After five years of suffering through sweltering summer afternoons in our family room, month after month, waiting for an "attractive" window treatment - inside or out - that would keep out the heat, I finally just went to Home Depot and bought an inexpensive pull-down shade like the one the boys have had up in their bedrooms (same West-facing windows) for years. Tynor hung it in the window today, and this afternoon for the first time I sat on the couch out there on a hot day and folded laundry. Hooray!
Sometimes it's mind-boggling to look back and realize how long you put off doing something, anything, to fix a problem so you can enjoy your living space more in the present. You just can't - shouldn't! - hold off until "the best solution" gets figured out and installed sometimes. Wish I'd done this in the summer of '04, I'll tell ya.