Creating a cozy hearth for the family
Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.
While wandering around the world wide web looking for inspiration, I landed upon a short article about personal cooling. The author suggested purchasing a small but incredibly efficient fan and employing a specially designed towel or bandanna soaked in water to bring down the body temperature. I liked the idea but was frustrated by a few of the comments posted. It seems readers from the southern United States and other particularly warm climates around the world were not convinced this kind of cooling system worked well. Additionally, there were complaints about the discomfort of sleeping in very warm regions—and bedrooms.
In part, my frustration comes from a long desire for an outdoor bedroom, and I believe that if I lived in a climate so warm that overnight temperatures remained above 80 degrees, I would tear down ALL the walls in my home and replace them with mosquito netting. In lieu of that reality, I have planned on sleeping outdoors every night all summer for so long I can hardly remember from where the idea first sprang. Some kind of camping experience I'm sure. In any case, I thought I would share my plans with you and someday, when I have the home I dream of, I will have the backyard bedroom I have dreamed of for so long.
My plan is to create a room with open-beam type construction. A simple platform with four corners made of tree trunks and some large, heavy branches lain across the top to create a sort of "roof," raised to a gentle peak with a low-slung center beam. I would build an outdoor fireplace from stone or brick and position it at the foot of the bed. In my case, I would leave both sides open and utilize the other side for cooking and turn my bedroom into a sitting area when entertaining. Of course, you would want to make it possible to close either side for maximum efficiency. All four sides would be dressed with mosquito netting gathered in the center of the roof and pulled open to cover the entire ceiling and sides. I would hang candles in jars from the heavy branches and plant short trees around any sides that may not offer the privacy I would want in my bedroom.
This, obviously, is a rather elaborate project, and still very much in the dreaming phases for me. However, in looking around for materials ideas, I did find another version that would be quite simple. If you are blessed enough to have a large tree in your yard, simply build a platform to keep the bed six inches or more off the ground and hang mosquito netting from a low branch in your tree. Drape around the edges of the platform and you have a simple, beautiful outdoor bedroom where you will never feel the need to turn on the A/C.