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Architecture Shutters - there's a right way

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,985
Points
53
A common design element on houses are shutters for their windows. However way too many times shutters are installed with no relationship to how they're actually supposed to function - real, functional, fake, design.

I found this excellent review:
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,483
Points
45
Some of those in that link are hilariously bad (though I actually like the whimsical ones on #7).

Shutters that are poorly scaled to the windows and are so obviously fake are one of my pet peeves on houses. 9 times out of 10, the house would usually look better without them.

I will add that when I used to go to my aunt and uncle's old house, they had functional shutters and I used to like going around and closing them. I thought that was the coolest thing!
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,438
Points
39
My home is a 1965 one-and-a-half story ranch. I have an 8'-0" picture window (two 2/2 d/h sash flanking a one light fixed) in the living room, then three more 2/2 d/h sashes in the front facing master br. All had el cheapo plastic shutters, installed improperly in the brick veneer, and comically in the case of the living room where in no math I familiar with does 28" equal 96".

They all came off last spring and it made me very happy. Word to the wise: wasps seem to like to make nests behind fixed (inoperable) shutters.
 

Bubba

Cyburbian
Messages
5,334
Points
36
We have fixed shutters flanking some of the windows on the front facade of our house - they're hung properly and are the right size, but still utterly pointless. About the only thing keeping me from removing them is the "shadow" they would leave on the bricks.

Word to the wise: wasps seem to like to make nests behind fixed (inoperable) shutters.
Yep. Evil little b*astards.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
600
Points
26
Word to the wise: wasps seem to like to make nests behind fixed (inoperable) shutters.
I was painting a house once when the guy on the ladder next to me went to pull a shutter off and there was a big bat hanging on to the backside. It flew off and he nearly bailed from the ladder.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,804
Points
38
A common design element on houses are shutters for their windows. However way too many times shutters are installed with no relationship to how they're actually supposed to function - real, functional, fake, design.

I found this excellent review:
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,609
Points
69
Decorative shutters are a huge pet peeve of mine. They're so common around here, they're pretty much part of the local vernacular.

For the code I've been working on. I suggested a requirement that any shutters be proportional.

If decorative shutters flank a window opening, each shutter must be half the width of the window opening inside the jamb or casing; and look like they can plausibly close to fully cover the opening.

Decorative shutters must not flank a door, gable vent, paired or grouped set of windows, or other feature where working shutters are not plausible.


I was shot down for being "too picky." :(

Around here, I've seen decorative shutters in ridiculous places -- mounted flat on a wall with no window nearby, on one side of a window but not the other, on either side of a garage door, and around louvered vents.

shitty_shhutters.jpg

(This also a good example of the kind of utilitarian residential architecture we seem to accept as "normal" around here.)

Anyhow, some language from other codes that I gathered a while ago.

Williamsville, New York
Shutters should be used only where historically and stylistically appropriate and should be sized properly to the opening (half the window width). Shutters should be placed as though operable, mounted inside the window frame with proper hardware.

Syracuse, New York pattern book (advisory)
The use of shutters adjacent to single windows is encouraged. If shutters are installed, they must be operable, and sized and mounted to cover the adjacent window.

Shaker Heights, Ohio (requirements)
If shutters are used, shutter sizes must be proportionally correct. They should each be half the width of the window opening such that the entire window is covered when they are closed.

Austin, Texas: Mueller Design Book:
Shutters should be proportioned and sized so that they could enclose the window, if operable.

Brampton, Ontario: Spring Valley Architectural Design
Shutters, even if inoperable, should correspond to the width of the window, and curved shutters should match the curves of the windows that they flank.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio: noncommercial design guidelines
Shutters should be sized to fit window openings. The height of the shutter should match the height of the window opening. Each shutter
should match half the width of the window opening. It is not appropriate to introduce window shutters where no evidence of historic use of shutters exists.


And from Old House Online, April 9 2014:

7 Shutter Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

It's easy to make mistakes when adding shutters to a historic house. Here are 7 big ones to avoid.

#1: Too Narrow
Whether operable or not, shutters must always be wide enough to cover the entire window when closed.

#2: Too Long
Shutters that overshoot the top and bottom of the window look silly.

#3: Attached to the Wall
Historically, shutters were always fastened to the window casing—never to the wall of the house.

#4: A "Flat" Appearance
Improperly mounted shutters lack depth and shadows.

#5: Mismatched Shapes
Shutters should match the shape of the window—not the casing around it.

#6: Improper Accessories
Adding balconies, railings, or window boxes around shutters impedes their ability to operate—and screams "McMansion."

#7: Closed Louvers
Even if louvers are fixed, they should remain approximately 25 degrees open and have rods for historical accuracy.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,804
Points
38
Good heavens, is that a reworking/cladding of a split level of a doublewide on steroids? Love the security camera by the garage.
It's a raised ranch. It's a little plain, but I'd rather have that than some of the over-styled rooflines you see in new homes here. How many "character gables" can one add to a hip roof?
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
600
Points
26
It's a raised ranch. It's a little plain, but I'd rather have that than some of the over-styled rooflines you see in new homes here. How many "character gables" can one add to a hip roof?
Agreed- although on the other end these vinyl-sided "one-level living with an option to finish the basement" specials we get so many of have so. much. roof. and end up looking like a 1983 McDonalds.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,414
Points
71
It's a raised ranch. It's a little plain, but I'd rather have that than some of the over-styled rooflines you see in new homes here. How many "character gables" can one add to a hip roof?
OMG!:eek:
 
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