Back Entry Re-Do

3 Materials
3 Days

Hi, I'm Liz from, a DIY and decorating blog. Several years ago, this back entry was a project I was working on. It was in a very charming 1800’s little brick cottage that really needed a redo! When we purchased this house, this is what the back entry looked like:

It was ‘yucky’ at best, and it had some real issue. There was no natural light in the space, there was a door closing the kitchen off from the entry, yet the landing from outside was completely opened to the basement and felt dangerously close to the first basement step.

The first thing we did was to remove that half wall, temporarily making it even more dangerous LOL. But that was necessary to put in the full wall and door to fix it.

Then we built a full wall right next to the existing steps coming from the kitchen.

Here you can see the full wall studded out with a door frame that will house the new basement door.

To fix the scary drop off on the landing to the basement, we added to the landing so that it would fill the entire area when the basement door is shut, no falling or tripping over the edge. To make that first step wider and safer, we built an angled step that makes the turn nicely. Problem solved!Once the sheetrock was installed, taped, mudded and all the beadboard (HERE is is link to the real wood beadboard we installed) and trim up, I could paint. Here are my go-to supplies for painting:

Well, more like my go-to supplies getting ready to paint. I always caulk first!

Cut a tiny angle on the end of the caulk tube nozzle, then it will run along the corners easily.

See that shadow of a crack between the door trim and wall? Caulk will take care of that and make the job look so much better.

Run a bead of caulk along that crack. Don't worry if you mess up, you can clean it up, if you do it right away. Don't let it dry though, or you'll need to cut it out.

Some people us a rag, but I have found the best thing to get the caulk smooth is my finger, (gloved finger). Right after I run a length of caulk about 5-10 feet, I immediately go behind it with my finger and smooth it, wiping the excess on my rags.Caulking before you paint makes a world of difference to how the finished job looks!

  • Vinyl Gloves: I go through boxes of vinyl gloves, frequently changing them as they fill up with caulk on the outside, and/or dripping with sweat on the inside. It’s horrible to have to keep on a pair of gloves that are filled with sweat. They slip around on your hand.
  • Rags in a Box: These rags in a box are terrific too. They are tougher than regular paper towels. The way they dispense from the box is perfect for grabbing them as you go along.
  • Caulk: I love this particular fast dry caulk. Caulking the seams and joints of woodwork gives a finished look as it fills those shadow lines and cracks before painting. To successfully use this caulk read further for the tips.

This is what the basement doorway looks like now, all painted:

From the kitchen, it’s so cute and welcoming, I purposely continued the same elements and colors into the back entry from the kitchen to visually enlarge the space.Nothing speaks the language of farmhouse like beadboard, right? Love it! For this back entry, as well as other places in this little brick cottage, I used THIS real wood beadboard. It’s durable and not expensive. Even the installation is cheaper because it comes in 4 x 8 sheets, so it goes up quick, saving labor costs! But I did use a lot of caulk! to fill the seams between the sheets.

Most of the elements from the kitchen to the back entry are the same, except the floors are different.In the kitchen, we found this original oak plank floor, but the entry floor is partly original and partly new, as we needed to rebuild these steps, the old ones were really rickety, so the treads are new, as well as that added piece by the basement door. It got finished with a darker grey paint as the walls.

Even though I needed to keep this space neutral, because I was preparing for someone else to live in it, I found these super cute numbered hooks. Perfect for this vintage farmhouse little brick cottage back entry! Here are 2 really cute other options of numbered hooks that lend themselves toward a cottage farmhouse style nicely: THESE HOOKS incorporate rustic barn wood and metal. THESE HOOKS are cute colors and on a single bar making installation super easy.If you liked this post, stop by Simple Decorating Tips to see more projects from this little brick cottage renovation and many more projects I've worked on!

Now, all completed, the new wall and door completely separate the basement from finished living space, and makes the entry feel much safer and looks a lot cuter.

Resources for this project:
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Liz at Simple Decorating Tips
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Linda Linda on Jan 24, 2020

    What brand and color name or product number is the yellow wall paint?

  • Liz Liz on Feb 03, 2020

    You may have mentioned this, but I was wondering what color you painted the brick walls going down to the basement? Did you paint the basement stairs gray?

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Feb 10, 2020

    Did the $600 cost for the project include the sheetrock also?

    It was not listed as one of the three materials.

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  • Indre Koch Indre Koch on Feb 06, 2022

    I'm ready to buy the house based only on the photo from the kitchen looking down! Are there pictures of the rest of the house?

  • I do have other photos... I'm actually working on writing a book about the whole process showing the entite house renovation and what I was personally going through at the time. I'll post about that on my blog