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Throwing Shade: The smart way we covered our windows at the beach

Somfy Smart Shades

When it came to furnishing our little beach house, I got picky about which technology I’d allow inside, since it’s a place built for unwinding and unplugging. And you might not think of “smart shades” on the must have list, but it was something I hoped I could add to the “definitely, yes!” list, and I’m thrilled we did.

Unlike some household tech features, they don’t scream “digital,” especially since I chose a subtle natural linen. But I’m blown away by how easy they are to use and how much they make themselves useful— they do so much more than help us manage the steady supply of oceanside sunshine.

I was thrilled to partner with Somfy to install these pretty ladies. Wondering if smart shades are really worth it? Here are three impactful ways they’ve upgraded my home life.

Somfy shades in action!
smart window shades: Somfy

Convenience

We’re lucky to have four large windows on the front of the house, and a fifth that faces the side yard. They let a ton of light in, and that’s definitely what you want when you’re in beach mode. But opening and closing all of those heavy blinds was a real chore— each window is large, so the blinds were quite heavy. They were no more than a year old (the previous owner installed them right before she put the house on the market), and the chains were already starting to rust and stain the white linen, and the wall behind it. Darn that salt air!  With the Somfy shades, we can operate all of the blinds with one tap, using the remote, the myLink app, or voice control. For voice control, all you have to do is integrate with Alexa or Google Home through IFTTT. (“Alexa, I need some privacy!”). And best of all, no rusty chains: the look is cleaner, and we don’t have to do any work!

smart window shades: Somfy

In the myLink app, you can open and close blinds whenever you want to, but you can also automate them for serious convenience. For instance, you can create a “good morning” scene where all of your bedroom shades raise at 7:00 a.m. and schedule that to play every week day (but not on the weekends), so that natural light will wake you up. (Bonus: Using light to cue your body to wake and sleep is a research-proven way to develop better sleep habits for better overall health.)

Or how about scheduling them to definitely be closed during the Game of Thrones finale, for a guaranteed no-glare situation? Made it happen.

Another way automation has helped me is that I can schedule one blind at the beach house to open during the week when I’m not there to give my tree some light. Because no one wants to come home to dead plants. Honestly, I’m determined not to kill this tree.

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat

Skin and furniture protection

We all need to make sure we’re getting enough Vitamin D, but when we’re at the beach, the issue is usually that we’re catching too many rays. Having smart shades makes it super easy to make sure you’re moderating your UV exposure, since you can quickly close them if the sun is super intense on a given day and your skin needs a break. I actually have mine scheduled to lower half way in the late afternoon for a couple hours, when the sun hits the house and roasts the front room until it dips behind our neighbors houses.

Bonus: Shades also protect your furniture and artwork from fading from sun damage. I mean, if you had to close them manually every time you left the house, would you bother? (Speaking for myself: NOPE)

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat

Energy Savings

Yes, installing smart shades definitely comes with a cost, but they can also help you bring down energy costs in your home. The shades have optional sun sensors and can adapt their behavior to what’s happening outside to help you control energy costs more efficiently. For instance, if they sense the sun is super strong and close themselves while you’re out, you won’t have to crank the AC so much once you’re home.

Last thing: I’m always enamored with beautiful, natural products that are smart under the hood but don’t scream, “I’M TECHY!” I love that we have these shades that feel summery, beachy, and add so much texture to the wall while still blending in, AND can take advantage of all these convenience features. And so far, I’ve kept that tree alive.

Overall, this is one tech upgrade I am so happy I went for in the beach house. If you want to follow my lead, you can fill out a form on the Somfy website to be put in touch with a dealer or find a Somfy expert near you.

This post was written in partnership with Somfy, who also supplied the window shades for our home. As always, all opinions are my own, and I only work with partners that I think my audience will love.

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