During the heat of summer, keeping our houses and ourselves cool is a “hot topic.” Luckily, there are many ways to keep the sun and temperatures at bay.  As the husband and wife team that owns Jade, a home design boutique on Metairie Road, and The Plant Gallery, a nursery that offers everything from landscaping to gifts and décor on Airline Highway, Jennifer and Kenny Rabalais are versed in cooling ideas — for both indoor and outdoor spaces — that take both the beautiful and functional into account. 

The duo stresses the importance of adequate shade. Inside, Jennifer suggests window treatments with sun-blocking rather than sun-filtering fabrics and with multilayers for windows with lots of sun exposure.

“Unlined curtains may look good blowing in the breeze in photos, but curtains with interlining will do a much better job of keeping the heat out, help protect the curtain fabric and help protect your upholstered pieces of furniture inside your rooms,” she said. “Close them during the day. Also, consider another layer of windows coverings under your curtains such as a natural bamboo shade.”

From custom drapery to ready-made roller shades that you cut and install yourself, window covering options are available in a wide variety of looks and price points.

Outside, Kenny adds that awnings, trees and vines near light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun’s rays, while adding to your property value.

When natural breezes are in short supply, Jennifer recommends creating your own breeze with an indoor ceiling fan that is as good looking as it is refreshing. The sleek Monte Carlo line, available through Jade, is designed to bring equal parts aesthetics and comfort to your living spaces.

Studies show that sleep quality improves in cooler temperatures, so keeping the bedroom comfortable during peak heat season is important. Jennifer suggests switching to breathable linen sheets in the summer months and scenting them with a lavender detergent or linen spray for an additional “layer of relaxation.”

Water is the ultimate cooling agent in summer, but pools aren’t the only way to hydrate your surroundings. With a wealth of choices at The Plant Gallery, the two suggest considering a fountain for your outdoor space because of the soothing soundtrack they provide inside and out.

“The sound of trickling water can help trick out mind into cooling thoughts,” explained Jennifer.

  1. Adding climbing vines to an open-air gazebo will provide extra shade while also letting breezes through.
  2. Four trees planted in a square give a similar effect when the canopies meet to form a shady top. 
  3. Large lightweight pots can accommodate shade trees for a less permanent situation.

About the Designers

Jennifer and Kenny Rabalais started The Plant Gallery 30 years ago with a French Quarter location that was open 24 hours a day, and later expanded and moved the business to Metairie. Nine years ago, Jennifer started Jade to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning her own interiors store. Between the two businesses, the two have their hands in everything from landscape and floral design to furnishings and accessories.