Prior to windows being limited to a dim or a scrim of muslin — before even glass was used, interior shutters fulfilled the fundamental requirements to protect against the weather. Flexible, practical and attractive interior shutters have remained in their appeal over time, which makes them a suitable option for a wide range of historic rooms.
Similar to the homes on the purpose of which they were constructed early, shutters were essentially A single shutter on the track, or grooved rail that ran across the top of the wall as well as the bottom of the windows. Another type, made up of two or one shutter that were hinged vertically. Once opened, the shutter was folded inwards to place the window to the wall. The issue with both designs was that they took the space. In time, a more practical style was developed shutters that were either single or paired which slide down into hollows that were built into wall plaster. In the past, they were referred to as privacy shutters or pocket shutters. A different name is still in use: “Indian” shutters, however, this name was first coined in the 19th century New England, when folks started to make up myths about the original purpose of the shutters in pocket to guard for “Indian attacks.”
In the 18th century, walls from the inside were being moved further into the space. The window’s embrasure, or opening, was becoming more deep receding. The recess was a great location to store shutters when they weren’t closed, but also opened up new possibilities for woodwork in the interior. Carpenters stepped up to the challenge by creating beautiful shutters that elevated shutters above only functional. They could be single or double hung, the latter allowing both halves to open in a different way and let in light, while keeping privacy.
The raised panels of shutters are ideal for the North with its colder climate, Southern homes had different requirements. In the 18th century the louvered shutter had taken over popularity in the South. The slat in the middle that allowed the shutters to close and open allowed them to block the scorching sun while providing air circulation. The plantation shutters, as they were referred to they were visually appealing and also their wide slats created a room with a more light and airier feeling.
A lot of companies continue to make interior shutters, providing various types and designs including customizable options, such as Palladian designs. The raised-panel shutters are typically referred to as “traditional” and “Colonial,” and louvered shutters are often referred to as “plantation.”
Shutters are made from hardwoods that are safe from the threat of sap bleeding, as opposed to softwoods. Cedar is a popular choice for shutters, however most are made of light and durable basswood domestically and poplar. Additionally, a number of firms offer a range of hardwoods that are custom-made. Shutters made of engineered timber and acrylic that resemble the real wood are also accessible.
Interior shutters are able to be stained or painted according to your preferences. Certain shuttermakers will match the stain color on your millwork, or provide guidance on a design that matches the interior décor.
Interior shutters today are typically installed in two different ways. Most popular, as it’s the easiest to install, is a frame mount where the shutters are connected to a small frame attached to the window casing or adjacent wall. This avoids problems caused by windows that aren’t square. The most closely resembling the historical precedent is the inside mount technique that is where the windows are mounted to wooden strips that are affixed to the jamb of the window.
Another option is available for those who have built-in cabinets or bookcases on the opposite side of their windows. Some businesses can use the cabinetry’s depth as a way to emulate the window jamb, giving the appearance like an embrasured window. Every shutter manufacturer has guidelines online for measuring and the majority of them will be able to help you navigate the process via phone and email.
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In deciding the type of shutter that is ideal suitable for the home you live in, make sure you take the time to study the websites of each company. Some of them are committed to using traditional joinery methods with premium wood. Some are aware that their clients might not have the luxury of unlimited budgets or may be concerned about the long-term durability of a wood blind in specific conditions. If you’re thinking about louvered shutters be certain to check the dimensions of your louvers (historically they were large dimensions) and think about the effect it can have on the look of your shutters, as well as the style of your room.