"Dungeon" Fix

Happy 4th.  
We are doing a chillin and grillin day!

Finally have the "dungeon" fixer upper to show you.

This is the before picture.  Ugly uneven leaking walls and lots of cement.  These steps lead down to the entrance of the finished basement.  

We found this outdoor stone tiling at Menard's. 

A contractor had bought too much and brought some boxes back to the store.  Menards normally would not take back a special order product like this but because this contractor is a good customer they took it back. 

Menard's could not put it back into stock since it was a special order item. 

Terry and I were in the store trying to see if we could find some kind of outdoor shiplap for the stair walls.  While talking to the store manager on what kind of outdoor shiplap they might have,  he told Terry and I he had this special stone tile that was returned.

He said since it cannot return it to stock he would heavily discount it if we were interested.

Hmmm yep I think we would!  This stone is usually $60 dollars a box.  He gave it to us for about $20 a box.  Wooo Hooo!  Less than the out door shiplap would have cost us.

The plan was to do the back wall as you see finished and then the wall to the right going up the steps.  Terry worked for 4 hours on cutting and matching and adhering the tiles.  He got about half way up the stair wall and disaster struck.  That wall was so uneven that the tiles began to fall off the wall.

The wall tiles fell on Terry luckily he was not hurt. 
Now we had a half wall of broken tiles and adhesive that was already drying on the walls.  Very frustrating!

  We knew we would not have enough tiles to replace the broken ones to go up this wall again.

 Plus Terry said with how old and warped the wall was the next tiles would probably do the same thing.

 So we went to Plan B.
We decided to leave the one wall with the tiles and then do a plaster technique to the walls in stead of tiles.  This way we could camouflage the already drying adhesive on the wall.

This is the texture we did to the walls with the left over adhesive.  Then we painted it with cement paint.  This technique gave this uneven wall some character and texture.

Then we primed and painted the steps.

This is the before walls that were just primed along with the steps being primed. 

These stairs were too boring and needed something so we used the left over tiles that were still good on the risers of the steps. 

It gave the steps some texture and character.  

I found some outdoor stair mats on Amazon and put those down to help with any slippery issues on the steps.



I found this old iron garden gate on Offer Up.  The man that was selling it took it off his 100 year old home.  Happy he wanted to sell it.  

It fit perfectly in this spot.
I had this old metal hand painted ceiling tile in my stash.  I needed to find a nice spot for it.

I think between the windows is a perfect place for this art piece.  It is weather proofed with outdoor enamel paint and cedar wood for the frame.

I am enjoying my lounge chair this summer.  This is my little piece of heaven.

My newly planted knock out roses are growing nicely and blooming.

My flower boxes are thriving too.

After all the rain and heat the flowers are blooming beautifully.

A lot of people do not like Petunia's because they are high maintenance.  You need to dead head constantly to get these full and beautiful flowers.  I feel it is so worth it.  They make me smile to see how well they are doing.

The colors in the garden are just so vibrant.

These next two pictures are how the backyard looked when we moved in.

Hardly any grass and lots of mud.

  With lots of work on Terry and my part we were able to carve out a backyard with a little summer area we can enjoy.  We love to eat outside on the deck almost every night as long as the weather permits.

I love my little sanctuary here on the deck.

Living small does not mean you cannot have relaxing spaces to enjoy. 

So happy we could plant some sod, add some perennials and annuals and a no maintenance deck to our backyard.  It makes for relaxing summer enjoyment.

The "dungeon" is a little brighter and not so gloomy any more.

Have a great rest of the week.


  1. WOW. I love the look. You have done so much and it looks great.

  2. It all looks so beautiful and glad you are enjoying your new home!!!

  3. YOU both are brilliant DIY problem-solvers. How both of you designed "Plan B" actually worked out to be much better, gave you an opportunity to use the leftover tiles on the steps, and then that GATE. WHAT A STEAL! Kris????? YOU DID IT! The transformation of that yard (like what we did) is phenomenal. You have to be proud of yourselves! I love every inch of your renovation, and may you both enjoy this space as long as this crazy weather allows! WOOOO, we're in for a cooker today, so I hope whatever you do on the fourth, that it's fun and safe.

    BRAVO to you both!

  4. Kris, all of your hard work has definitely paid off. Your home looks stunning!! I love everything! That little black gate looks perfect as does everything else. You guys are amazing!
    Happy 4th of July!


  5. It doesn't look gloomy at all. This is such an inviting entrance now. Beautiful job with the tile.

  6. What a lovely oasis. You did a fabulous job and I am glad Terry didn't get hurt.

  7. Every time I see the creativity and talent you two have is like having a big piece of dessert! Absolutely beautiful! I look forward to your posts every week. Thank you for sharing your hearts and talents.

  8. Morning Kris,
    Happy 4th of July.....
    Wow, your yard looks fabulous and so inviting....
    and the dungeon area looks great. The stone wall and the stone on the steps looks fabulous, and good you put up a hand rail as well. That texturing really did the trick for the side walls as well, what a transformation, and poor Terry
    with the tile falling on him. So glad to hear he wasn't hurt. All that work
    to fall, had to be discouraging at first I am sue, but yall stuck with it and
    the transformation is wonderful and love that gate at the top of the stairs...it
    is beautiful as well as safe now too. Great job as always.

  9. What a great job inside and out! A wonderful haven you have created.

    Happy Summer ~ FlowerLady

  10. Y'all do fabulous work together. Sorry the tiles wouldn't work on the wall. Your hanging baskets are so full and lush. It's been so hot that mine are struggling.
    Happy 4th!

  11. Wow Kris- I never imagined the ideas you came up with. The stone wall looks wonderful as well as the accents for the steps. That gate you found is fantastic! Love your deck area and. Your flowers look amazing. Happy 4th of July!!

  12. We have family coming today for the 4th and a long to-do list, but when I saw this I told RH he had to sit down and look at how you transformed the dungeon. I mean, who goes to that much trouble for a spot like this? Kris and Terry do, that's who!

    He was so impressed, studied every detail, loved your wall rescue. And after seeing your before pictures of the yard now wants to see more of what you both have done since moving in. But that's for later, RH, time to get back to our list, which for him includes vacuuming while I'm in the kitchen cooking.

    Great job, you two and a very happy Fourth to you,
    Dewena & RH

  13. Your new place has come so far....it looks amazing!

  14. Kris, I love the ideas...the stone on the step face. the entry wall. I will say you and Terry are so clever and work well together. Love it all. Oh that beautiful gate !!! Lucky girl. Blessings and wishes for a great 4th. xoxo, Susie

  15. LOVLEY.... IT'S ALL LOVLEY. LOVE THE FLOWERS! We live in the mountains of Northern California and have a very short growing season so my flowers never really get a chance to grow the way yours have.

  16. KRIS!!!! OMG!!!!!
    I LOVE what you did with the dungeon!! Amazing job on those stairs! I think they are the best thing about the whole project. Sorry terry got hurt but I think it came out better than you planned originally!! Those stairs are a showstopper in my mind!! Your back deck is stunning and your flowers are amazing!! I have "lived small" all of the 40 years i am married and I have learned that you can do a lot in a small space!!
    You and Terry are such an inspiration!
    Have a great 4th and thanks so much for sharing!! Love that gate too!!

  17. Dungeon no more. What a super idea for the riders. I love petunias too. Wanted them this year. John advised against them, not ready to deadhead as much as they need. I get obsessed but worth it.

    You have made your home so beautiful. Happy 4thπŸ‡±πŸ‡·πŸ‡±πŸ‡·πŸ‡±πŸ‡·πŸ‡±πŸ‡·


  18. Kris,
    I shared this on my face book page! i thought it was so fantastic!!!

  19. What a lovely and peaceful outdoor space! Great work. The old iron garden gate is very pretty

  20. everything looks fantastic beautiful and charming congratulations

  21. Wow Kris, excellent job! It looks lovely. You sure have a green thumb. I wish my plants looked that good. I have a question. Are mosquitoes an issue in your backyard? We spray ourselves so we can sit out at night but the mosquitoes manage to find a spot we missed. My neighbor planted citronella plants but they really do nothing to help. Have you had this problem too?

  22. Kris, what a great transformation. You two are wonderful diy people. Creative and problem solving. What a difference. I love the wall and the stone lined steps. The gate adds character. Kudos. Happy 4th. xo

  23. Great job! I bet your neighbors love to look at your garden. What was an eyesore is now gorgeous.

  24. Thank goodness Terry didn't get hurt! Brilliant idea adding the remaining tile on the stair risers. The dungeon doesn't loo scary anymore ;) Love that gate!

  25. Very nice! I would have hung the framed ceiling tile on the new stone wall at the bottom of the stairs - it kind of gets lost on the brick wall.

    1. I thought about that but no one would see it down there. Happy 4th.

  26. Your deck is just gorgeous! Truly you!

  27. Kris & Terry ~ Yet ANOTHER AmaZiNg Re-Do Project!!! That Gate is beyond PeRfeCt!*!*! How long have you been in that house?!?!?! Hugs - Jeanine

  28. Kris, perhaps you should consider sending copies of all your work (yours and Terry) to HGTV. They'd just might want to offer you a show with them. Decorating on a budget and making it look like a $1,000,000's.

  29. I love what you did with the dungeon stairs using the leftover tile. It really gives them some character.

    Is there access to the dungeon from inside the house also?

  30. I love how you finished off the stairs and the little gate is wonderful! You all have a beautiful yard and garden. Hugs,

  31. Talk about a grand entery way! Beautiful! Terry did an amazing job. You both deserve a great “chillin and grillin “ day! Happy 4th!
    xoxo Jo

  32. Kris, I'm so glad that Terry wasn't hurt. You went through a lot fixing up the dungeon but what a transformation and it is a spot of beauty now in your already beautiful garden. I love petunias and I even like the scent of them. Your beautiful plants make mine look like sickly little things! Have a Happy 4th and enjoy it in you beautiful little cottage and garden..xxoJudy

  33. Hi Kris! The dungeon is a dungeon no more. It turned out so lovely, disaster and all! You two come up with the most amazing ideas and really know how to turn lemons into lemonade. Happy 4th to you & Terry! Jane

  34. OK... now that the dungeon is done (which I waited for the "after" very impatiently by the way!)........ what is there left to do? Are you all done? Hee Hee.. you guys are just amazing with all that you do and come up with. The stairwell now looks so inviting and bright.. and that gate! oh that wonderful gate! I think the vintage fairies are always with you, leading you to the "just perfect" solution for any area of your cottage! Wow. Love that brick, love the white textured paint and the way you fixed up the steps. That ceiling tile I think looks awesome where you placed it... and the view now from the deck of the gate and your brick house is just perfect. I agree with others.. you guys need your own TV show! I always look forward to what you've done but looks to me like you're done now! I'm sure you'll find other things to do. How does Terry find time to work????????? You both deserve a chillin' day.. Happy 4th too. Hugs.. Marilyn

  35. OMG, Kris!! You guys are SO amazing! I can't believe the transformation. Everything is so beautifully done and beyond my comprehension (can you tell I'm not a DIYer?!) that my mouth is hanging open. Fantastic job, Kris and Terry - bravo!

  36. Being there in winter I never noticed how dark and dismal that back stairwell felt. You did a really good job on it, Kris. You guys make a good work team. I love how everything came together and you know that if you ever DO decide to sell that you will have people lined up to buy the place....lol...just what you wanted to hear, right? Love the gate and how the steps and EVERYTHING turned out! It's perfect! xo Diana

  37. Your whole back outside looks great, new garage, new deck, new grass, new plants, new stairs, new tectured brick! You too have to be taking some miracle drug which I desperately need at the moment! Beauiful and Happy 4th!

  38. What a beautiful job you both did on the basement entry! I especially love the gate. Enjoy your wonderful backyard this summer. Milena

  39. I swear, I honestly can't believe the vision and partnership you two put in action, Kris. This is so fabulous. That gate is the perfect ending to a long battle and taking the ugly duckling dungeon to very inviting entry. I expect this to be featured on several blogs! Great job! Now, enjoy!

  40. WOW!!!! The dungeon transformation turned out AMAZING!!! You got a fabulous deal on the stacked stone and it looks great on the wall and the steps. The iron gate is my absolute favorite though!!!! I can't imagine why he parted with it but it worked out just perfect for you. Love it all :o)

  41. Hi Kris, oh I love how the back wall looks with that stone. The stair area looks wonderful. You guys save so much money with Terry doing the work.
    I love how the deck looks and such gorgeous flowers. I know you will both enjoy this summer.

  42. I love the gate! It looks so good. I think the stairs look fantastic now. Congratulations.

  43. I think it looks amazing. Once again, you nailed it. The gate really adds the finishing touch.
    I am a fan of petunias as well. :-)
    Your flowers look very happy.

  44. Looks great! Your back yard is beautiful! Love the gate!

  45. Those flowers are gorgeous!!! And what a great reveal on the "dungeon!" :) You really got a great deal on that stone. I'm telling ya...you two can accomplish anything together!

  46. I mean this in the BEST way possible...y'all are STINKIN' BRILLIANT! Those stairs, those tiles, those walls, those stairs (again)...absolutely BRILLIANT! Very Well Done!

  47. You are really a very good team, you and Terry! What a difference in that staircase - and no doubt you'll have more tricks up your very talented sleeve to share with us as you continue to settle into your sweet cottage!

  48. Kris, it's amazing how much those steps are transformed with the paint and that metal gate is gorgeous! Also, your backyard is phenomenal!

  49. everything looks as if it came out as planned. Happy accidents...as long as no person suffers injuries as a consequence to mishaps. I can't believe the gate fits so perfectly, almost as if you had it custom built for the space. Enjoy your yard and dungeon transformations.

  50. What a wonderful makeover!! Can you also get into your finished basement from inside the house?

  51. Hi Kris...
    It's all so beautiful! What a vision you had and how wonderful it has turned out. You could have a career in design warm and lovely spaces for others. The gate is so fanciful with all it's scrollwork. I really like the facing that you put on the steps. Your dungeon is transformed! lol That piece that you hung between the windows looks so perfect. Thank you for sharing! I hope you had a wonderful 4th and are enjoying the rest of your week.


  52. Dungeon no more! Wow, you guys are so creative. I love, love, love what you did with the space. The tiles are awesome, what a great plan B...and that gate? Fabulous. You have such an eye and a great sense of style. I am so impressed and yet it's as beautiful as I knew it would be! Enjoy it this weekend!! xoxo

  53. Everything you two touch turns to pure gold! I truly think the diy fairies are watching over you. Seriouly, you always seem to luck out and find the most amazing bargains and unique pieces, case in point, that pretty gate that fits perfectly.

    It’s beautifuk Kris, but I knew it would be ;)


  54. Kris, can you come do my yard now? lol Amazing transformation of everything! Wow!

  55. Kris, only you can turn a "dungeon" into a pretty little space! Glad Terry wasn't hurt. The tiles on the stairs looks terrific, and that gate is awesome! The backyard transformation is spectacular.

  56. Everything looks so beautiful Kris! I read how you have to pinch off the old buds on your plant to get them to bud more. Truly beautiful. My favorite part of your makeover is the old gate! What a special find that was!


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