Screen time


Here’s my little job for today–putting the screens in all our downstairs windows. After an uncomfortably hot night last night, we’ve realized we’re overdue for a little natural cooling.

The invention of the millennium.

I was talking about the screen task last week with Bill and Nicole Sherman, whose house in Free Union we’re featuring in the May issue of ABODE. It’s got an unusual number of windows, and it’s designed so that they don’t need to use A/C except on the very hottest days of the year. For them and for us, putting in screens is an annual ritual that marks a change of season. It’s just like firing up the wood boiler in the fall, only it’s a lot less work.

We don’t have A/C at all, so the screens, blinds and a few fans represent the totality of our cooling strategy. It works decently, and encourages a certain rhythm to living that I think of as particularly Southern (or maybe just reptilian): You get stuff done in the morning, lie low during the hot part of the afternon, and rouse yourself again for dinnertime. Shades drawn, sun blazing on the yard outside, 1pm of a July afternoon is a time for resting, reading, or making love to one’s laptop.

I suspect the Shermans, with their very intelligently designed dwelling, don’t feel quite as forced to relax at such times, since their house probably stays much cooler overall. It’s got well-placed overhangs, shade from trees in the right places, and cross-ventilation built right into the form of the house. We should all be so lucky!

Anyone else eschewing A/C? How do you cool without it?