THERE are countless fascinating schemes for arranging sunrooms. One, which we have recently seen near Philadelphia, was the result of enclosing a large piazza, projecting from an immense house situated in the midst of lawns and groves.
The walls are painted orange and striped with pale yellow; the floors are covered with the new variety of matting, which imitates tiles, and shows large squares of color, blocked off by black. The chintzes used are in vivid orange, yellow and green, in a stunning design; the wicker chairs are painted orange and black, and from the immense iridescent globes of electric light hang long, orange silk tassels.
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Iron fountains, wonderful designs in black and gold, throw water over gold and silver fish, or gay water plants; while, in black and gold cages, vivid parrots and orange-colored canaries gleam through the bars. Iron vases of black and gold on tall pedestals, are filled with trailing ivy and bright colored plants. Along the walls are wicker sofas, painted orange and black, luxuriously comfortable with down cushions covered, as are some of the chair cushions, in soft lemon, sun-proofed twills.
Here one finds card-tables, tea-tables and smoking-tables, a writing-desk fully equipped, and at one end, a wardrobe of black and gold, hung with an assortment of silk wraps and “wooleys”for an un-provided and chilly guest, in early spring, when the steam heat is off and the glass front open.
Even on a grey, winter day, this orange and gold room seems flooded with sun, and gives one a distinctly cheerful sensation when entering it from the house.
Of course, if your porch-room is mainly for mid-summer use and your house in a warm region, then we commend instead of sun-producing colors, cool tones of green, grey or blue. If your porch floor is bad, cover it with dark-red linoleum and wax it. The effect is like a cool, tiled floor. On this you can use a few porch rugs.
Black and white awnings or awnings in broad, green-and-white stripes, or plain green awnings, are deliciously cool-looking, and rail-boxes filled with green and white or blue and pale pink flowers are refreshing on a summer day.
By the sea, where the air is bracing, and it is not necessary to trick the senses with a pretence at coolness, nothing is more satisfactory or gay than scarlet geraniums; but if they are used, care must be taken that they harmonize with the color of the awnings and the chintz on the porch.
Speaking of rail-boxes reminds us that in making over a small summer house and converting a cheap affair into one of some pretensions, remember that one of the most telling points is the character of your porch railing. So at once remove the cheap one with its small, upright slats and the insignificant and frail top rail, and have a solid porch railing (or porch fence) built with broad, top rail.
Then place all around porch, resting on iron brackets, rail-flower boxes, the tops of these level with the top of the rail, and paint the boxes the color of the house trimmings. Filled with running vines and gay flowers, nothing could be more charming.
Window boxes make any house lovely and are a large part of that charm which appeals to us, whether the house is a mansion in Mayfair or a Bavarian farmhouse. Americans are learning this.
The window and rail-boxes of a house look best when all are planted with the same variety of flowers.
Having given a certain air of distinction to your porch railing, add another touch to the appearance of your small, remodeled house by having the shutters hung from the top of the windows, instead of from the sides.
A charming variety of awning or sun-shades, to keep the sun and glare out of rooms, is the old English idea of a straw-thatching, woven in and out until it makes a broad, long mat which is suspended from the top of windows, on the outside of the house, being held out and permanently in place, at the customary angle of awnings.
We first saw this picturesque kind of rustic awnings used on little cottages of a large estate in Vermont, cottages once owned and lived in by laborers, but bought and put in comfortable condition to be used as overflow rooms for guests, in connection with the large family mansion (once the picturesque village inn).
The art of making these straw awnings is not generally understood in America. In the case to which we refer, one of the gardeners employed on the estate, chanced to be an old Englishman who had woven the straw window awnings for farmhouses in his own country.
The straw awnings, with window boxes planted with bright geraniums and vines, make an inland cottage delightfully picturesque and are practical, although the sea might destroy the straw awnings by high winds.