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Monday, July 28, 2008

Design: Fake Shutters

I figured I would start periodically discussing on this blog home and garden design -- likes, dislikes, and random ponderings (it's easy fodder for discussion, and in a neighborhood where many are fixing up homes, it's not too off topic for this blog). I do so because I love the topic, think I have a pretty good eye for what looks good and what doesn't, and enjoy dreaming of how spaces could be better. As disclaimers: style-wise, I currently gravitate toward the subtle, crisp, and contemporary; my own tastes change over time; I appreciate a range of looks; and I know that certain aesthetics don't transcend all architecture.

For my inaugural design post, I thought I'd write about an aesthetic that annoys me like no other: fake, unrealistic-looking shutters. Used because real, custom, functioning shutters are prohibitively expensive, fake shutters are usually off-the-shelf shutters affixed to a house with screws or nails on both sides of a window. Unlike real shutters that can be used for privacy, shading and security, fake shutters serve only an ornamental purpose. Often, fake shutters are selected and installed with no regard for attempting the look of functioning shutters (see, e.g., the shutters on these homes). When folded closed, of course, functioning shutters would cover the entire window. They also would include hardware to keep the shutters from flapping in the wind. Fake shutters are often too skinny for the windows they abut and have no hardware.
All to say, if you're dead set on the look of shutters but don't want to pay for real shutters, please -- for me -- try to size them so that they look like functioning shutters.

Does anyone else have a disdain for faux shutters? Or another pet peeve worth exploring here?

14 comments:

Scenic Artisan said...

kinda funny that your post has googleads for cheesy looking shutters.

; )

Shaw Rez said...

Scenic - if you're talking about the image in the post, that's a (poorly labeled) mock-up I did to demonstrate how unrealistic out-of-proportion fake shutters really are...

If there are indeed ads on the right for cheesy shutters, then that's just plain funny...

Anonymous said...

i am shocked by the number of homes that do not have window box seats. rr446

si said...

Shutters dont bother me so much & in that photo you linked, they at least did a little to adorn that fugly house. I dont like them on a big sexy victorian, they dont go.

far more offensive is the retro awning on windows & porches. DC is relatively free of them but they abound in all their fug glory in baltimore. They even have cornice covers...blech.

Mr. Q said...

Off topic but speaking of houses Shaw Rez...you mentioned looking for a landscaper for your yard a couple of months back...ever find anyone? Any recommendations? Would like do do a combo patio/garden in the backyard myself...thanks for any info.

Shaw Rez said...

Mr. Q - Two unexpected home repairs took major hits on the landscape budget after my initial post, so we're probably going to do a DIY design and installation (I will post photos when we get around to it).

That said, we met with some awesome landscape designers after my posting. Our design inspiration aesthetic is from a project by Will Morrow that was featured in a Washingtonian Magazine earlier this year. We were likely going to go with designer Bob Bell to draft a detailed plan and to oversee installation.

Mr. Q said...

Thanks Shaw Rez...

Good to have you posting more regularly lately!!

Charles Walker said...

My house used to have fake shutters. Not any more - I had them taken off when I repainted. I totally agree that they are stupid.

Jon said...

I share your dislike of fake shutters. But I have to point out that real shutters don't necessarily have to be of a width to cover the window when closed -- some real shutters are bi-folds, so each shutter would appear to be 1/4 the width of the window, but would fold out to half the width of the window when it was time to close the shutters.

However, that doesn't change the stupidity of faux shutters.

Shaw Rez said...

Jon - very true re: the width issue and bi fold real shutters.

Anonymous said...

omg i totally totally agree with you. Get this - - - I saw a house with a wide bay window in front. On either side of this window? Two skinny little vinyl shutters.
my pet peeve!

Anonymous said...

I found your site while searching for info on repainting my faux shutters. While I don't love the fake shutters (they came with my 1976 house), they do help break up the large brick front veneer on my traditional ranch style home. To me they add a more custom look to the exterior. I'm also a lover of low maintenance and functional things, so the artificiality and pure design of a fake shutter also goes against my grain. But I think my home would look more like a cheap track home without them. The old windows don't help much.

Christa Terry said...

Ugh, I cannot stand them! We bought a house with them, but as soon as we can afford it we're going to upgrade to real shutters.

Anonymous said...

Fake shutters are pretty annoying. It's not just the fact that they aren't big enough for the windows and don't even work, but I've seen ones that extend way past the tops and bottoms of windows. There are some down the street from me that are two-stories tall! I wrote about this topic a little while ago, too: http://roadsidezombies.com/2010/07/27/a-plea-to-end-fake-shutters/