How to squeeze the most out of the late summer

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If you’re watching TV over the next couple of weeks – whether you’re a fan of cop dramas, Escape To The Country or the World Swimming Championships, or just peeping at Sky News through your fingers – you might well catch our new advert for our exclusive Haus awnings.

Returning customers might remember Bobby the West Highland terrier, who seemed to work out how to use the remote control to adjust his ULTRA Smart blinds to suit his snoozing location. Well, Bobby got too famous and is a big-shot in Hollywood now, so we had to recast!

This time round, a family is enjoying a meal outside but suffering in the heat – until dad “magically” extends the awning, apparently with a click of his fingers. In fact, he’s secretly using the one-touch remote control – one of the easy-to-operate and convenient ways of staying in charge of your outdoor shading.


Optional weather sensors will automatically extend the awning in bright sunshine to protect your furnishings from UV fading, and, for safety, retract it in high winds.

But the most advanced system of all is ULTRA Plus. Through an app on your phone or tablet, you can control your awnings (not to mention your interior shading too – see below) either moment to moment, or via pre-set scenarios on a timer, whether you’re home or away. Not only is it convenient – it can contribute to security too.

Haus awnings can be installed with infra-red heating and LED lighting – which comes in particularly useful in late summer, when we have warm days but the nights are drawing in and it can get a bit chilly in the evening. Again, one-touch remote control or ULTRA Plus can switch on both heat and light in a moment.

Precision-engineered and manufactured in Germany, Haus awnings are a stylish, hi-spec addition to any outdoor space. The unique OptiFlowSystem® keeps the fabric taut and prevents sagging, and, for full weather protection, the awnings retract completely away into the cassette (which also conceals all the mechanical parts).

The range is available in various sizes and over 150 colours. There is even a 30sqm Haus pergola which is capable of dealing with harsher weather conditions, thanks to telescopic support posts and tensioned side channels. It can cope with winds up to Force 6 (or 48kph) and shed water in even the heaviest rain, with no puddling. With the heating and lights on, you could extend those late-summer al fresco lunches well into the autumn.

But when the summer is finally gone?

Most years, before the autumn kicks in properly, we have those changeable weeks with four seasons in one day. It can get pretty irritating finding yourself jumping up and down to open and close blinds and turn lights on and off every half hour or so. The solution is another piece of magic – well, state-of-the-art tech actually, but, as the author Arthur C Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

And we’d like to think that ULTRA Plus smart blinds with voice activation are pretty advanced. Using an Amazon Alexa or Google Home hub, you can establish simple voice commands that instantly communicate with your Appeal ULTRA Plus Smart blinds (plus devices on smart plugs and Phillips Hue bulbs) to create the perfect room ambience for the moment.

You can use whatever commands you want (within the bounds of decency!): keep it practical – “OK Google. Protect the living room from direct sun”; be a little cheeky – “Alexa, Smooch mood please”; or keep the magic theme going – “Alexa … Cadabra!”

It’s particularly useful at this time of the year – if you come home and it’s darker outside than you expected, you can instantly make the house cosier. And if the autumn sun suddenly bursts out and shines on your TV at a crucial moment in the rugby, you can fix that without missing a single reset scrum.

The set-up is simple but Appeal’s qualified installers can help make it as smooth as possible.