We have been in New England for nearly 3 weeks now! It was an absolute disaster of a start. The trip went from 6 hours to 10 hours, the arrival had us greeting around 3 inches of dust all over the interior of the house (will explain more about that below), and then when the movers unpacked our things they were damaging walls, furniture and floors left and right. I am not sure how we made it through, and I did spend one night crying BUT we’re here now and that is behind us. I am pretty sure no one has a good moving story, ha! We are so grateful to be here though!
We don’t have a lot of information on our new old house, except that she was built in 1910 and appears to have only had 3 other owners in her time. One of which, we learned was a mean old lady that anytime a ball landed in the yard she refused to give it back, and there was some legend about her (now our) basement was full of balls, ha! It made me think of the The Sandlot when the neighbor told us that story. I love mean old ladies living in big old houses and plan to be one myself, ha!
I digress, let’s talk about what we have already started to do with our old house restoration! One of the biggest issues we faced with buying an old house FIVE STATES away (at the time anyways, now we’re finally here) is that we couldn’t be there to start the restoring process doing the work ourselves (which we are use to doing) or at least be there to oversee the work being done and that was really stressful, more so then I had even anticipated.
We also had a hard time finding people or even finding good recommendations and it was a lot of me just combing the internet, calling local places like the paint store, and reading reviews looking for people. This worked out okay for us – I wish some of the people that had worked on things had done better, but I feel like that is just how it goes. And the mistakes made received zero apologies, which is something else that really gets to me after awhile.
Anyways, there is PLENTY of work left that we will be doing ourselves, but we wanted to get a head start since we have little kids now, and there were a few things we wanted as far along as possible before we moved in.
We have broken up this old house restoration into 3 phases and for phase 1, one of the things we really wanted to get done right away was removing all the paint off those beautiful cedar shingles. To me, natural cedar shingles are beautiful, and I wanted to bring those back, and seal them as quickly as possible, as to not lose anymore time with preserving them.
Figuring out how to get that paint off was something I wasn’t sure what to do, but I did this deep dive into youtube of all places and found a company that specialized in a thing called “soda blasting” where they use a mix of sand and baking soda to remove paint from cedar shingles. I had not been able to find anything else locally and this company was located a few hours from us, so I figured they wouldn’t be able to do it, but I was desperate and reached out anyways, and they said sure! I am so glad I did, and that it worked out.
HOWEVER, having this done when you have really neglected old windows will traumatize you – and another reason why not being here when it was done lead to such a disaster upon our arrival – that sand/soda mix was EVERYWHERE inside our house. I have been cleaning it up for weeks, and probably will be cleaning it up for months.
After getting it blasted it off, it really looked amazing, we were so happy to have that done and it instantly brought life back into the house. It was so much brighter, and can I say healthier looking? ha! But after you’ve had this blasting done, it is a good idea to have a soft washed performed in order to clean the wood up. We were already planning to have this done because we had a lot of moss on our roof, so we added in the rest of the house too.
HOWEVER, this was a disaster as well because remember when I mentioned those really neglected old windows letting in all the sand dust…we specifically told the company NOT to spray the windows, we expected some kind of water would get on them but wanted them to be aware that our windows were in bad shape and to not spray them. I am not sure what happened but they totally sprayed them while spraying the rest of the house and BLEACH water started pouring through our windows. Not every single one, but at least 6 of them and it was going everywhere. I was screaming for Andrew (who was in a work meeting at the time). He ran out to tell them to stop and that bleach was pouring into our house and they said they would, but then they rinsed the bleach solution off and did the exact SAME thing again. I don’t know what to say, except those kind of experiences always happen to me when Andrew is busy at work. Our girls handled it really well especially me screaming my head off to stop PLEASE STOP, I was seriously banging on the class and the guy just kept spraying. I keep thinking about that too and laughing to myself, what must I have looked like to him holding soggy paper towels and yelling through glass. I wonder if he is still thinking of me too, haa!
Soooo…maybe don’t go with the company we choose, even though they were the ONLY company that does it in our area, but the results were GORGEOUS. I will probably smell bleach for the rest of my life as my nostrils were so blown out by cleaning it all up inside (and yes it did sadly damage some of the wood, but I think I can fix it). I am still really glad we did it though.
STEP 3 AND STEP 4
Step 3 and 4 will be for another post because now we are going to seal it ourselves with a natural finish and then paint all the parts that are not shingle. I am really excited for the next steps!