Before & After: Watch Kristen Bell Give Her Sister’s Basement a Total Makeover

updated May 3, 2019
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If there’s anything we love more than a great before and after, it’s a great before and after with Kristen Bell. The Good Place star surprised her sister and her family with a totally new basement for their Detroit home.

(Image credit: Courtesy Houzz)

In an episode of MyHouzz, the home renovation platform’s web series, the Frozen and Veronica Mars actor set out to do something huge for her big sister: totally renovate her basement. “A little sister always looks up to her big sister, no matter what age you are,” says Bell. “She’s honestly in my eyes a superwoman.”

Bell’s older sister Sara lives in a 1,026 square foot three bedroom, one bath home in Michigan with her husband and four kids. Upstairs, space is tight, but downstairs, there was a basement that wasn’t being utilized to its full potential, with half of the space left as an unfinished laundry and storage area. Since Bell lives 2,000 miles away, she enlisted the help of Melissa Kennedy of Meadowlark Design+Build, who she found on Houzz, to design and manage the project.

The layout totally changed, with the space reimagined to include a living area, game area, additional bathroom, and a bedroom for Lucy, Bell’s 11-year-old niece, away from her three younger brothers.

The space is also more welcoming, due to a few design decisions and structural changes. The demoed ceiling was left open and not drywalled over, giving an extra eight inches of space that feels more lofty. The kids got a nook under the stairs for lounging—that also comes with built-in storage. And in Lucy’s room, the team added an egress window that brings in light and keeps it from feeling so basement-y.

The 2017 season of MyHouzz will include four more episodes documenting a well-known, public figure as they surprise a close family member that made a difference in their life with the gift of a renovation, using Houzz throughout their journey.