That Time We Bought A Stinky House

-Tales From The Stinky House On The Prairie-

My cute little stinky house

Look at her? Isn’t she cute with her brick siding and little wrap around porch perfect for sipping coffee on?

A great place for a cup of coffee or a popsickle in the shade

I sure thought so. In fact, I couldn’t figure out why this wasn’t the very first house that our real estate agent had taken us to, after combing through so many prospective country homes. He had probably clocked in several hundred miles already with us looking for our dream home.  Yet he seemed so reticent to show us this one. I could tell by the pictures that the drywall seemed to be unfinished or somehow damaged from the small pictures on my phone, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. Driving up the drive-way, I was already half in love. There was already some landscaping on the 7 acre chunk of land. In fact, this was one of the only houses that we looked at where anyone had actually bothered to plant trees. The siding was high quality and so was the roof. She just looked so quaint sitting there. Then we walked up on to the front porch. It was then that I noticed something amiss. There was a stale odor on the porch, something I had smelled before but couldn’t quite place since it was pretty faint. I stood there, trying to figure out what I was smelling as our real estate agent fidgeted with the lock box. When the door swung open, I got a good whiff of it and I finally figured out what I was smelling; stale cigarette smoke. That smell of old, dingy bars where the smoke smell saturates every surface. I made the kids stay outside and my husband and I took turns very quickly looking through the first level of the house. I could see it was well built and a fairly new build. But the walls. Man. You could see where every single picture hung on the wall based on the yellowing from the smoke.

Smoke damage on the walls

The ceiling in the living room was a less than beautiful tan color. I could even tell where a dream catcher had been hanging because I could see the outline of the feathers and the hoop. We went downstairs and were relieved to find that the basement didn’t smell at all. Clearly, the previous homeowners didn’t venture down there very often, and the carpet and walls were spared in the walkout basement. We went out back and found an old hot tub in a little hot tub house and an adorable back porch area. As we hopped back in the car and sniffed our clothes to see if the smell was still attached to us, I couldn’t help but wonder. We had already seen so many houses, and none of them really fit us. Maybe we weren’t going to find one that did. Maybe what we needed was to make one our own. “What did you think?” I timidly asked my husband. “I mean, it smells” was his reply. But the more we talked about it, the more it seemed like a possibility. We googled how one goes about getting rid of cigarette smell in a house. It seemed like others had undertaken such a thing and had success with it. We loved the open layout of the house and to be honest, I loved the fact that the house needed to be redone. I had always wanted to do this, but there had never been any reason to do so. In our first country home, I had so wanted to re-do the kitchen to fit my style, but it didn’t make sense to re-make a perfectly functional kitchen.  This time, there was every reason to remodel, and I could finally design my dream kitchen and make the rest my dream home. We figured we could control the costs if we did it ourselves and as long as we could quickly get rid of the smell to make the house safe for our kids, we figured, why not?

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