The Intrinsic Beauty of Shutters
Having grown up on vast acreages in St. John’s and Labrador, Jean-Paul and I were used to living in large homes, and after college and ten years abroad, we decided to settle down to life in Toronto. We chose Wexford for its multicultural flavor, and we loved the hustle and bustle of the place. With our second child on the way, we decided on a 3,500 sq. ft. townhouse in the neighborhood of Scarborough, in Wexford-Maryvale. The years we spent there was idyllic on the one hand, and harrowing on the other, as it was a massive chore to clean and maintain the property. I had to hire help for the upkeep of the lawns, in spite of mowing it ourselves every so often, mulching around in the garden, watering it – it all took a lot of my time that I had hardly any space for the kids. I was just plain exhausted at the end of each day. The house needed extensive cleaning at least twice a month, which I outsourced, in spite of which I was running around vacuuming, doing the laundry, cooking, doing the school round, and God forbid that someone falls ill! But let’s face it, we never thought of downsizing. Let’s not forget the time spent painting, pool maintenance, and renovating
It all took a turn for the better when Jean-Paul was offered a promotion and transfer to California. We packed up and rented out our house and were off to the west coast of America, where we rented a 1,100 sq. ft. Garden apartment. Luckily, we’d got only the most treasured of our stuff along, and it was just perfect! The best part of our new existence was that we had so much of free time. Though we didn’t have a yard, the kids were free to use the kids play area, they could rid their scooters down the paths and sidewalks, and could swim in the common pool. No lawns to mow, or flower beds to mulch, no pool to maintain. I even had time to do a good job of keeping a good home – no mess for Jean-Paul to walk, after a hard day at work, to pick up the slack for me!
I started paying attention to small details – a well-made bed, polished shoes, fluffed out cushions, and window dressings. I loved the corner of the living room that I’d made my own – I had a roll top desk with my little notebook that I actually had time to use to communicate with some cherished old friends, and to watch an odd recorded serial – Grey’s! But most of all, I loved the walnut-colored interior shutters that adorned all the windows and French doors and worked beautifully with our furniture. And I’d decided that no matter what when we move back to Canada, We were going to invest in these wooden marvels, and I’d heard of the versions with motorized vanes. These would be good to protect against unseasonal storms as well.
But it was to end all too soon, as Jean-Paul’s tenure in California was at end – it was lovely while it lasted, and I was going to miss the climate most of all. But we’d decided that once we moved back to Canada, we were going to put the house up for sale and look at a smaller place, hopefully, a community similar to the one we were leaving. We’d decided that scaled down was going to be our new lifestyle, the kids in full agreement, too. We rented an apartment while we found a buyer for our Scarborough house, and it was a year and a half before we were able to sell it. We bought a terraced townhouse in North York, close to the town hospital, the kids’ school and Jean-Paul’s work. The terrace was a good thing, as it fed my passion for gardening, which was also now downsized to container gardening!
Apart from a new coat of paint for the inside of our homes, and polishing the floors, cleaning the windows and doors, there was nothing else to be done but to move in. And then I found what ‘having time’ really meant! The kids were away at school all day, Jean-Paul was back home only at six, and I had plenty of time and money now – there was no mortgage to take care of, Jean-Paul’s job was as stable as it could be, and there was no need to pick up clothes at the local thrift shop anymore. I even splurged on the occasional spa treatment. Whoo!
This time, we invested in some more solid furniture, and we also got ourselves some great motorized Norman Wooden Shutters online. We had done a lot of research before we arrived at this product, and it is reminiscent of the shutters we had back home where we grew up. Life does come full circle, doesn’t it?
In addition to lending a truly sophisticated yet warm feel to our home, the motorized shutters proved to be great energy savers as well. The PerfectTilt feature of the shutters ensured that the vanes were closed tight to allow us optimal privacy and protection when we desired, and the vanes could be programmed to tilt according to the sun’s trajectory, saving the interiors from sun rot that was a hassle up here in the high altitude of the northern hemisphere. Thankfully, we have windows that are operable, yet in fabulous repair, so in tandem with the motorized Sussex shutters, we had no air seepage. And with the heating months round the corner, the shutters will prove to be a blessing to harvest the winter sun. The bifold shutters made it possible for me to fold the shutters away from the windows for an unobstructed view outside, and to clean the windows without them getting in the way. For the doors, I had the snap-on panels installed.
The shutters are also finished with an Optimal antimicrobial treatment to guard against airborne microbes, and the curing and drying process assured by its Prescription Wood Conditioning guarantees that the wood’s moisture content matches that of the region in which they are installed, ensuring the wood’s long term structural integrity. So I even got them installed in the bathrooms though to be on the safe side, I opted for the Woodbury Aquashield, built with advanced polymers that are ideal for high moisture areas.
I’ve never been more content. Downsizing is becoming imminent in today’s busy world, and Kudos to all those who are making the change!