the room.

  169. Good god, there’s hope for my 1924 basement yet! Bravo! Bravo!
    You have no idea (or maybe you do) how mush this gives me hope for my space.

  170. I love you, the basement and your grandpa sweater ❤️

  171. I can’t even deal…. ❤️

  172. Love. This space is GREAT.

    I can hear the hopefulness in your voice. I’m so glad things are starting to look up for you.

  173. Just *i n c r e d i b l e* — it’s like someone picked up the house and set it down on a whole new basement… totally giving you a cyber slow clap standing ovation — well played, sir… well played!

  174. I flipped back to your inspiration post and when the first inside photo came up, i thought “why did Daniel drag all those beat up meal cans in the pic?” Then I remembered where I was. You definitely nailed the look! Thank you and Lowe’s. So fun.

  175. One of my fave projects you’ve done, and I’ve followed you from the beginning!

  176. Crikey!! Now THAT’S a makeover! It looks incredible, congrats!

  177. Man, this is just so good. I don’t know what to say about it that isn’t the same as what everyone else has already said. I think I’ve reread this post seriously every other day since you posted it and notice something new every time. This time, I was puzzling over how a boiler would fit where the old stairs were, but then I took a better look at the old pic of the stairs and was shocked to realize that what I thought was stone and concrete this whole time was actually wood and carpet that was so filthy that it looked like dirty concrete. OMG, facepalm! And so gross!

  178. Wow, wow, wow! Such a wonderful transformation. You give me inspiration to tackle my basement. I had been over thinking it, and now I am loving it for what it is. Thanks!

  179. You really amaze me. This is so fabulous! And so are you. I love your style of writing and all the pictures. I’m sure most would agree with me when I say I’ll keep waiting for new posts.

  180. Wow! It’s perfect. It looks exactly like it has been there forever. Precisely like my grandfathers basement / laundry room / wood working shed amazingness.

  181. Your grandpa basement has a doppelganger – painted light switches and all – in a waterfront craftsman I showed last year in Port Orchard, WA. The seller lived to 107, and while there are sadly no pictures of his basement workshop like yours, there’s one of the basement bedroom he built out in the 30s or 40s I’m guessing. I was so in love with the place and hope the new owners don’t remuddle it up! http://l.hms.pt/1125/14/1248582/254867/0/4r

  182. Great post. The last few as well. So honest and it warms my heart because it feels like you’ve really learned something about yourself and are moving forward in such a positive way. Even though I don’t know you, I feel like I can say I’m proud of you! Congratulations on the room and all the personal growth. It’s so hard adulting, working on this myself everyday.

  183. I am so impressed what a person with vision and follow-through can do. That’s a space I would have just thrown my hands up about, given up. But I want to have a drinks and folding party in there now! It’s pretty, it’s clean, it’s the opposite of scary.

    PS, I like the morgue aspect too. When I saw it the first thing I thought of was Six Feet Under.

  184. I LOVE IT! It is charming, utilitarian and gorgeous! Love the greens. I could totally see this colour/style in a kitchen as well. Wonderful work Daniel!

  185. Dear Daniel,

    I just discovered your blog tonight (while searching for inspiration pics of black doors)…and then I read this post of your basement. Wow. It TOTALLY made me think of my Grandpa Rellis and his love of green…every truck or car he bought was green. He was a wheat farmer in Oklahoma and fastidious about his tools. Your Antarctic inspired space captures the coziness, practicality, spit-and-polish, ingenuity of a whole generation of people I knew and loved. So incredible that an interior design can evoke such strong feelings.

    Your writing voice is so relatable and kind. I feel like you have given me more courage to pursue my own “House dreams.” It’s a long haul, so thanks for the encouragement, fellow traveler.

    Lowe’s, you should give Daniel more money. Maybe make him your spokesperson.

  186. I’ve come back to re-read this several times. I totally relate to your overthinking, but also love the refreshing commitment to “what would grandpa do” in this highly functional space. Everything turned out perfect. I’m glad you didn’t paint the hooks. Love the boiler door and its hardware! The vinyl flashing “header”, perfect. Hope this was a fruitful partnership for your corporate sponsor because you knocked it out of the park with the reno, and the retelling of it here on the blog.

  187. Daniel,
    I agree with Amy B- I have reread this several times. I cannot get enough. You are a true visionary!! I cannot wait to follow along on what comes next!! I want this basement!! Please do not keep us waiting too long.
    Robin in Umbria

  188. Since the posting of this reveal, I’ve not been able to get it out of my head – because I see the colours every day. This is be cause the colours perfectly match those that the staircase of my tenement building in Leith, Edinburgh (Scotland) are painted in. The building is from the early 1900s, and traditionally the colour scheme in a staircase can’t be changed even when redecorating, so the palette is likely to be original. Turns out that the team that established Port Lockroy had a large number of Scots, including the leader James Marr. In some ways, it feels like you have a wee bit of Scotland in Kingston, by way of Antarctica!

  189. Amazeballs! I love these kinds of projects; they seem so doable and impactful. Thanks for the inspiration.

  190. Great inspiration for my dingy little basement laundry! Glad you’re back at, and we all know you’ll turn that little neglected cottage into a beauty.

  191. Love this renovation! It is beautiful!! I am a sucker for all things beadboard and I love that you have put it on the ceiling. Covering the seams with some extra wood is a clever idea. I noticed in a friend’s place in upstate New York, they installed beadboard during a renovation. Unfortunately, in the winter with the lower humidity, the seams are really evident. I wonder if the fact that it’s in your laundry room (increased humidity versus the rest of the house?), means that you might not have the usual winter shrinkage. Thanks for sharing your work.

  192. I love EVERYTHING about this! That flashing! Paint colors! You’re so talented. And I’m with you when you say you were in that space and time that you created. It’s such a real/surreal approach in changing a space but it’s the most authentic way to make it “sing”. It’s like being in a movie. Wondering..would grandpa have more pegboards? And little tin boxes with nails and such? That’s when I would hold grandpa back; he could clutter the whole room. Thank you for sharing!

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