The first night of any place new to you can be a little scary, especially if that place is 180 years old and is over 5,000 square feet. My strategy was simple, make it through the night with as few “encounters” as possible.
This house has lots of rooms and a lot of history. We believe we are the 10th owners of the property, which range from Senators to mill owners and affluent families in between. Who knows what’s lurking in the night?
Having owned other historical properties, I have developed a strategy over the years, and I take precautionary steps to avoid as many “bumps in the night” as possible.
Step 1: Squeaking doors
You’ve all seen it in the movies, someone is in bed and they hear a creaking door. Well, not this guy.
I WD-40’d every door hinge in the house. I got myself a handy dandy large WD-40 can with the built-in straw and walked around the entire house eliminating every door creak that existed. Super easy to do. I could almost hear the heavy sighing as I was doing it.
Step 2: Squeaking floors
Ok, I know all of you are thinking it…”Sure, you fixed the squeaking doors but what about squeaking floors?” I have a big tip for all of you that works great. Find the floor squeak and brush in some baby powder. It acts as a lubricant between the boards as well as board movements on nails. Works like a charm!
Step 3: Lighting
The rooms are big and dark. I didn’t need any dark shadows hiding in the corners, so I grabbed 2 boxes of 6 LED puck lights. They are only about 2 inches in diameter and did a great job!
Step 4: Traditional Safety
NEVER stay in a place that doesn’t have working smoke and CO detectors. I like the smoke detectors that last 10 years without battery replacement. They are nice and small. To install them in this house, I simply used heavy duty double-sided adhesive strips. This allowed installation without drilling holes in the plaster. For CO detectors, I like the plug in ones with battery backup. And finally, of course, new locks and deadbolts always provide calmness.
Step 5: The dog
Dogs have a keen sense of awareness and will often pick up on things you aren’t aware of. I brought my dog and she slept between me and the door and was in charge of the night. Of course, she fell asleep well before I did. The good news is, there was no growling in the middle of the night.
In conclusion, my 5 step program got me through night #1, which is always the scariest. There were no creaks and no knocks on the bedroom door. The dog remained calm and survived as well. Each subsequent night got easier.
Now, well rested, I can get some work done.