The History of Shutters
Wooden Shutters are said to be timeless, enduring changes in modern design and that if you place shutters on your residence today, they will retain their appeal fifty years from now. Have you ever wondered how and why the design has endured the test of time?
The Origins of Shutters
While the exact start of the wooden shutter is unknown, there is speculation as to the country in which it started. Some say that the beginnings were in Italy and others state that the shutter started in Greece. What is known is that they were more than likely designed in the Mediterranean region as a means to keep off the coastal winds and protect the houses from other hazards. As with many architectural developments of that region, the origins of the material were not wood but marble. The marble, of course, proved to be too costly and too heavy for functional purposes, and so the cheaper solution of wood was implemented and has stayed as the main material since.
Unlike the shutters that we have today which come with the ability to adjust the louvers, the early shutters had fixed louvers. The design was intended to divert rainwater away from the home. They also hindered insects and rodents from entering the abodes. And while these features solved some problems, these fixed louvers were slightly problematic. As they were fixed downward, the admittance of light was greatly reduced. This was beneficial during some seasons and during sometimes, but for the greater part, the design limited the use.
The Globalization of the Shutter
Shutters began to gain global popularity in the 15th century when exploration and development of the globe were at its peak. The Spanish, as well as the English, used shutters as a means of demonstrating wealth in new societies. The Spanish used a new style of thinner slats while the English maintained the wider louvers on their shutter designs. In America, as the colonies developed, shutters were used on plantation homes and painted, or rather whitewashed, to match the exterior of the homes.
Adding Adjustable Features
Where the adjustable or movable louvers originated is left to legend. It has been suggested that Louis XIV implemented the movable louvers in the 17th century. As the legend goes, Louis XIV used shutters to see what’s occurring in his courts. Yet, the fixed louvers allowed for guards to look upon the courts as well as the king, distracting them from their posts. It is said that the king ordered, movable louvers so that when he desired he could look upon the courts, but when not in use close them to keep his guard’s focus on defenses. Whether this is true or not, it sure does make a good story.
Regardless, the first movable slats were on a peg system and had to be adjusted individually. Today’s design however, are of course far easier to use.
A Transition from Functionality to Fashion
In today’s society, there have been so many developments in the architectural and construction methods to prevent water erosion, improve insulation, and deter outside pestilences from entering that the original purpose of the shutter is somewhat redundant. The functionality has shifted from being a major part of the exterior to being an aesthetic part of the interior of the home. Yes, there are still exterior shutters which are used, yet most shutters are designed for the interior space of the home and are designed to bring the space together. In terms of the functionality of the luxury wooden shutter, most of the options which are on the market today cater to the protection of the glass, the insulation of the room (being that it keeps out the cool air in the winter and can block excessive sunlight in the summer), as well as to offer privacy.
Different but the same
Where some of the materials and placement of louvers and hinges have changed since the shutter was introduced, the overall design and the concept has remained the same. It is for this reason that houses which utilise the wooden shutter tend to have a higher market value than those which only use blinds and curtains. It is expected that the shutters will be a permanent fixture in the home and that they will be desired by those seeking to have luxury window treatments.