There’s something to be said about once in a lifetime events.
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”
– Thomas Merton
The world was all agog to watch the Solar Eclipse that swept across the Atlantic Ocean, with the moon set to block out the sun, few days back, March 20th! Thousands of sky gazers on remote islands got to watch the phenomenon while millions in other parts of the world got to see the partial eclipse. Hotels in Svalbard, Norway were booked years in advance in anticipation of this celestial extravaganza! In the meanwhile, eye specialists warned selfie-takers of the danger the eclipse posed to them; even though the sun was in eclipse, its radiation could still burn the retina with the risk of permanent damage and even blindness. Ditto those who gazed directly at the sun through sunglasses, binoculars, and cameras. Blessed were those who remained within the confines of their homes and watched the spectacle from behind the solar shades that screened their windows!
The other event that captured my imagination was when the newspapers screamed headlines about the purchase of the multimillion dollar estate that once belonged to the quintessential romantic movie mogul, Howard Hughes, of the Scarface fame. “As romantic legends go, it’s a good one. The scene is a big, rambling, hacienda-style house under construction directly across from the ninth green of Los Angeles’s Wilshire Country Club. Suddenly, the scene is interrupted by a flashy red sports car barreling down the entrance drive and crashing into the ornate wooden gates leading to the motor court. As stunned construction workers look on, a tall, darkly handsome young man, not more than a teenager really, leaps out and declares he must have the house and will buy it ‘at any price’.” – Steve Vaught, Architectural Digest. Designed by the socialite architect, Roland Coate in the 1920’s, the Spanish Colonial Hacienda was bought over by Ash and Niroupa Shah not too long ago. The couple, parents of 4 children, decided they needed the 9000-sqft dwelling to raise their kids in and to entertain lavishly. Though they had to make extensive renovations to revamp its outdated, chopped up floor plan, today that figure it was all worth it for this once in a lifetime experience! Located in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, this hacienda is a treasured local landmark, reminiscent of the creative genius of Hell’s Angels and the daring, heroic aviator.
Ash and Niroupa didn’t care about retaining the traditional feel to the place. Instead, they transformed the house with their eclectic tastes, which included converting the pool room into a 70’s-style plywood rec room; the wood-paneled study was redone in black lacquer; the adjoining living room was the most interesting, in terms of contrasts – in keeping with their passion for mid-century elements, the living room showcases a pair of Kaare Klint Safari chairs, customized Edward Wormley leather gondola sofas, a Maison Charles glass-and-brass coffee table, all chosen to keep the place child friendly. And for lighting, they chose to adorn all common areas with ceramic pendant lamps in various colors and sizes, their wires suspended from the center of the beamed ceiling to radiate to all the sides!
All this got me thinking about how they covered their window spaces – I could see from the pictures that they’d used Flat Roman Shades that fitted into their comfortable but modern interiors pretty well. And the windows also had exterior shutters bracketing them… this got me wondering if the shutters were installed to offset the Spanish architecture or for functionality. The structure sported a cantilevered balcony running along the length of its central mass, and enough sun shading all around, and I’m thinking that the structure can benefit from the exterior solar shades rather than shutters during sunny weather. Solar shades are designed to cut down on solar gain while letting visible light through for bright interiors and a terrific view of the outside.
Combination of Roman Shades with Exterior Solar Shades
With the Roman shades raised completely during the day, if they were to use the 5% charcoal exterior shades, they’d have a great view of the golf course, and since one sees bright areas better from darker areas, they’d have complete privacy inside, during the day. Not least of the benefits would be to protect all the lovingly collected and preserved wooden flooring, wooden furniture, and leather sofas. They could also have them installed around the courtyard and the pool so the kids could play outside during the summer without being scorched by the sun! The Roman shades could be lowered at night for privacy when the rooms are illuminated. The indoor air quality would also be vastly improved as the exterior solar shades from Graber are GreenGuard and Microban certified. The AC’s wouldn’t have to be blasting cold air all the time as the shades would effectively cut down on solar gain so energy efficiency of the house would improve by at least 30%.
Yeah, the 5% Exterior Roller Shades from Graber would be a fantastic addition to this impressive abode, making it energy efficient, and at the same time, blending seamlessly with the exteriors! And have no care about sun-induced skin trauma. Not a bad investment for a once in a lifetime event!