English people seem to bear a grudge against the sun for his lack of responsiveness to duty betrayed in his treat-ment of our islands. This is very apparent when the question of sun blinds comes under discussion, and a decided unwillingness is shown to spend much money in this direction. The result, of course, is that when we do have a spell of almost tropical weather it is impossible to enjoy it, because no sort of preparation has been made for it. Thesitting-rooms, with the blinds drawn down to keep out the sun's ray, feel like hothouses; and the bedrooms are so stuffy it is difficult to sleep in them after they have been exposed to the full glare of the sun all day. If, therefore, we wish to make the most of our opportunities of profiting by warm weather we should give our attention to the matter of suitable sun blinds before the arrival of the heat wave, when firms who supply such things are so inundated with orders that they have to take them in rotation.
Important as sun blinds are on the ground of comfort, there is another less obvious reason for their use, and that is the protection they afford to hangings and carpets. The glass of the window concentrates the heat in the curtains, and not only fades, but rots the material. Sun blinds, therefore, here serve an economical purpose. In carpets, also, which are one of the most expensive items in furnishing, a saving is effected by preserving them from the sun.
This is fixed on to a roller at the top just like an ordinary blind, and works with an automatic spring. Low down at either side of the window is a projecting hook, and the blind is pulled down by the cord fixed to the centre of it, and fastened on to these hooks. This means, of course, that when the blind is not in use the string hangs down the centre of the window, to which some people take objection. They even go so far as to have the string taken off, and use a long-arm for catching on to a loop for pulling the blind down instead, but this is a very unsatisfactory arrangement. If the central string is considered a serious detriment, it is better to have another type of blind altogether, such as the Canaletta.
This blind works on quite a different principle, and is very much easier to adjust. The iron bar at the base, to weight it and hold it in place, is in one piece, and runs on sliding irons at the sides of the window, so that the whole thing pulls up together. It is a little more expensive than the ordinary pattern of blind, but is worth its cost: first, because it is so little trouble; and next, because it wears better, as it is not apt to be so much knocked about as the other, owing to the difficulty in fixing it. The difference in price in an average-sized window would probably be about 10s., as a box - head spring roller blind would cost, approximately, 25s., and a Canaletta 35s. The prices of blinds are always reckoned at so much a square foot, and vary therefore according to the size of the window.
The kind of blind required is regulated, to a certain extent, by the direction in which the house faces. If any
The Canaletta sun blind, which wears well and is but little trouble to fix
The box-head spring roller blind. This is the most inexpensive form of sun blind. It is fixed on to a roller at the top and works with an automatic spring
The Helioscene sun blind ensures light and ventilation without obstructing the view from the window windows have an outlook towards the southwest, for instance, they will get a large amount of slanting sunshine, which passes under blinds of either of the foregoing types. Here a Florentine blind, which has side gussets, is required. This gives complete protection from the sun with ample ventilation, and is an ideal blind, though much more expensive than either of the others mentioned. For the same sized window as the prices quoted refer to, it would cost about 50s.
Any of these blinds, of course, cover the entire window; but there is another make, the Spanish blind, which can be raised or lowered at will, so that only a part of the window is shaded. This is very pleasant where it is desired to look upon the garden or road. As this blind is more complicated in its mechanism it is rather more costly than the Florentine type of blind.
There is yet another blind, however, which gives an unobstructed view, with complete protection from the sun's rays and free ventilation, namely, the Helioscene sun blind. This, in fact, ensures more light and ventilation than any other form of blind, but the cost, reckoned on the basis of the blinds quoted above, would be about £3 10s.
In the round-headed windows sometimes found in country houses Oriental sun blinds, working on the same principle as the Florentine, are used.some people object to linen blinds of any kind, as giving an untidy look to a house; but all depends on the way in which they are kept. They should, for instance, always be properly pulled up so that they do not appear unevenly under the box - head. They should be kept clean also. Should they get wet at any time, they ought always to be left out until dry again, for if drawn up while still damp the material is apt to rot.
The Spanish sun blind can be raised or lowered at will, so that only part of the window is shaded is in one respect preferable, as it gives a cooler effect inside the room, and although it is a colour that fades, it does so all over alike, so that the defect is not noticeable.
Linen sun blinds must always be drawn up in a wind, especially if they are rather old, as otherwise they are liable to get broken. For this reason they are not suitable for use in the country, or on high or exposed ground. Here the only practical solution of the problem is the jalousie, or shutter-blind. These blinds, while more costly in the first instance, are really a good investment, as they last for years, though they need repainting from time to time. They give ample ventilation and light inside, and add to the picturesqueness of the house outside.
Outside Venetian blinds are inexpensive, and very efficient. It was for outside blinds, indeed, that they originally came into being. They have the disadvantage of taking up a considerable amount of room when drawn up, of being apt to curtail the
For round'headed window.; the Oriental sun blind is best.
This blind works on the same principle as the Florentine blind window, as wellas look rather ugly from inside the room.
The casement windows, so beloved of architects, present a difficulty from the sun blind point of view, as none of the ordinary blinds are adapted to them. In order to obtain a greater throw-out, they have to have blinds specially made, that resemble shop-blinds, which are fixed into the wall above the window. Then, on account of the throw-out, they must be considerably wider than the window, and project at least six inches beyond it on either side. This means more material, and adds considerably to the price.
Sun blinds are tenants' fixtures; indeed, they are always taken down for the winter. At the same time, it is wiser when moving not to take them away, as it costs as much to alter them to fit other windows as it does to buy new ones, so that it is advisable to sell them for anything that they will fetch to the incoming tenant.
Jalousies, or outside shutters, are most suitable for houses in the country, or on high or exposed ground. They last well and are a picturesque addition to the outside of a house
Venetian blinds were originally intended for outside use.
They are inexpensive but not ornamental, and take up a considerable amount of room when drawn up