It is not uncommon to experience all four seasons within a single week in some areas of South Africa (yes, Cape Town, I’m talking about you). It is also fair to say that most of our beautiful country experiences pronounced summers and winters.
Our homes, therefore, need to be designed to function well in both hot and cold temperatures. Most importantly, they need to be comfortable despite the season; because, as designer Frank Chimero once said, ‘people ignore design that ignores people’.
From orientation, ventilation, insulation, energy efficiency and layout, to building materials, fixtures and finishes, there is so much that needs to be considered when designing a home. However, high up on this list is the number, position and size of and type of material used for windows and doors. Besides being a home’s access and eyes to the outside world, windows and doors are also responsible for a large percentage of a home’s heat gain and heat loss.
“Creating a living area that can be opened up and integrated with outdoor spaces in summer and closed off to keep out cold weather in winter starts at the front door, literally,” says Karina Palmer, interior designer and marketing director of AMERICAN shutters. “Whether timber or aluminium and glass, it is important to investigate the thermal insulation efficiency of your choice and ensure that it is fitted professionally to ensure no leaks.”
“How you finish your windows and doors is as important. Adjustable louvre shutters allow and direct natural sunlight into the home to let in warmth during cooler months, and they block out sunlight and direct natural ventilation during warmer months to cool the home.”
In addition to controlling the light and warmth let in from the outside, they also help keep warm air inside the home during winter and cool air inside during summer.
When closed, the shutters help to keep the warmth generated by the indoor fireplace inside the home.
The same principles apply throughout the home; while cross ventilation is ideal in high temperatures, allowing in fresh air without creating a draught is preferable when temperatures drop. Providing window and door opening options in a room to facilitate both is first prize.
“We custom-manufacture our shutters to unique specifications, many of which isolate the operation of louvre banks, allowing for a set of louvres in a shutter panel to be separated into different operations,” says Karina. “This allows some louvres to be open and allow in light and ventilation and others to be closed to block the same. This is also a great way to control privacy, especially in bedrooms and bathrooms.”
With so many styles, finishes and customisation options available, shutters are an all-season solution in creating a comfortable home; Winter, spring, summer or fall, shutters look good and feel good in all!