Most people like to do Spring and Summer cleaning. As for me, I am one who does Winter cleaning! The reason for this is, I honestly hate the Summer where I live. The heat is so ridiculous that my heating and cooling system is running twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. This always causes my energy bills to be ridiculously high for nearly 6 months out of the year. My heating and cooling system isn’t very energy saving at all. But, one thing I do as part of my cleaning is the ductwork connected to my HVAC unit. After I start the usual regular house cleaning, I call my friendly local HVAC specialist. The heating and cooling company that I deal with has always been sending the same exact HVAC maintenance worker for the past three years. I’ve actually gotten to know this HVAC repair professional very well. I wouldn’t call him a pal or a friend, because we don’t hang out or anything. But, every year, when it comes time for the Winter ductwork cleaning of my HVAC system, we talk about a lot of things when he’s here working. Usually, we discuss music, movies and the latest in HVAC technology. It was from one of these conversations that I actually decided to get an HVAC upgrade. I had a whole-home humidifier installed as well as an air purification system. My friendly HVAC specialist is very smart in the field. They don’t call him an HVAC professional for nothing! I’m looking forward to doing my yearly ductwork cleaning and hang out and chat session with my HVAC specialist real soon! I’m sure it will be interesting yet again!
A friend of mine recently moved into her very own condo. She was so proud of her new home, and she said she owned it. I don’t get how you can own a condo, when it is basically an apartment. She pays for the condo, and she pays the condo association to live there. I just don’t understand how you can say you own an apartment. I’m not the one living there, she loves it, so I congratulated her. I really was excited for her, and I did want to go see the house. I was walking around and I wasn’t being rude, but I asked if she was going to do any kind of interior design changes. She was angry. She said she loved the design of the house. She told me that it was called Contemporary Condo. I apologized, but I guess, once again, I didn’t get it. I mean, the condo was nice, but Contemporary Condo didn’t look much different than the apartment furnishings I had in my first apartment. That didn’t mean the place wasn’t pretty, because it was really nice. She told me I was snob and I left. I called her a couple days later, and I told her I had a present for her. She told me I could come over, and I had my gift wrapped up. I found throw pillows that were rich with color, and I knew they would go great with the Contemporary Condo she had. (I even have a hard time saying that without laughing.) She loved the pillows, and we both laughed at the design name, and agreed she needed some color.
Building a tiny house was not such a bad idea at the time. I thought it would so cool to live so simply, but I soon found that there was a lot more than just the heating and air conditioning that I had to deal with. Everything I had, needed to be cut down to size. I had a sofa that was a sectional. I had a king-sized bed. I had drapery that was made to fit eight feet of window. I was finding that I had to not just build the house, but find furniture that would suit the space that I had. I had to get creative if I wanted to have any furniture in my home. I had to forget about the glamorous bedroom that I had wanted, and the French Provincial that I had drooled over. I had to go with something more compact. I was looking at magazines that they put out, just for the tiny house dweller, and I came across this new interior design. Whenever I think of dollhouse, I think about the dollhouse that I had when I was a kid. You put the tiny furniture into this small room. I never would have thought that you could get what was called Cozy Dollhouse. Everything is made on a smaller scale. The furniture is dual purpose. I found this great sofa that pulled just folded down into a bed, and it is a real double bed. I am so excited to be living in my new home.
About six years ago, my husband Mark and I built a new home down south. We chose an architectural plan which followed a Southwestern look, incorporating archways, stucco, a tiled roof and an inner courtyard. Mark and I then wanted to continue that same style throughout the interior of the house, but we weren’t sure how to accomplish this. When we looked into southwestern style pieces at local stores, all of the furnishings and accessories looked gaudy and cheap. By the time we called on the custom design specialists from a local furniture shop, we were getting discouraged. We explained that we were hoping bring the vibrant and bright colors of the sky, desert plants and neutral earth tones into the home without looking like the interior of a Mexican restaurant. The design specialists understood our concerns and showed us a wide variety of options for custom furnishings, upholstery, tapestries, carpets, draperies and unique accessories. We really liked the sturdy lines of the couch, chairs, tables and cabinets, which mixed finishes and textiles to express a history and create an eclectic feel. He worked with us to design the complete look of each room of the house and ensure a continuity. Heavy dark woods, metal details, bright accents, and colorful fabrics achieved our vision for the home. Because the custom furniture shop makes everything and handles every detail within an on-site workroom, there was no doubt of the quality of the materials. Mark and I were surprised by how quickly everything came together. Although we certainly paid more by going through a custom furniture shop, the end result is worth it.
My lake house is very small, but it doesn’t bother me to be limited in my space. I live alone, so it is just enough area for me. There is a reasonable amount of storage in the attic anyway, so it’s not that small. It also has attractive up-to-date appliances, including a dishwasher, fridge, and oven. I am even fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer in my lake house, since most people in my town just go to the laundromat. I have grown to particularly like my little place, as I have grown quite comfortable. The only thing I don’t appreciate about my lake house is the ventilation. Oh man, the ventilation is a serious problem in this house! Every single time I use my dryer, my lake house gets so hot that I have to open all the windows. It is practically unbearable! The lake house is poorly ventilated, so there is no where for the hot air to escape. When the dryer is running, the hot air exhausted from the machine escapes and circulates into my small house, which quickly raises the temperature! As you can imagine, my lake house turns into a steam room within half an hour of using the dryer. I turn off the heat and turn the cooling system on whenever I have to do a load. Ridiculous as it sounds, I still will use the dryer heat to warm my house, even though it’s freezing outside. I have also tried to time my laundry around the time that I am leaving my house to head to work in town. Usually, the lake house cools down by the time I return home, but I can’t always count on this option. It has been a struggle to find the best way to time my laundry days. I know it could be worse, and I could have to rely on the laundromat like everyone else, but this is incredibly uncomfortable! I think I’ll start a project to build an addition to the house, and I’ll keep the washer and dryer in there.
After my new home was completed, I had no idea how to decorate it. The idea of choosing carpeting, draperies and furniture was overwhelming. I spent a few days shopping the local furniture stores and wasn’t impressed. The quality was not great, and I doubted these pieces would hold up to wear and tear. Plus, I didn’t feel the various couches, chairs and tables represented the style I wanted. I finally visited a local custom furniture shop, which offered complimentary interior design with a purchase. I was able to consult with a design specialist, who helped me determine and target a specific style for the house. Together, we realized I wanted a contemporary style, which would incorporate modern elements, but hopefully avoid a cold minimalistic feel. I was hoping to create a space that would be sophisticated and simple, yet still comfortable for my family. The design specialists and I focused on clean lines and subtle texture, which would combine color, space and shape to achieve an overall look that is fresh and sleek. Most of the patterns in the fabrics of the carpet, draperies and upholsteries feature geometric shapes, which is a nice backdrop for some bold accessories. Splashes of color, sophisticated furnishings, and some different textures allows the rooms feel wide open and yet welcoming. Because the custom furniture shop handcrafted each piece of furniture, drapery, and throw pillow, every little detail is absolutely perfect. I was able to get specific and unusual sizes for tables, chairs, couches and even dressers and bed frames. I am so impressed with the quality and quick turnaround of the whole project.
My sister works at a big university that has up to five thousand students on campus every day. Imagine trying to keep tabs on five thousand people! The setup of each floor of the school is pretty interesting, given how they cluster all the subjects into the same buildings. Sadly enough, the science-oriented classes are the only ones with air conditioning, since the building was constructed most recently. During the summertime, the science labs are the only comfortable place to be, while the rest of the school is unbearably hot. Her office is in the building dedicated to language arts, so in the summertime she’s often perspiring heavily. It feels as if our school decided to shut off the air conditioning for the entire Summer semester, except we knew the equipment just wasn’t there! The business studies building is the worst, because the building has no windows that can open to let a breeze in! Thankfully, the school president has acknowledged the issue and decided to put on a large fundraiser to fund the installation of air conditioning systems throughout the entire university! This is going to be a hefty financial investment, so she is asking all the people to participate in this fundraiser. Parents, professors, and university alumni are all encouraged to contribute. Hopefully, by next Summer, there will be enough currency between the funds collected and spare money in the budget, and the university will finally install air conditioning throughout the entire campus. This will make the students, professors, and staff much more comfortable, and the performance of all parties will skyrocket! Who knows, maybe this will also lead to some other improvements around campus.
My grandparents always said they lived without A/C and did just fine for themselves. These days, that would be a much more challenging life to lead, especially living in the south. Thanks to A/C, the newer homes here are able to retain their cool interior in the face of rising Summer temperatures. I tend to adjust the control unit to a lower temperature control even when it’s not very hot, just because I prefer being cold. Still, I believe from experience that using the A/C in moderation can help save some cash! Choosing to not use the A/C is also a good way to cut energy costs, as long as the weather permits. Going back to my grandparents, I believe that they lived most of their lives up north, never having an A/C unit in their home. Really, they had a better heating system than some folks have today, as their old home had two fireplaces and an old-fashioned boiler to provide warmth. That old boiler kept them hot and toasty during the harsh Winters! In fact, they hadn’t even heard of air conditioning until they moved down south to be close to their grandkids. When they moved here, my dad had me help out as he tinted the windows in his new home, and checked the windows for air leaks. The cool air from the A/C will go right out through those leaks, and waste all that energy! Those same leaks will allow hot air into the home, forcing the A/C to work harder to cool the home. With added insulation in the attic, the house was sure to retain the cold air much more effectively!
I love to shop for unique and one of a kind items. I rarely go to shopping centers or chain stores to purchase clothes, furniture or accessories. I bought a charming older home last year that already had major restoration work completed. The roof was less than two years old, new hardwood floors had been installed that same year as well as a complete kitchen and bathroom remodel. The garage was closed in and was now additional indoor space. I was walking into a sound investment. Of course, I wanted to add my own personal touch with some cosmetic changes. I planned to use the garage as an art studio. However, the previous owners had not installed a heating and air conditioning system in this area. My best friend owns his own HVAC business and came over to give me some options. His recommendation based on cost, time and effectiveness was a ductless heating and air system. He explained that the ductless air conditioners don’t need the ductwork or much of the electrical work that other forms of air conditioning require. Also, you have less noise as well because the compressor is placed outside. Also the need for an internal evaporator unit with copper tubing to pump refrigerant into the blowers are eliminated with the ductless system. Traditional air conditioning units also require a lot more work to install. The walls would need to be open to install the ductwork inside. The ductless system only needs to be mounted on the wall or hung from the ceiling. With the installation of the ductless heat and air conditioning system, my art studio will be the perfect temperature all year long.
My mom called me the other day, ranting about this report that came out. Supposedly, it was about how Heating and A/C systems spread cigarette smoke with ease, making more people breathe in the smoke than we realize. My mom explained how these smoke particles are present especially in office buildings, which is why she called to “warn” me. Particles are moved around by the Heating as well as A/C systems in these offices, and forced air HVAC systems are the worst offenders. They spread the smoke particles much further than any other heating and A/C system! This smoke, my mom claims, could be around us all the time. “You need to be aware of not only the smoke from tobacco products, but coworkers that take smoke breaks!” She wasn’t wrong, to be honest. Even smoke residue from years passed can still affect your health. Scary, right? There’s not much to do about the Heating and A/C systems found in office buildings, or the smoke breaks taken by millions of people daily, but we can do something about our own Heating and A/C systems! That is the real reason my mom called: to ask for help in having an air purification system installed into her home. To be fair, she’s entitled to a smoke-free environment like the rest of us, so I had the air purification method installed at her home to help address the air quality of her home. Media air cleaners aren’t high-priced, and they help enhance the air quality with efficiency when used alongside a purifier! With better indoor air conditions, my mom can rest comfortably in her home!