Louvered Interior Shutters

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Historic style meets modern utility

Custom interior shutters offer more style than Venetian or vertical blinds, and let in more light than curtains. Rotate the movable louvers to direct sunlight where you want it. Or open the double bifold panel to really let the outside in. My windows are tall, so I split the space into a top and bottom half; I can open the top panels for illumination while keeping the bottom panels closed for privacy. And the bifold setup means they take up surprisingly little space inside even the largest windows. Best of all, with a little bit of math (see Making a panel plan, below), they can be custom-fit to your windows.

While sometimes called plantation shutters because of their popularity in antebellum estates of the American South, that name carries a troubled legacy, and anyway doesn’t tell the shutters’ full story. Interior shutters actually originated in Ancient Greece, where — made of marble — they served to keep coastal weather out of the un-glassed windows. As the shutters became more popular, wood replaced marble, allowing for movable louvers. Their fashion spread through Europe and they were eventually brought to the Americas by Spaniards. Lacking access to a suitable marble quarry, I built mine from poplar, painted white to match my window trim. Pine, basswood, or paulownia would work just as well; or use cherry or oak stained to match your home’s existing trim.

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