Manti basements are the scariest places on the planet. Mine was no exception. The walls were rock and mortar with plenty of niches for spiders to spins their webs and with cement plastered here and there.
The stairs going down to the basement were especially treacherous. My handyman rebuilt the stairs and custom made a hand railing that followed the line of the wall by the stairs. He also repaired the area at the bottom of the stairs, building a box to hide the plumbing and finished off the landing area. I finished and painted some of the walls. I also installed baseboard at the landing to finish off the area.
The furnace worked part time and was plumbed into an old oil-burning monster.
I hired a plumber to remove the oil burning furnace (what a filthy mess) and moved the gas furnace out of the center of the room to the back wall. It had to be reducted. The furnace only worked some of the time, so after several service calls and hundreds of dollars in repairs, I had a new one installed.
I plastered the walls of the one-room basement with cement then finished them with plaster and paint.
I repaired and painted the floor and installed movable shelving units for storage. I especially like the Seville Classic Chrome 48 wide x 72 high inch shelving units. I could buy 2 units and link them together to make 3 units. They are sturdy and easy to install. The heavy casters on the bottom roll easily and lock in place if desired. I also like the small rack at the back that keeps items from falling behind the unit. I like the idea of being able to relocate shelving as needed.
An electrician installed a new electric panel to replace the old fuse box. I also had the electric meter on the outside of the house replaced to bring it up to code. The electrician removed the outdated panel on the kitchen porch and run the existing wires to the new panel in the basement. I also had a new light installed so the basement was not so dark and scary.