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Getting Through Buyer's Remorse as We Start Work on the Old House

Five days ago we set up camp in the old house.  One room - the den - serves as our primary living space while we work on the other rooms.  There is a lot of work to do.

Going in, we knew there was an incredibly long list of improvements needed, but now that we are in the midst of it, the sense of buyer's remorse at this stage is overwhelming at times.   Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I go for a walk on our property or head on down the road to see what's going on. I check out the community garden, the chicken co-op  where there are at least 25 hens pecking and scratching the ground, and the horses by the big old barn. I look at the hills and mountains in the distance. I encounter a friendly neighbor who cheers me up. Then I head back inside to continue working on the house.

One of the biggest tasks facing us at the start is removing old carpets and cleaning the floors.  The previous owners had a dog that peed on the carpets in pretty much every room. I also discovered that the cats they owned must have sprayed a few of the walls. Additionally, the house has not been cleaned for more than 20 years from the looks of things.

It was quite a chore getting the carpet out in the downstairs rooms.  Underneath the living room, dining room and parlor room floors is asbestos tile. The tile has a strong odor, too. The odors in the house were so bad that we had to put plastic sheeting over entryways to try to block odor from one area in the house that we were living in.  

After a great deal of research, we decided to clean the tile using trisodium phosphate (TSP) and then paint it with Zinsser BIN Primer, which contains shellac and gets top reviews for blocking odors. We were impressed at how well this solution worked.  The house finally smelled clean!

We next have to decide what type of flooring to lay over the top, but at least with the shellac sealer the odors will no longer permeate new flooring.

Of course with all this cleaning and painting, it's important to work in a well ventilated area. Unfortunately, the windows are stubborn to open.  As we began work, we were desperate for a breath of fresh air, and so began tackling opening one of the house's many original wood-framed, single-pane windows. We couldn't get any of them to budge, and after inspecting the outside of the windows we discovered the previous owner had caulked all of the downstairs windows shut and then painted over the openings.  A special Window Opener tool was the solution, although we are thinking an electric tool would be even better, since it took several hours to get just two windows open.  

It's getting close to the end of the first week and I continue to struggle with buyers remorse, but I am encouraged with each task we complete as I know we are getting closer to having a livable home.

This House with Knotty Pine

See many more photos of our house with its wood walls in our e-book, This House with Knotty PineClick to download your copy from the Amazon bookshelf (for reading on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC using the free Kindle app). 

Knotty pine walls e-book

In the book, which you can download and view now, you'll discover how we stumbled upon our unique home. The house was once part of a dairy farm, but it had fallen into disrepair over the years.  Despite the sad state of the house, the solid planks of knotty pine throughout were still in great shape. Included are photos of the renovation plus many more photos of each of the eight rooms decorated. Click to see the book on Amazon.

We invite you to download your copy of the book, which follows our journey as we share what we learned while renovating and decorating a house with its vintage knotty pine walls. See photos of our rooms from start to finish and throughout the seasons.