I knew the Gammage women had to have occupations other than being ladies of leisure. The fancywork and domestic articles around the house are the work of women long gone. but even their mother, Cecile , preferred writing and illustrating botanical journals to prettying the house, which is why the decor speaks of their grandfather's lifetime more than the year of 1885.
The basement was used for years as an apartment for workers or temporary quarters for other shipmasters who weren't in Providence long enough to go home. For those who wanted to escape the drunken brawls of the boarding houses serving mostly sailers, the basement was a warm restful alternative. A somewhat primitive kitchen served both the upstairs and the basement living quarters. The current occupants of the house have done a bit of updating in the kitchen, with a new stove and inside sink.
Since the unpleasantness, the exterior room of the basement was converted into a post office and stationers store, with Julia as the proprietor. The shipmaster's quarters were somewhat preserved, but the larger part was converted as a wood shop for Althea, who makes beautiful clocks, sewing boxes and commissioned work.
So finally , I know how to proceed on the basement!
As you see, I am between color schemes on the house too, but I've added the beginnings of steps as well.