A Sun Room for Improved Morale
This is what our conservatory looks like, with the adjoining corridor.
While the planning and inception of the conservatory has been gratifying for Xavier, it has been heart breaking to watch my once vibrant husband grapple with the limitations of the heart disease that has left him with slow, measured movements and an even slower speech. He’s fanatic about his exercise regimen; he even ordered a cross trainer that he has ensconced in the conservatory – looks like he plans to spend a lot of time in there, writing to his heart’s content and pottering amongst his ferns and orchids. Not long ago a dynamic, awe-inspiring, larger-than-life criminal lawyer, Xavier seems smaller, subdued; the conservatory has proved to be a brilliantly therapeutic experience, practically giving him a new lease of life, along with a new diet comprising high protein and high fiber! It’s been a change for us all around, what with my abruptly terminated medical practice, dealing with Xavier’s new condition and making the move from New York City – but I can’t say it’s been a bad experience, just different from what we’re used to.
When the conservatory was built, we decided on glass instead of polycarbonate for reasons of energy efficiency and looks – glass will not get scratched and stained like plastic will. Also, the glass we chose for the roof was self-cleaning, so we wouldn’t have to bother cleaning the glazing as frequently as the regular options. And we’d also decided on a sloped roof as we didn’t want any water that was bound to collect within the framework of a flat roof to develop the possibility of a drip. We have a lush tree-growth on our property, and summer has been pleasant so far, but going by the winter of the past two years, all bets are off, and the chill that is bound to penetrate through glass is immense in comparison to brick or concrete or wooden walls. We needed to keep whatever solar gain that’s effected during the day in. We’d already selected the LightWeaves Solar Roller Shades for the knee-walls as a clear view of the exterior was critical for Xavier. And we are extremely happy with this choice, as, on a hot afternoon, the plants were protected, and Xavier didn’t have to wear his glares to ward off the glare and brightness. The plants are lovingly tended and thriving lushly.
Vivienne, our youngest, has been around to spell me with her father’s care. A couple of weeks, and she’ll be gone, back to college, pursuing criminal law, much like her father before her. But she will be far away on the West Coast, at UCLA. I could see the worry in her eyes as she contemplated her departure. But as I assured her, it was best to look into the future and hope for the best. So she spent every possible moment she could with her father, mucking about with the plants, more so the exotic orchids than any other. Now they were bent over the computer, pouring over the various alternatives to cover the sloping glass roof.
Though the SkyTrack Cellular Shades seemed like the logical option to me, as energy efficiency was the primary concern here, both father and daughter thought the motorized skylight shutters were better. Wood was a natural insulator after all, and the vanes of the shutters could be programmed to open when the sun was out during winter, maximizing solar gains and reducing the strain on the HVAC in winter. In summer, they can be left closed all the time during the day, if necessary, and be left open at night when Xavier was in there, scribbling away to his heart’s content, looking to the dappled stars for inspiration. Also, the vanes can be positioned to deflect the sun’s rays back outside while still allowing for muted brightness. And all with the touch of a button. The motor can also be linked to the HVAC to effect efficient cooling or heating depending on the intensity of the sun.
So, it was decided that the Norman PerfectTilt Shutters suited our requirements the best. The PerfectTilt RF motorization system features a remote control that utilizes the latest in radio frequency (RF) technology. The PerfectTilt RF system includes a Manual option that allows shutters to be operated without a remote control, giving more control flexibility, as well as the ability to adjust the shutters by hand in the event of low or dead battery. The unique features of the PerfectTilt RF remote control include:
• Revolutionary radio frequency that transmits up to 65 feet indoors (with obstructions) or up to 130 feet outdoors (unobstructed).
• Completely programmable e-Timer using web interface syncs the shutters to the computer through a USB hook up
• Control panels individually, as well as in groups, or all at once
• Control unlimited number of motors that are in range
Aside from being functionally suitable, these shutters made of wood, not unlike the beautiful masterpieces of the old days that brings to mind the fantasy of ‘Gone with the Wind’, are so skilfully crafted to provide a lifetime of satisfaction and utility. Xavier and Vivienne decided to get the Normandy Shutters painted white to offset the charcoal solar shades and create an illusion of endless space. And now that Zebra blinds so dutifully delivered them in just about two weeks, with installation instructions and components accompanying the shutters in beautifully packaged units, they’ve gone to town programming the shutters, having fun times to store away when the girl leaves. And who am I to rain on their parade? If you can’t beat them, join them, right?