Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020
HomeIf Your Home Could SpeakKeeping the sun out

Keeping the sun out

It was mid-morning, and the middle-aged couple sat down for breakfast for the first time in their brand-new house. The realtor had described how the sun, coming through the large picture window on the east, would brighten up the breakfast nook. Ten minutes later they moved to the dining area. The temperature in the nook was unbearable and the glare of the sun intolerable. What a disappointment! That view of the garden, with the beach beyond, that they thought they would enjoy over breakfast would have to wait until the afternoon.

An hour later there was a knock on the door. A neighbor had come over to welcome them to the neighborhood. When they discovered he was an architect, they decided to ask his advice about the sun problem in the nook.

He had four suggestions.

The first was tinting the glass in the picture window. Pre-tinted glass is available with several options, from the color of the tint, the amount of the sun’s heat it lets through and more. If untinted glass is already installed, the tint can be applied. Because the tinting film is vulnerable to wear and tear, it is often applied on the inside. This means the sun still heats up the glass, which radiates that heat into the interior, making it uncomfortable. In either case, said the architect, tinting would probably not make the nook much more comfortable, although it might affect the colors in the view of the garden. He did not recommend tinting as a long-term solution.

The second option was to install horizontal blinds. They would allow views of the gardens between the blinds while blocking the direct sunlight. Unfortunately, the sun would still hit the glass window, heating it up and transmitting its heat inside, still making the nook uncomfortably hot. Blinds, he said, were not the best solution.

The third option was to install an awning over the picture window. The awning would be as complete a solution as the design of the building would allow. It would block the sun’s direct rays while allowing the view of the garden and keeping the nook cool. The architect was positive about this option, and offered his service if they wished to take that route. But, he said, there was a fourth option.

The fourth option was to plant two shade trees outside the window, their canopies wide enough to block the sun’s direct rays, and high enough to allow good views of the garden. This, he said, was his final and favorite option. It would shade the glass, also keeping the nook cool. It would also be the easiest solution. The couple planted two beautiful lime trees and lived happily ever after.

• Patrick Rahming & Associates is a full-service design firm providing architectural, planning and design services throughout The Bahamas and the northern Caribbean. Visit its website at, design blog at and like its Facebook page. The firm can be contacted by phone at 356-9080 or by email at or The firm’s mission is to help clients turn their design problems into completed projects through a process of guided decision-making, responsible environmental advice and expert project administration.

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