The solstice may have already passed, but there’s plenty of summer left to go before the nights start drawing in. If you’re anything like me, summertime is when life slows down to a far more leisurely pace - this is the season to spend more time outside, start planning family trips and adventures, and generally make the most of the good weather (which, as we all know, can’t exactly be relied upon in this country!).
That’s not to say I’ve spent the past month with my feet up, cocktail in hand. Quite the opposite - despite slowing down my work on other peoples’ homes for the season, I’ve not been able to resist turning my attention to my own, which often gets criminally overlooked!
I’ve recently harvested quotes from three separate contractors, in an effort to figure out exactly what to do with my knocked-through space. What’s more, while the weather’s warm, I can’t help being somewhat morbidly fascinated by what should be done about how chilly this house gets in the winter… and that, believe me, has taken up plenty of time and mental energy.
However, in the spirit of sunshine, sharing and the sense of excitement that summertime always brings, I’ve put together a few thoughts about what we all should be doing while the sun’s treating us to its warmest rays.
Read on to find out more!
Get to Work on Energy Efficiency
As mentioned, this has been on my mind a lot recently. Compounded by the fact that energy prices are on everyone’s lips right now, energy efficiency is something that really deserves plenty of energy… and it’s no use waiting for the chill of autumn to set in before doing something proactive about it.
I’ve written up a quick checklist of best practices that I’m doing my best to implement this summer, and I think it’s well worth sharing in case any of you are in need of some ecological motivation.
● Turn the thermostat down. Now.
Seriously, do it. If your home is new enough or equipped enough to come with a thermostat, you need to make sure it’s accurately reflecting the season… and when the colder months start to set in, turn it down a few notches to save energy, save money, and live more sustainably. As our parents would probably say, if you’re cold at home, put on a jumper.
● Stop leaving devices on standby
This is definitely something I regularly slap my wrists for doing, and there’s simply no excuse for it. Devices - from laptops to televisions and everything in between - left on standby still make use of energy, and it’s a dreadful waste that benefits nobody.
● Add external wall insulation
Again, this is something I’m currently attempting, and I’m really looking forward to noticing the difference once it’s done. These kinds of projects can seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that it’s essentially an investment for the future and one that you’ll surely be grateful for.
● Add roof and loft insulation
Overall, this is often much less of a mission than other types of insulation, and many of us go through our lives without ever even knowing how well our loft is insulated! Get it checked out, get a quote or look for a green grant, and get it done.
● Install solar panels
I often think that, in a decade or two, we’ll be amazed that so many people didn’t switch to solar energy sooner. Far more affordable than in the past (and again, there are plenty of grants and schemes out there to help you out) it’s something that makes a considerable impact on the world we all share.
● Change windows and doors
If you live in a Victorian town like I do, then badly-fitting windows and doors - complete with howling draughts that sometimes make you feel like you’re haunting a gothic mansion - are par for the course. Why do we put up with it? Let’s make a real effort this summer to sort out these issues we ‘learn to live with’ and improve our energy efficiency and quality of life for the months and years ahead!
It’s Time to Be Bold With Colour
Summer always brings out our inner vibrancy, and it’s often fun to explore this aspect of ourselves with our home interior design choices. Summer colours are brighter, bolder and more imbued with the ability to delight; if you’re planning on redecorating and painting your walls during this time of year, let your imagination soar and go for something a little more fun-filled to brighten the darker side of the year.
The same goes for other design choices; bring out the coloured cushion covers, upcycle an old dresser or table with hues and tones which recall Mediterranean holidays or technicolour adventures.
Refresh and Reflect
It’s time to get inspired by summer trips, adventurous plans and family fun-time - whether that’s a holiday with the kids to a far-flung beach or some time letting your hair down at a festival or two.
My favourite way to do this? Get out into the garden and start transforming it into the little haven it deserves to be. Gardening often seems like a chore, but most of the time, it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to make a transformative difference. Make the most of the warmer weather, cut the grass, tidy up the flower beds or touch up your garden furniture to give it a new lease of life. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying these balmy evenings outdoors with a chilled glass of white wine - perfect!
In Other News…
It’s been a busy period over the past few months, and I’ve been delighted to see my business grow as I’ve met more and more happy clients, and even picked up an award along the way (Winner of Bristol Life Awards under the Homes and Interiors category).
This means, however, that I’m absolutely fully booked for the summer months, and I’m not able to take on any new clients until (at least) the end of September. The year is absolutely flying by, and I can’t wait to get stuck into some exciting new projects that I’ll keep you informed about as they unfold.
In the meantime, remember to breathe, take time to enjoy each and every moment, and appreciate how much we’ve all gotten through across the past few years. It’s not been an easy ride, and it’s likely we’re not quite out of the woods just yet. Let’s all take some time to be mindful of the journey we’ve been on, and recognise how well we’ve done in supporting each other in these challenging times.