THE last days of summer are generally a good time to take stock of the minor adjustments which will be necessary about the house before winter sets in. We have, besides, most probably returned from our holiday full of ideas for small improvements, and it is best to put them into execution before enthusiasm wanes.
Winter Curtains and Covers
WINTER curtains and covers are probably the biggest problem to tackle. One mentions covers purposely, for they are just as necessary in winter to protect the upholstery from smoke.
Slightly glazed chintz is a good choice, as the shiny surface does not encourage dust, and the covers will go right through the winter without getting a draggled and limp appearance.
When choosing the material for winter curtains one also needs to consider substance and select a fabric not necessarily thick, but one with a close, even weave which will keep out draughts and with enough solidity to make the curtains hang well.
Silk and Cotton Mixture
MIXTURES of artificial silk and cotton, pure artificial silk, and the heavier linens and linen and cotton fabrics, all fulfil these conditions.
There are several colour combinations, but one suitable! For winter and adaptable to many schemes is an alliance of rust,
Putty, silver-grey and brown. The design is a modern geometrical one.
Damasks have been somewhat neglected of late years, but one can think of no better winter curtain material for rooms furnished in Georgian style, especially as the new fabrics are moderately priced and rich in appearance.
Such things as blankets and cider-over, and blankets which have worn thin through washing relegated to the function of under-blankets.
There is also a new and hygienic bed-covering something half-way between a blanket and a quilt, which is called the Quillettc.
The underside is a smooth woven surface, ideal for ventilation, and the right sidt is of fleecy wool.
It can be bought in several sizes and in various pastel colours, and could quite well take the place of a down quilt – at any rate on the childrens beds.
KEEPING A HOUSE COOL IN THE HEIGHT OF SUMMER
One would not think of dressing in heavy winter clothes in a heat wave.
A house should have summer clothes, so that it is an oasis of coolness on the hottest day.
EIGHTY in the shade! Most people look forward to enjoying at least one or two days at this temperature in the summer; and yet, when it comes, few seem to enjoy a spell of hot weather as much a they might.
Instead, they relax limply into chairs, complain of the stuffiness of the rooms, feverishly open windows to let in what due to the fact that we do not as a rule prepare our houses for the summer, and so when a heat wave comes we are taken unawares.
So with your carpets, for instance. They of light, but not the direct rays of the sun. And where striped materials are chosen, green and cream will be found more restful to the eyes than scarlet.
When ordering the sunblinds, do not forget a blind or curtain for the front door as well, otherwise you may find that the best varnish is inclined to crack and blister during exceptionally hot weather. An occasional rub with linseed oil is a good safeguard against blistering and is also a preservative.
The air inside the house can be kept cir-culating. And remains cool and fresh if all inside doors are left open and an electric fan run for a few minutes in each room at intervals during the day.
Have probably been taken up to be cleaned in any case, so why not let them stay rolled up, and if the floors do not happen to be parquet or linoleum covered, stain and polish them for the summer. The carpets will have a much-needed rest, and will look fresher when they are put down again for the winter.
There is, too, one other point in favour of staining; good stain helps to preserve the wood, and the floor gets a chance to breathe, rather a factor in the prevention of dry rot.
Also put away heavy pictures and any unneces-sary ornaments during the heat. Bare or nearly bare walls convey an atmosphere of coolness.
Taking a lesson from the southern races again, have you noticed that in an Italian or Spanish house the windows are always shut and the blinds down during the heat of the day ? We are usua 1 ly inclined to throw the win dows open, thinking We are admitting a breeze, whereas we are actually letting in sun-scorched air to make the house stuffy.
The time to open the windows is at night and in the early morning. Im-mediately the sun begins to make itself felt they should be closed and the sunblinds lowered.
Sunblinds are essential, as much to protect the outside paintwork as to keep out the sun. Among the cheapest are those green grass blinds called pinoleum, which are the minimum trouble to fix, and the green casts a cool and restful glow into the room.
Among the linen blinds those of the Spanish type, which are made of a succession of hoods placed one above theother, are best.
An electric fan combined with an air-purifier is a most useful possession for use in the winter as well as in the summer. It is an oxidized copper or silver fitting to hang from the ceiling. Vitiated air is drawn through a grille and passes through a wet filter cloth, to emerge, washed and humidified, at the top.
The question of this moistness is rather an important one, for in winter the use of the appliance will counteract the dryness of air which is often inseparable from central heating. The water in the base of the fan can also be mixed with mild scented disinfectant to kill air-borne germs. Where space is limited, the fan can be combined with a light fitting.
Coming back to furnishing for a moment, you probably have light cane chairs for the garden or the loggia; but have you considered what delightful summer furniture they make for the house itself ? The newest cane chairs are coloured, and have sprung seat cushions, so that they are just as com-fortable as upholstered chairs.
Growing things about the house also help to achieve at least an appearance of coolness. If we have flowers around us during the winter to help us to forget the fog and rain, they have just as good a psychological effect in the summer.
Lupins and delphiniums, by the way, are apt to fall and be rather messy, but they can be discouraged from dropping if stou add a teaspoonful of salt to the water. This, in-cidentally, makes all cut flowers last longer in water. The stems should be slit and a little cut off them each day as a matter of routine.
Hot weather comfort depends to a large extent on adjusting your daily programme to conditions. If most of the household tasks demanding energy are got through before ten in the morning, you can rest during the hotter part of the day. The southern custom of a siesta in the afternoon is one worth copying, for it restores your energies, and you emerge fresh to enjoy the cool of the evening.