The Wind Chime House

Mold, Urine, and Carpet. A homeowners worst nightmares.


When we first walked through this house we were taken aback by a few things. One: It had some cool spaces and unique design elements. It was unlike any house we had seen. Two: It Stunk! with a capital “S”. It smelled soo bad that we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to fix the problem. It was hard to even be in the house for long periods of time. When we were debating making an offer it always came back to the smell as one of the main deterrents. Three: There were things growing in the house. Yes the cool tree atrium which is the heart of the home but also there were little plants growing in the basement carpet.

When we told the kids we were buying this house they were visibly upset. “NO!! Not the stinky house!”

“Sorry Kids we’re buying the stinky house.”

So… even before we closed on the house we had two main goals. Goal numero uno: Get rid of the smell ASAP. Goal 2. Get rid of the mold.



Before we bought the house, we noticed plants growing out of one area of the carpet in the basement. That’s right! Plants growing in the carpet! So… before we closed on the home we had a mold company come in and do some testing.  The results were not good.  We decided that as soon as we signed papers, we would start removing the gross carpet in the basement and upstairs bedrooms, wash all the walls of all the cob webs, spiders, and dust, and take out all the trash and keepsakes that were left behind from the previous owners. Within a week we had filled a 40 yard dumpster full of garbage. After this step was done, we had the mold company come in and dry fog the whole house.  This process gets rid of the mold spores and cleans up the air without having to demo the whole house. The fog gets into all the nooks and crannys behind the drywall and kills the mold.  We had to be out of the house for 7 to 8 hours while they did the fogging, and then had to wait an hour after it was done to come back in.  We were hoping this would get rid of some of the urine smell in the house.  Although it did lessen the smell a bit, it still reeked.



When we went through the house before we bought it there was one thing that stood out more than anything else. THE SMELL! It seemed to be coming from the indoor atrium but we weren’t exactly sure. Once it was ours we were better able to determine where it was coming from, and yes it was from the atrium. It seems that this area was used as an indoor litter box for many years. Luckily it was contained to this one area and luckily it was in the dirt, not in the walls.


We did a lot of research on how to get rid of the urine smell and bought some chemicals to pour over it, but in the end we decided that we needed to dig down two or three feet in the inside atrium (the large cat litter box) and remove the dirt that was soaked in cat urine.  After many hours of digging, many helping hands, and many trips in and out of the house with a wheelbarrow full of dirt, we got rid of the cat urine smell.  It was a miracle! As soon as the dirt was out the smell was instantly gone!



The indoor atrium area is one of my faves. It was one of the key features that drove us to buy this home. However, after the urine smell was successfully removed, we had to decide what to do with the trees inside the atrium. We debated whether we should try to revive them by cutting the foliage off and letting them grow back or start over. We talked to a plant specialist and she said the trees had a disease. There were small white fuzzy pockets all over their leaves. They were slowly dying because they were so tall and the foliage was growing into the sky lights. This caused the leaves to burn and die because it was so hot. We made the bittersweet decision to cut the trees down and start over. It was a sad day but we promise to put trees back in this area as soon as we get things put back together.


At this point our house was looking pretty naked. No gross carpet. No gross dying indoor trees, No smelly dirt, No gross window coverings, and spider webs. Things were being washed and cleaned for the first time in years. Oh and no AC. In the middle of August.

Next week we will be discussing the exterior of the house and the changes we have made there. (We found a hidden patio.) Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the amazing transformation this house is taking.