Something new under the Sun

So far we’ve discussed 4 of the 5 Elements to consider when living or building a home near the coast – bright sunrises or sunsets, varying winds, salty air, nearness to the water and sand. The last of the 5 Elements covers how to deal, manipulate, or live in a home that is challenged with a lack of shade or too much sun.

We all love the sun, talk about vacations in the sun, or wish there were more sun. But, in reality too much of a good thing is – you guessed it, not a good thing.

As the song by Pete Seeger goes, “To everything there is a season….” If you live near the coast, one of the reasons you chose a coastal life was the idea of the perfect summer season. You see yourself just “sitting back and enjoying the sun, sand and surf.”

But, once again the actuality of too much sun will keep you from living your dream life. Besides aging your skin, too much sun will also fade your home’s floor and furnishings. Too much sun, will change your ‘Barefoot Contessa’ style outdoor parties into a meltdown for family and guests both inside and outside your home.

But there is a better way to solve this dilemma than the following scenarios:

  • Talk about having a party this season (but actually skip entertaining completely)
  • Reconcile yourself that your family and guests will spend most of the time inside the house versus enjoying your ‘coastal getaway’ on your deck or patio
  • Handing out tubes of sunscreen to every guest that arrives and then hope they don’t sit on your upholstered furniture with all that good but greasy lotion

The answer: One of the long standing solutions for shading your space is, you guessed it – a pergola.

If you long for a traditional look, you may consider adding a pergola as shown below to your list for your architect or builder. Pergolas can be ‘stick’ built, or purchased as a kit and are made of wood or other composite material.

Photo courtesy of Founterior 

Another option in the world of pergolas you might check out is a company I discovered at the CMI interiors booth an ASID trade show. This new product is the real deal when it comes to state-of-the-art pergolas. At the trade show CMI shared the excitement about a company they represent called Renson. whose trademark is “creating healthy spaces.” Renson has something for everyone when it comes to shading systems both traditional and contemporary.

Renson’s assortment of pergola structures include “various installation methods such as free standing with 4 columns or fitted to an existing wall with 1 or 2 columns.” They are made to withstand the elements and are maintenance free, can be built with lighting, sound and side shades, etc. What more could you want?

Is the ‘fabric’ of your life fading? 

Ok, so now you have your outdoor challenge met with a pergola. But wait, there is one more thing to consider (that you will thank me for endlessly if you listen to my advice).That one thing is the use of ‘performance fabrics’ for seating not only on your patio furniture, but as important on your sofas and chairs.

Yes, I know your windows are expected to provide some protection from UV rays. And,  Anderson has the Smart Sun Glass option for UV protection. So, I would start there first when building a new home or replacing windows.

Yet, I’ve seen wood floors and fabrics fade in rooms that were not exposed to sun throughout the day. The homes had UV windows (maybe not Anderson) and still after a number of years, the sun did its damage.

So to prevent damage to the inside of your home, do what I do more and more these days – use ‘performance fabrics.’ Besides preventing premature fading, performance fabrics resist many problems such as “…pilling, staining or fading” as reported in Bella-Dura’s line of performance fabrics. They may also be bleach cleanable, anti-microbial, and warrantied. In addition, they get my vote because they are made in the USA and distributed by some of my favorite fabric companies such as Kravet, Robert Allen and Duralee.

Now that we’ve got your challenges with too much sun, we can all take a break and enjoy our coastal homes. But if you’re in the process of planning a new home, make sure to hire the best architect and builder. They will ensure your home has everything you need to enjoy coastal living for years to come.

Speaking of architects – my next blog will reveal what’s new and exciting in coastal architecture. I can’t wait to share some of their amazing work as well.