Design Notebook

Call it made in the shade!

When summer arrives, you can cut your air conditioner use by up to 25 percent if you cool down your home by installing awnings

Special to The TribuneJanuary 23, 2013 

A lattice patio cover is supported by stucco columns designed to match the exterior of the home.



    DO IT YOURSELF Shoreline offers homeowner-installed fixed-frame awnings in three designs, two frame colors and five canvas colors. The turnaround time for these awnings is much shorter than custom awnings, and they can be installed easily with just a level and a power drill.

    TRENDING NOW Awning fabrics are trending toward subtle shades of blue or green. Also popular are subtly textured fabrics, such as a tweed look, that offer more dimension and warmth than solid color fabrics.

    CONTROLLED LIGHT For adaptable sun protection, you might opt for an aluminum louvered patio roof that can be opened or closed, similar to window blinds. When closed, it is rain-tight. Opening it lets in more light and warmth.

With winter’s chill still hanging in the air, we may be longing for warmer days — but probably not the sweltering summer afternoons that turn a home into a sauna.

Instead of cranking up the A/C this year, Russ Meznarich offers a few alternatives. He owns Paso Robles’ Shoreline Awning & Patio, which sells and installs commercial and residential awnings, shade structures, patio covers, and patio enclosures. One of its most popular products is a line of exterior roller shades.

“We are seeing a lot of people using them as a form of controlling heat,” said Meznarich, who noted that exterior sun protection, whether with awnings or shades, can reduce air conditioner use by 25 percent or more.

Interior window coverings aren’t quite the same thing, unfortunately.

“Once the sun hits the glass of your window, there is heat gain,” he explained. “Even with fancy solar interior shades, it’s not as effective as if the sun has never been able to touch the glass.”

There are exterior solar shades that filter out 95 percent of the sun’s harmful rays.

The shades are made of avinyl woven mesh that is translucent enough to preserve views. They are motorized and remote-controlled, so there is no need to go outside to raise or lower them. Prices start at around $500.

Awnings offer another type of sun protection and also add a decorative element to the home. Shoreline designs and manufactures all awnings in its local factory.

“All in-house fabrication means we can create anything that the customer can envision,” said Meznarich. “It’s a truly local product.”

Fixed-framed awnings typically extend up to three feet. Retractable awnings have arms that extend as far as 13 feet to cover windows as well as patios. They retract to sit flat against the house. This is helpful during inclement weather, or when you actually want some heat gain, such as during the winter months.

Custom awnings are style-chameleons, adapting to a variety of home designs. There are traditional scalloped-edge awnings, but also more contemporary, clean-lined looks. A choice of hundreds of fabrics completes the design package. Shoreline uses fabrics by Sunbrella, which has recently doubled its warranty from five to 10 years. That means the awning is guaranteed to not fade, rot or mildew for a decade.

Fixed-frame awnings have a welded steel frame with a powder-coated finish. There are various style options, including Old World wrought iron detailing, or simple spear or ball finials.

Patio covers are a third way to escape the sun’s rays. Shoreline builds pergolas and patio covers from a low-maintenance aluminum product that has the look of wood. Lattice designs offer filtered sunlight, and solid designs provide more complete protection. Support columns can be created to match the look of the house, such as with a stucco finish, or a smooth, round Tuscanstyle design.

Shoreline Awning and Patio currently has a showroom at Paradise Outdoors, 1142 13th Paso Robles. An additional showroom will be opening at San Luis Obispo’s Daylight Home, Lighting & Patio in the spring. The firm may be reached at 238-4110 or by visiting its website at

Reach Rebecca Juretic at

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