Finishing Touches, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top

I never have enough excuses to share my photos from Home Tours, so I’m happy to post some of these finishing touches for the Cherry on Top theme: “a little enhancement that makes a good thing better.”

On the Modern Atlanta Homes tour, some style their homes with striking vignettes or floral arrangements. Here are some from last year’s tour…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - floral

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - floral

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015

Some have quirky touches in the kids’ rooms …

O for Octopus at the Modern Atlanta homes tour

O is for Octopus alphabet wall decal, and watch out, here comes a matching 3D octo-window…

Modern Atlanta homes tour 2014

Some have one touch of vintage to set off a spare ultra-modern interior…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015 - vintage typewriter

Vintage typewriter and…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015 Phone Booth

How would you like to have your own phone booth? (Could this be Clark Kent’s house?)

Meanwhile, the cherry-on-top for me this week was taking an afternoon for serious paper-decluttering. Think four bags shredded plus two large trash-bags ready for the recycle bin. The end may not be near, but it’s nearer.

What made your good week even better?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top


Buying a New Air Conditioner, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

I usually spend so much time snarled in the details of decision-making that it takes months to decide on a major purchase, but this time I had to be quick. On July 4 weekend, one of the hottest of the summer, my upstairs air conditioner uttered a mighty “thunk” and died.

Death was not entirely unexpected (but timing could definitely have been better). The old furnace and a/c were original to the house, which made them 37 years old. I’m surprised they made it this long, but a good maintenance plan helped.

Old AC-Furnace unit lurks in the attic

Here’s part of the old unit, lurking in the attic, disconnected and ready to leave.

I’d been hoping they’d last until I’m ready to move out. They were so large that I couldn’t imagine how they’d get them out of the attic, but as Sam would say, “these guys are trained professionals.” It all came down in pieces.

Furnace and A/C pieces are down

Old Furnace and AC unit come down the attic stair

Later I saw this part out in the driveway – I think it looks like a robot heart. See the aorta? But then, I’ve been watching The Iron Giant and Big Hero Six, so everything looks like a giant-robot-part to me.

Ductwork looks like a Robot Heart

I’m lucky the house has zoned systems, so the unit downstairs still worked. I moved downstairs and slept on the couch for two weeks until the new one was installed.

The old upstairs unit was noisy and friendly. I would hear it think about coming on, clink and groan a little, then run through it’s cycle. The new one is distant and serene, whisper quiet, and a little like the ambient hum of the Starship Enterprise. On the bright side, I no longer need to get a Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine (“Effective as a Vulcan nerve pinch”).

New attic furnace and air conditioner 'system'

Here it sits, crouching in the attic amid that muscular and shiny ductwork. Now I get to feel virtuous about its energy-efficiency.

 At least when it comes time to sell the house, it’ll be a desirable detail on the list of upgrades. Meanwhile, I can move back upstairs and sleep in a bed, lulled to sleep by the ambient hum of… oh dear, could there be a warp engine in my attic?

Oh yes, and the new system is smart. It emails me acknowledgement when I change the settings on the thermostat. It wants to talk to my phone, but I haven’t let the phone know that yet.

What does your A/C sound like? And, do you let it talk to your phone?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

And, after some investigation on Youtube (where you can download hours of the sound) here’s the Enterprise…


Battlestar Galactica’s Cylon Base Stars are noisier, but you can get that sound too.


Before and After in the Laundry Room, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites

Am I late posting the photo challenge Opposite? Yes, but life is hectic. Maybe it’s time to call yet another opposite and blog about this small project instead of the big one I’m working on now.

Here’s my laundry room in the throes of change:

Laundry Room during paint job

My new appliances are covered while the old rest-of-the-room gets an update. I used this as a warm-up project – getting ready for the big one – a bathroom remodel.

Here’s my “before” photo with the old washer and dryer, bought when we moved here in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately there’s no angle without the ceiling light glare on the cabinets.

Laundry room "before"

Let me guess, you’re wondering “blue paint, what was she thinking?”

All the cabinets in this house are dark.  I had these painted as a test. If they hold up well, I’ll know I can have the kitchen cabinets painted.

The first step was getting a new washer and dryer (thank you Georgia, for a tax-free weekend for energy efficient appliances). The old ones were thunking and groaning their way to end-of-life.

Laundry room project "during"

New appliances, old cabinets ready for their update.

I like the top-loading washer with a glass lid because I can look in to see what’s really happening. For example, is it using more than 2 cups of water? (usually not – we’re talking mega-water-saver here) The only problem is, the new smart appliances are smarter than I am. If they have a problem, they don’t even talk to me about it – they tell my phone. On the bright side, they do play happy little tunes to say they’re finished with their cycle and, presumably, were glad to serve me.

Here’s my “after” photo — with a finished paint job, plus new molding and new cabinet hardware. And, goodbye blue, hello neutral walls. Another plus, the walls are the same as the adjacent breakfast room, so there’s consistency, not to mention fewer paint cans to store.

Laundry room "after"

Lest you think the outside of the cabinets looks a little blah — in the interest of opposites, there’s still an explosion of color inside the cabinets.

Clean hoarding: Laundry cabinets insideI feel the need to apologize for having all these plastic containers, especially in the midst of Plastic-Free July, but I’m still using up the hoarded cleaning supplies from a decade ago (previous post on clean hoarding).

Before and after, old v. new, inside v. outside, neutrals v. color, it’s still just a laundry room, but it does feel newer and cleaner, and gives me a sense of progress.

How about it – am I alone on this, or are your appliances smarter than you are?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites