Basement Kitchen to French Cafe' - Welcome!

We built this home back in 2001,
with a basement for my grandmother, Gram (Mimi to the girls).
The basement held her living room, sitting area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

She lived with us for 7 years, and since she could no longer drive 
and she missed playing Bridge with her friends,
it would be better for her to go to a place more suited for her.
So, she moved back to the same elderly apartment housing in Florida
that she had come from before moving in with us, where she'd have better supervision,
a bus to ride to Publix on Tuesdays, and Bridge partners to beat on Thursdays.

And we had this empty space in our home and hearts when she left.
One night, after she'd settled in her new apartment, I called her at her new number,
and Gram and I talked about what she might like us to do with her space when she was gone.
She thought we should share it with others.

And so, because of our love of coffee and chatting and people
we thought a cafe' would be fun in the kitchen space!
This space would become CAFE' DE SOUS-SOL 
which means Basement Coffee House in French.

Though the transformation took almost 8 months (we pay cash for everything and remain debt-free!), 
here is what took place over those months:

We didn't use chalkboard paint (too expensive) we used an oops!
Glidden paint in washable, scrubbable black paint.
The wall got Kilz primed, then the black was rolled on 
h o r i z o n t a l l y, 
It washes and erases just like the other "real" chalkboard surfaces we have around the house.
I found the tables on Craigslist, they came from an old hotel cafeteria.

All the cabinets came out, were sold on Craigslist, and with that $, I bought shelving at Ikea.

Instead of add moulding around the window, I drew some! 
The ceiling is lit with strands of white Christmas lights.

The yellow wall color is Crisp Linen SW6378 by Sherwin Williams.
The cabinet color is Rhythmic Blue 510E-2 by Behr.
Every dish was either found at Goodwill, a Yard Sale, or an heirloom.

I had no idea what to do with this corner when we first started. 
I figured it would just come to me.

And then found this stainless steel fridge at a yard sale for $40, 
wall shelving niche for $10 at a salvage yard, 
and my daughter no longer wanted this dresser in her room. And I got this idea...

A Beverage Station!
The glasses are vintage jelly jars in 4 different sizes, all found at four different times at the same Goodwill!
The dresser holds linens, candles, seasonal decor and A LOT
of only God knows what  miscellaneous items.

To the far left, a view into our now office, the bathroom (doncha love looking at a potty with the seat up?) and the far right door is the entrance to the cafe'.

I put the seat down, is that better?

When making over this area, I would ask the Lord to provide what I needed that I might use the items 
for the people He would bring to my home.
And He did. He provided every plate, utensil, linen, piece of furniture.

Our favorite blessing of this area is that we get to share it with others.
We have had HOA and Parent's meetings, Birthday,
Anniversary and Welcome Home parties here.
Friends, family and strangers alike, are all welcome here.

I feel so blessed to have a space like this in my home!
If you are passing through SC, stop on in, I'll put on some coffee for you!

Share with others.
Be inventive in hospitality.
Romans 12:13

The wall decal was made by Tonya at Fruitful Vine Creations
I gave her a size, color and the phrase I wanted, and she gave me several proofs to choose from. 
After I paid for it (around $25 inc. shipping), it was at my front door in 3 days! 

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

A peek into our Salle de Bain, the cafe' bathroom.
Click HERE to see it.

Let the party begin!

The Caffeination Station

My artiste friend, Sandra, gifted me with the Eiffel tower!

And a table for 4!

This is the open shelving I used.
HENSVIK from Ikea.

My $20 étagère, found at a thrift store!

More posts about our cafe', HERE.


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  1. You are definitely inventive my friend. I love it! It is very you!

  2. Hi! Thankyou for your lovely comments on my blog! Nice to meet you!

    I'd love a space like this. You've done a great job with the basement cafe!

  3. I ran across your blog from my sister-in-law's (Fabulously Flawed). At first I just wanted to say that it was so kind and generous of you to re-do her banner. Then I snooped around your blog, and I have to say that I love it! Not only do I like your style, but I always love reading/supporting fellow followers of Christ!

  4. Hi Andrea,
    Thank you for snooping, I don't mind (especially since I do it too!) I loved your sister-in-law's blog and it's name since I know I am flawed, but because of Jesus' unbelieveable love for me and the way I look through His eyes, I know I'm fabulous!
    I am going to snoop in your home now!

  5. Leslie,
    The room is AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing your link with me on my blog. You have such an eye for detail. It was so much fun working with you on your wall lettering. I'm so glad you like it!
    ~The Fruitful Vine Lady

  6. What a beautiful job! Your Grandma must be proud of all you ingeniousness! Would love to have a coffee or tea there - it is truly wonderful! Good for you!

  7. Hi Girls,
    You are welcome anytime you are coming through the Upstate of SC to stoop in and have a latte' or cappucino with me!
    I'd love it!

  8. Wow, what a unique and completely fun use for the space! I am sure you enjoy hours on end in this great cafe. Thanks for linking up to Be Inspired today!


  9. Wow, what an awesome transformation! The black chalkboard wall looks really great next to the blue wall. I really like the look of the open shelving too!

  10. Just FABULOUS! The adore the cafe look, but you really DO have a cafe now. Beautiful idea.

  11. K. So I just found the shelves and dishes in your cafe' that I had inquired about on your home page. ;) Great job on the Cafe'!

  12. First, Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such nice comments and becoming my new blogs first follower! yay! I knew I had to come by and check out your cafe and blog. All I have to say is "WOW!" I Love it and am now a new reader of yours.So fun we have so much in common. I love that! I love entertaining and dream to have more space to do it in the future. We are in an Apt right now. I might just steal this idea one day. So awesome you have your heart open to friends like this. Have a great weekend!

  13. Leslie, I love how you have transformed your Grandma's space into such a lovely cafe to share with your friends. We had our parents in our basement for several years until Mom had health issues and they needed to be in a building with wheelchair/walker accessibility. So we too have a basement apartment (though a whole lot smaller than yours) that is slowly being turned into a guest suite and extra family room. I love that your space has an entry door to the outside. Ours has a very large escape window but no outside door. Now that Mom is gone, I am especially thankful to God for providing the space for us and for the memories of when they were here.

  14. Holy Smokes! I love it. Every last bit of it. Isn't that awesome that God provided everything you would need to make that lovely and inviting space. What a blessing you are to those around you. It's really beautiful. I love the 'chalk' board walls. Such a great idea. I've wanted one of those, but can't seem to narrow down the perfect place for one...don't think I have enough wall space. We'll see!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the kind comments you left. I'm so glad you left this link. I'll be back again when I have more time to look around!

  15. Very creative and inventive, and just plain awesome! Love the space, it's wonderful that you are using it as a ministry tool too....

  16. This is one of the most creative and wonderful make overs I have ever seen! I am in awe! Oh to do this...I am going to read and read, look and re look at it and show it to my daighter who I KNOW will love it too! This is fun, inventive and beautiful!
    Now, can I toss my basement dwelling son outthe door so we can do this?? *big grin* Some day...

  17. That is just incredibly beautiful, I wish I COULD come visit!

  18. cannot say anything but WOW!!!!!!!

  19. I'm a friggin' mess. Started crying at seeing Gram's stuff. I need to call her tonight or tomorrow, methinks.

  20. I just love your French cafe! What a wonderful tribute to your grandma! The wall color is tres chic, and I also love the open shelving, too! And how great is it that you did it all on a budget?! Ok, I'm coming over! :)

  21. OH WOW OH WOW! SPLENDID! I love the colors and the shelves! EVERYTHING! I love that you share it with others and the scripture :)
    Thank you for linking up this special post :)

  22. I love this makeover. The chalkboard wall is so clever. But the whole cafe is just darling.

  23. How incredibly awesome is this??? I love the idea of having an entire area of your home devoted to nothing but hospitality!

  24. Saw this on Le Chateau des fleurs this space! What a great idea!!!

  25. WOW!!! What an amazing transformation! wish I could come over for some tea. such a beautiful place!

  26. this is truly beautiful. i dream of having a home of our own with a space to share. we have people crowded into our tiny rental all the time, so it would be amazing to be blessed with a big space like that. y'all are truly blessed and so generous to share it with your friends.

  27. I'm in love!!! I have never seen this post either!!!

  28. What a cute little cafe and the story behind it, love how it turned out! xoxo

  29. I am in awe. I love everything about this space. And it makes it even sweeter how it evolved into this. Wonderful idea! I would love to have a space like this in my home devoted entirely to entertaining.

  30. What an awesome idea. You have me wishing for a space like that to use. Isn't God good? Excellent idea. Jackie

  31. This is a wonderful, inviting space. I love the story behind what you have done, and how you are blessing others with your space!

  32. What a fun way to decorate a room and so perfect for entertaining. You've done a great job!

  33. Oh the fun your family must have in this space! The originality, colors and sentiments for your Mimi are a breath of fresh air. I love that you can cook and entertain in an area completely separate from the main part of the house. After a late night of entertaining it would be nice to sit in the main kitchen have coffee and wake up without seeing a room that needs tidying. I've a peev of looking at a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. Really, Cafe de sous sol is like a real cafe.

    What an inventive idea you had. Thank you for sharing.


  34. This is amazing! Good eye, great imagination, and a lovely space! The colors are beautiful as well! and that chalkboard wall behind the sink...yay!

  35. My next house simply must have a basment area like this....or a ballroom....dreaming!

  36. Your cafe is to die for! What a cute idea!


  37. Leslie,

    This is so beautiful! It was a pleasure getting to know you at Relevant!

  38. Absolutely awesome and kudos for remaining debt free!! :)

  39. Beautiful space! Love the colors and the french feel for sure!! Stopping by from Sarah's kitchen party today. :)

  40. Came over from Modern Country Style, I love what you did with your kitchen! I am obsessed with chalkboard paint, we have a chalkboard mini bathroom, LOL! Your blog is so cute!

  41. I love all of this so much. It's so charming. What a great space you've made this!

  42. This is one of the cleverest make-over's I've ever seen. I LOVE it!

  43. I Love this story! And i especially love that you prayed over it. That is just a great testimony. :)


  44. What a lovely, lovely post! I love it that you prayed! And how amazing that God cares about our every problem. How amazing!!

    I LOVE all your chalkbaord details! So lovely!!

    I'm fast turning into your biggest fan!!!


  45. What a lovely space the Lord has given you! May you be bearers of many blessings.
    (visiting via Modern Country Style)

  46. Wow! What an amazing room, but more than that, what an amazing HEART you have. I love that you open your home so freely. It's beautiful.

  47. Thank you for your sweet comments to my new blog :) I just painted a coffee table that I found out week the cabinet project will begin. I love, love. love your little cafe, so adorable. Once I figure out how to post pictures and really get my blog going, there will be more.
    Many Blessings :)

  48. Amazing post! You are so inventive, so organized!!
    Love the colour and beautiful French feel. Thanks a bunch for sharing such an awesome project.Love everything about your site:)
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  49. What an incredible space. I love it! Great work. I too have a basement area that I want to turn into something very cool...trying to figure out what I want to do with it. As I am a graphic designer and have very limited space at my office desk that is crammed into a corner of our kitchen,I would love a space to hang out and also be as creative as I like. :)

  50. The cafe idea is 3 steps beyond cute and terrific. That you're sharing the space with others - mo betta. Reminds me - how am I using my home for hospitality, a place of welcome and retreat for others?

  51. Okay, I asked at your Nickel Auction post and I'm asking again, would you please tell me about that cute little Caffeination Station shelf with the houndstooth background (sorry, I thought it was gingham before). How'd you do it? Tell me, tell me, tell me. Was the back easy to remove or did you purchase it that way? It has your flare written all over it.
    Don't answer me here though, fb or email.

  52. Hello!

    I know this post is old, but I found it today and I just wanted to let you know how much I love it. I've looked around your blog and I want to say that I'm amazed with your talent. You make decoration seem so easy!

    I'm getting married this year and I'm definitely going to use some of your ideas for decorating my house. Thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge with us. Blessings to you and your family.


  53. The church I grew up in had a basement coffee house. It was the 60's and the younger people would go there to drink coffee and tell poetry. I never got to go there cause I was a child but our church was huge and there were other nooks and cranies for us to explore. I love that you have opened this to the community. What a blessing for your neighborhood.

  54. This is wonderful, & so inspiring in so many ways. Thank you for sharing!

  55. This is simply fabulous! You're granddaughter of the year!!

  56. OMGoodness!! I was just kinda looking around and came across your blog, and I have to tell your blog is awesome but this little "café de sous sol" is just amazing!! Love what you did on a budget and with this space, what a blessing for you and for those you get to host there!! I now have a "new dream" to have a space like this!! Thanks for sharing!

  57. We just love your new basement cafe! You are giving us wonderful ideas for ours. It has been our hearts to do a french cafe in the basement to share with our church and others. Sooo thank you so much for your wonderful blog. It will be such great help!

    Julie Ann

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  59. This is gorgeous. Love it!


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