I actually took my camera out on the walk with Tasha yesterday afternoon. And this morning I've been going through the photos I took (nearly 75 of them) and "processing" them. The light level is low late in the afternoon these days, as I've said, but the photos came out better than I expected them to. They'll remind you what the environment around Saint-Aignan looks like.
What motivated me was taking photos of our new garage door and the new solar-powered shutters on our back windows. You might already have seen some photos that Walt posted, but here are mine. The one above is the front of our house, which faces east. The old garage door was a dark brown door with four vertical panels that had to be opened by hand. The new one is a sectional, automated door controlled by what we used to call "genies" — remote controls, télécommandes — that we keep in our cars. Here's what the front of the house used to look like.
Above is a photo of the back of the house. The new shutters are volets roulants — roll-down exterior shades made of aluminum slats. They are solar powered. The photovoltaic cells are the black strips on the top left corners of each shutter. The produce electricity that keeps batteries charged, and the batteries provide electricity for the motor that rolls the shades up and down. Each shutter has its own remote control, and Walt has mounted those on the walls of each room next to the windows. You touch a button that sort of look like a light switch and the shutter goes up if it's down or down if it's up. The shutters can be partially closed as well, as you can see. Click this link to see a "before" shot of about the same view (but in a different season).
The back of the house faces west, and our prevailing winds come from the west as well. We are on high ground, and the vineyard produces a kind of wind-tunnel effect when storms roll in. The roll-down shutters are so easy to close compared to the old "finger-pincher" folding shutters that we will be closing them more often, especially on windy days and nights. And we won't even have too open the windows to close the shutters, which means we won't be letting as much heat escape from the house.
Here's another gratuitous photo of the house. It's the squarish one with the dark brown tiles on the roof, just to the right of the two big, dark-colored conifers. You can almost see the shutters from this distance. There are two other houses visible to the right of ours. I took these "soft-focus" photos just after sundown yesterday afternoon.
It is interesting in France that you have these outside shutters. Other countries such as Britain and USA used to have them years ago, but I can't think of any houses now that have new electronic outside shutters. I think they're a great idea it is just not done in some countries. Nice to knock jobs of the house to do list gives you a good feeling. As you said you can keep nice and warm.ReplyDelete
We put in double-glazed sliding windows and doors all around the main living area (living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms) many years ago, and that was a huge improvement. The attic has double-glaced skylight (Velux brand) windows, and the greenhouse helps insulate the back door. I commented below that I think it's strange U.S. houses don't have shutters for security and insulation.Delete
The window boxes are so neat.. I wish we had more of them in the homes of the Garden District, however, due to climate, etc most folks have front porches.. .. its call porch living in the neighborhoodReplyDelete
In late spring, summer, and early fall we spend a lot of time on our front porch, which is the terrace and is not closed in. Our weather is very different from Louisiana weather though...Delete
We had similar shutters in Argentina although our flat had metal shutters that you just pull closed or open by hand.ReplyDelete
I love window boxes ... my grandmother when living in San Diego, always ended up with small birds making a nest in a window box ... very sweet .. The apartment we lived in in NYC had metal shutters .. most do .
I think it's strange that houses in the U.S. so seldom have shutters. They are especially useful when the weather is very windy, as it often is in the U.S. South (hurricanes). And it's funny about window boxes — I never thought about not having them in the U.S., but it's true that none of the places we lived in in D.C. or California ever had them.Delete
It looks good, and I like the lights!ReplyDelete
My photo isn't very good but it gives you the idea. Walt put up the lights just a few days ago. the new garage door is very nice, and I do think it looks nicer than the old dark-brown wooden garage door.Delete
I know I've said so before (and probably will again ;), but your house looks so nice and welcoming! You've improved it vastly!ReplyDelete
I'm not sure the house looks a lot better, especially in the "after" photos compared to the "before" photos. Partly that's because the "before" photos I linked to were taken when the weather was much nicer. Anyway, the house is bigger than it was 15 years ago (we had the attic finished off to give ourselves more living space) and we've replaced nearly all the windows, not to mention all the painting we've done over the years. Thanks for you nice comment.Delete