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Our Dirty Little Secret

I’m so glad everyone found yesterday’s post funny.  At least once a week I giggle about how our all-white walls really look like the product of Mr. Bean’s method and I figured it was time to let you all in on my joke.  And yes, I am definitely planning to paint the basement a colour soon.  I haven’t actually picked the exact colour yet (I’ve wallpapered the basement in swatches) but an outdoor space from Prudent Baby is my basement inspiration.

Oh yeah.  I’m going taupe.  Anyone feel let down?  Come on, I promise it will be goooood.

What I love about the space linked above: the taupe-y walls, the faded black & white textile, the weathered wood, plus the hits of icy turquoise and pink.  While a beige-y/taupe-y/grey colour isn’t my first choice, I think it’s necessary because our basement has a beige carpet that I want to downplay.  I tried other swatches (pale turquoise, creamy yellow, dark grey, chocolate brown, vanilla ice cream white, etc.) but those colours either made the basement look dark (it has but one window) or made the carpet pop in a weird way.  White walls made the carpet look dirty.  I think a nice taupe/beige will make the area seem cozy and inviting without being too much of a departure from the crispness of the rest of the townhouse.

Now for our dirty secret.  Our basement is hideous.  It’s sad, tired, worn-out & ugly (we blame the former homeowners) but it’s also cluttered and messy (that’s all on us).  I don’t want to show you . . . but I will:


Our laundry room is in a separate little room (it’s amazing anything comes out of here cleaner):


Gosh, revealing that was terrifying.  But I think we can make it better (can we make it worse?!?)

Here is our to-do list to make the basement presentable:

Main Area:

  • Buy a vacuum (we were using the one the previous homeowners’ left in the garbage until it blew up.  I think I know why they didn’t take it with them)
  • Clean (it’s been hard to do, without a vacuum.  Man, I hate carpet)
  • De-clutter
  • Re-drywall areas
  • Paint walls, ceiling, trim, heaters, door
  • Make lighting less crappy
  • Sew curtain for lone window
  • Decorate!

Laundry Room:

  • Rip up carpet
  • Remove weird, falling down accordion door (not pictured)
  • Insulate
  • Install drywall and ceiling
  • Install baseboards and trim
  • Paint walls
  • Paint floors
  • Make lighting less crappy
  • Sew curtain to hide stuff
  • Install storage
  • Make a wall-mounted dry rack
  • Hang some art (art makes everything better)

We want to do this inexpensively because our basement is nothing special – not worth anything fancy pants, but it does need our patented spit & polish.  We’re going to begin tackling this in January (and probably February, March and April) but I promise to keep you posted!  Now – go look at the townhouse tour so you remember we aren’t messy slobs.



  1. Jae
    December 16, 2011 / 3:35 pm

    I know what you mean. I think everyone has one space that is less than ideal. We are going to clean up our basement as well. Nothing fancy pants either. 🙂

  2. Faith Pike
    December 16, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    it's not that bad! it's going to be amazing once you fix it up though.

  3. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    December 16, 2011 / 4:35 pm

    Awww, you're both so nice about my blech basement. Thanks! But I think it looks worse in person. . .

  4. melissamevans
    December 16, 2011 / 4:56 pm

    …love your inspiration! I'm a white wall kinda girl too!…taupe is a nice color and it'll look marvelous! Your inspiration photo for your laundry room is fabulous! Happy Friday!

  5. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    December 16, 2011 / 5:12 pm

    first of all i have seen scarier….. in my own house.second of all, i love where this is going!

  6. Vintage Market Place
    December 16, 2011 / 7:32 pm

    LOL, you are too funny and brave to expose yourself.I grew up quite spoiled, my dad finished our basement so it was just an extension of our home cozy and sweet. I never knew basements like this until I got older and lived in my own duplex and it was so super scary to go down and do laundry, lolGood luck with your re-do and I can't wait to see the charm you add to it all :)Amy

  7. 100yearheadstart
    December 16, 2011 / 8:50 pm

    That'll make for fantastic and dramatic "after" pictures! Definitely do-able. 🙂

  8. Dana@Mid2Mod
    December 16, 2011 / 9:10 pm

    When I bought my house, the previous owner had already painted all the walls a Kelly Moore color called Cork Bark. I immediately fell in love with it and haven't wanted to change it in the 6 years I've been here. It's a light grayish taupe like you're talking about, and everything looks good with it.My "room of shame" is my workshop. Until a couple of months ago, it was in good shape but just needed painting. However, after 60+ years of squirrels building nests between the ceiling and the roof, the ceiling has suddenly started to fall down. I guess just one chubby squirrel too many ran across it! Two pieces of sheet rock have fallen, and it looks like a war zone. I'm trying to find a handyman who won't charge me a fortune and get a major re-do out there.

  9. Jenny @ Simcoe Street
    December 16, 2011 / 10:28 pm

    Taupe can be great!! Can't wait to see it :)

  10. Beatrice @
    December 16, 2011 / 10:58 pm

    Your basement really doesn't look bad. I can't wait to see the end result. Sarah Richardson's para paints are lovely. You should check them out.

  11. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    December 17, 2011 / 10:16 pm

    Thanks for being so nice about the basement. But it REALLY is bad. Once we get work underway I'll post some more photos to try to convince you all. Otherwise the "after" won't seem so impressive!Dana, your story had us in stitches! Hope your workshop is fixed soon 😉

  12. Spots & Stripes
    December 18, 2011 / 9:22 am

    Your basement is not so bad, I've definitely seen worse. The chevron print is gorgeous too. Amber

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