Smoke House

As a former smoker some many years ago, I understand ‘the want’.  No matter how much my mother berated me about my habit, I didn’t want to quit until “I” wanted to quit. In fact, her nagging probably added another year of me smoking. “I’ll show her...”, I thought. Yes, I know, I was only hurting myself.  But, you don’t know my mother.  :)

Ok, bottom line, potential buyers who visit your home and smell smoke will be immediately turned off.  Right up there with cat urine (ok, dogs pee too, I get it), smoke is a huge turn off to buyers.  What’s a smoking seller to do?  

First of all, try and smoke outside or on screened porch. Keep the ashtray outside, too.  Even though you may only smoke in one room inside your house, smoke travels through the ventilation system and permeates every room.  Rid the home of odor.  How?  PLEASE don’t think that perfumey plug ins, candles and room deodorizer alone will do the trick. Smoke smell alone is bad to a potential buyer but smoke smell and perfuney spray cover up combo is worse.

If you are a smoker who just purchased a home that was formerly non-smoking, be intentional about having a smoking area outside (garage doesn’t count, unless garage door is open).  Start using the outside area or ‘designated smoking area’, right off the bat. If you are a smoker in a smoker’s house and really want to try and get rid of most (notice I said most, as it’s next to impossible to get all the smoke odor out) of the smoke odor, the first thing you must do is STOP all smoking in the house.  Have all carpeting cleaned or if the odor is so imbedded that cleaning won’t rid the odor, then rip out and throw away all carpeting, wall to wall and rugs.  Replace with new carpeting or install another type of flooring such as hardwood.  

Window treatments – take them down, you can try to wash them and put back up but…?  Even wood blinds have fabric cords on them.  The smoke smell is in the fabric there and everywhere.  Ventilate the house.  Open windows (unless is a wicked hot humid day, that only enhances odors), turn on ceiling fans (wipe them all down first with a deodorizing solution of some kind). Wash all bedding and sheets, including the clean ones in the linen closet.  Prior to your decision to smoke outside, these linens have be sopping up the smoke smell all along the way.  Repaint surfaces, if possible. A matte finish polyurethane sealant will provide good odor protection without altering the sheen of the newly repainted wall.  If you’re not going to paint, at least wash down the walls with a mild soap solution and be sure to rinse thoroughly.  

Have all of your upholstery cleaned by a professional. See, it’s a big job ridding a house of smoke.  Perhaps a fireman would have good ideas on removing smoke odor. The list can go on and on… oh yeah, replace your furnace filter, as well.  See what I mean? I think the list could be never ending.  Take it outside people. It could mean more money in your pocket when you go to sell your house.

Flooring Wars

First of all, please remove all wall to wall carpet in the bathroom. Carpet in the bathroom is a big NO-NO.  If you are soon to be putting your home on the market, get that out of there before your home hits the market!  What to replace it with?  Tile.

Hardwood Floors: Beautiful & easy to clean. Downfall: can show scratches

Slate Floors: Downfall: hard to clean due to uneven surface; Slate is porous so perhaps not such a good idea for shower or bathroom areas unless a waterproof membrane should be used if installing slate in wet areas.  

Laminate:  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a real wood floor and a laminate looking wood floor these days.  Laminate flooring is very durable and usually water resistant. Downfall: buyers generally prefer real hardwood over a fake look alike.

Carpet:  Yes, in the appropriate places like the bedroom, the recreation room or lower level family room.  Downfall: hard to clean carpet stains like wine; and carpet can retains pet and other odors.

Linoleum: Made mostly of linseed oil and other natural materials. Often considered the ‘Old School’ style flooring as it has been around for 150 years or so.  Downfall:  linoleum is susceptible to moisture damage, and has to be treated with a surface sealer after installation and need to be protected against water penetration.  Linoleum is often looked down upon as a ‘less expensive/cheaper’ choice of flooring, especially to upper bracket home buyers.

Vinyl Flooring: Unlike linoleum flooring, Vinyl is a man-made manufactured product. Vinyl is durable and waterproof, and as such doesn’t require periodic sealing or waxing. Downfall: just like linoleum, vinyl can be stereotyped at the ‘less expensive/cheap’ choice to a buyer.

Stamped Concrete: Very hip.  Great for a lanai or perhaps a funky lower level finished area. The concrete can be stained to almost any color.

Tile:  There is tile out there that looks like wood floors.  Really. You (I had to) kneel down and tap on the material and I still couldn’t believe that it was tile that looked like hardwood floors.  This flooring is becoming quite popular.

Award Winning Chili Recipe

Here is my Award Winning Chili Recipe, Lettiann's Chili, from Tastebud Magazine, March 2008.  Best Overall Chili winner.  Enjoy!

Lettiann's Award-winning Chili

Make a batch and invite some friends over.


1 pound ground turkey breast

1 pound Italian sausage, loose

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 - 28ox. can crushed Italian tomatoes

1 - 15oz. can tomato sauce

1 - 6oz. can tomato paste

3 - 15oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup water

1 jar Heinz chili sauce

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. sugar


Brown turkey and sausage. Add chopped onion, green pepper and garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water. Stir to incorporate. Add spices and add chili sauce. Cook over low heat, covered, about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Drain and rinse kidney beans. Add beans and sugar to chili. Enjoy.

Makes a big batch. Leftovers? Freeze 'em.

Serves 8-10.

Introduction To our Homes That Cook Blog

My first book under my belt, Homes That Cook. Not only does it give me the warm fuzzes to share with readers about my love for food and family, it also enables me to talk about tips for buying, selling and creating a Home That Cooks.  I have included many of my recipes, my family recipes and recipes from others that have been shared with me along the way.  

We all have had favorite foods and dishes prepared by members of our family that we have enjoyed for many years.  I encourage you to collect those family recipes and continue those family traditions so that they can be enjoyed and passed on from generation to generation.
Our Homes That Cook blog will encompass home buying and selling advice, cooking tips, recipes, remodeling stories, decorating ideas, investment property dialogue and anything else that is fun to do with and your home. New posts every Monday.

Will it be humorous?  I hope so.  Will it be edgy?  Likely so.  Will it be entertaining? You tell me.  Will you learn something?  Yes.  Will I learn something? You bet.  Will we have fun?  YES!  Would I like your feedback, input and questions?  Yes, please.