We’re in the prime of sunshine. While one swelters and scorch under the summer glare, think about the home. The home that shelters you feels the heat prima facie. It burns; it is dehydrated and parched as it shelters its occupants. To be at ease indoors; the outdoors must be duly addressed. We share ideas; some traditional and some modern that keeps the home from losing its cool!
Take the example of Rajasthan. A dry arid desert; it boasted of little beauty or climatic affability. But architecture rendered it the global tourist’s paradise. If a fiery terrain as Rajasthan can be tamed into compliance, one can surely borrow some pointers for the home. An obvious cue is its ‘jaali’ or lattice work. Lattice work splinters direct glare into many smaller offshoots.
If the home is in an independent like a bungalow, a ‘jaali’ can save you from many a heatstroke. But if it is a co-operative housing society building where you reside, options are limited. But again borrowing from Rajasthan, deploy water bodies near windows, balconies and other openings. The water evaporates and brings down ambient temperatures. Breeze skims the surface of water and cools the air. Ponds and water fountains were regularly constructed around palaces to cool the air.
Small Water Bodies:
At home one could fill ‘urlis’ with water and place them on the windows. Centre-tables can hold them and entrance doors can make do with a little decoration in the form of a bowl with water and some flowers! Ensure that the water containers are flat plate-like utensils and that the water surface area that is exposed to air is paramount. If you are amidst the lucky patrons who own balconies, you could maximise the space by placing a container of water and some planters. Balconies are buffers between outdoors and indoors. They are transition spaces that protect the main building structure from not just direct glare in summers, but also rains and cold winters in the said seasons.
Maximise The Balconies:
The first error with balcony decor is that occupants try to recreate home decor in balconies. The balconies are semi-open pockets. The in-between space calls for furniture and decor that is slightly hardy akin the outdoors but with the domestic appeal of indoors. Use bamboo and cane that’s treated to be resilient to the rains and sun. The balcony periphery should be outlined with mid-height planters; the ones that grow till one meter and offset them with smaller potted plants. This arrangement will filter the air that enters your home. The smaller planters add texture and contrast.
Another important entity is drape selection. Windows are the second transition that lets in light and air. Once the warm air is filtered and cooled by the water bodies and planters, the windows can add another buffer and bring down temperatures. While summers may tempt you to buy heavy and dark shades to keep the sun out, remember that the same drapes is highly susceptible to fungus and mould in the rains. Aesthetically, the home shall appear drab and dull during monsoons.
Choose Drapes And Curtains Wisely:
Pick a lighter shade drape; whites, off-whites and pastel colours. Layer them with sheer and blackout blinds. Thus you can control the intensity of light and glare during summers. The other crucial element that determines internal temperature is walls.
Treat The Walls:
Reverting back to regional inspirations, walls in hot regions had specific construction techniques and materials. Stone is a popular choice of cladding in hot regions. So if your home lies in tropical areas of the county, stone is a good option. Or add a coat of white or off-white paint. Summers are also the perfect time to get your water-proofing done Wood is another material that effectively keeps the heat out! In Kerala, entire homes were constructed in wood. This kept homes well insulated during extreme weathers. The same cannot be deployed in urban construction. But wood can be incorporated in place of glass and steel furniture.
The simplest of overhauls, upholstery can easily ace the harsh suns! Light colours, floral patterns and cottons are best suited for the summers.
If cottons feel mainstream to the home, try faux leather in nude colours. It combines the elegance and luxury of leather but underplays the warmth that traditional dark leather exudes.
We like the thin fabric and sleek form for summers as opposed to bulky furniture that is associated with leather. Think fresh, think vibrant and think cool. Three things that summarise summer homes!