The Performing Window Shutters.
The enigmatic shutters have lots of legends attached to them – through history, shutters themselves have earned a legendary status, and are one of the oldest window treatments invented by man, serving various home needs like providing security, light control, enhanced privacy, protection against extreme weather conditions while increasing visual appeal of a building. There are few window coverings that can match the versatile performance of window shutters.
The Marble Shutters of Greece.
Shutters are one of the oldest window treatments known to man. In fact, when marble slats were discovered in the ruins of the obliterated city of Pompeii, it came as a huge surprise to many. The marble slats were constructed to divert sunlight and create coolness in the homes of ancient Greece, but unfortunately only the wealthy and elite could afford them. Even with advanced technology of modern times, it is quite difficult for to make marble shutters, and it may not be conducive even to the rich. It was only when wood and other materials took over the place of expensive and hard to maintain heavy marble slats did shutters come within the common man’s reach. They were very popular as they provided light control and privacy without shutting out air circulation completely. Imagine how important this would have been in the days when homes did not have air conditioners.
In Greece, even to this day we find a fancy for fixed louvered shutters that have remained a part of their contemporary architecture. A good example can be seen on the island of Paros, a popular tourist attraction for its picturesque beauty and for its unique, whitewashed stone houses against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea.
Louis XIV, the Sun King.
When shutters were introduced in Europe, they soon underwent dramatic changes in the hands of an expert and skilled artisans. The French are credited with the popularization of movable louvered shutters, especially Louis XIV, the Sun King, who had his own agenda behind installing these shutters. The ‘louver’, referring to the adjustable slats in shutters is of French origin and may have been derived from the name of the former royal palace, The Louvre, which is now an art museum. During his long reign of 72 years and 110 days, Louis XIV renovated and improved many royal residences, including the Louvre.
In 17th century Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, he fell in love with the life in the country. He soon developed a fascination for watching the beautiful women of his court bathing in the ponds available in his garden. Men being men, his guards were distracted by the sight as well; this did not go down well with the Sun King. He had the movable louvered shutters installed around the garden walls to provide privacy for the women bathing in the garden from the guards. Louis is said to have continued his peeking by opening the shutters whenever he wished.
The Peeping Tom.
We all know the story of the Noble Lady Godiva, who took up the challenge of riding naked through the town of Coventry to spare the people from paying heavy taxes to her husband. With his permission, she sent out a word to the townspeople to avert their eyes and not look at her as she rode. Respecting her sacrifice for their cause, everyone stayed indoors and allowed her privacy on the roads. It is mentioned that a tailor named Thomas couldn’t help himself from taking a peek at Lady Godiva through the closed shutters of his home, giving birth to the phrase ‘Peeping Tom’.
Plantation Shutters in North America.
The Shutter fad made its way to North America when the Spanish started colonizing the continent. It is believed that the Spanish were the ones to introduce shutters to the New World. Soon the Americans, particularly those in the South, lovingly adopted these window treatments that were practically very useful in the large plantation manors. The shutters were changed to suit the manors on the cotton plantations by widening the louvers. The signature mark was also the white paint of these shutters.
The warm climate of South gave rise to many significant architectural elements like multilevel porches, backyard swimming pools, wide airy homes and plantation shutters. Protection from insects was also one of the crucial functions served by shutters during the time when diseases like malaria were quite prevalent.
Gradually the windows grew in size and numbers. It is believed that it was the taxes on doors levied in the nineteenth-century which led to the crazy trend of huge windows that could be opened and walked through without requiring increased taxes. The popularity of shutters in the plantation manors gave rise to the term ‘Plantation Shutters’.
Modern architects and designers integrate shutters in buildings for their aesthetic aspect as much as for the convenience they offer. Today shutters are available in wide range of shapes and sizes and can be created using several different materials. Their flexible designs allow you to fit them into any space of your home.
Renowned brands like Graber and Norman Shutters bring you stylish looking shutters from that are made from premium quality wood that are highly durable. You can now be quite particular about the perfect look that you want for your home since modern shutters are available in a number of colors. The different types of wood stains that these shutters are available in can help you get a uniform and coordinated look for the decor of your home. Using Graber Plantation shutters is one of the most classic ways of adorning and decorating your windows, since they are made of premium quality wood and ensure that they have a long lasting appeal to the overall look of these window coverings.
A wide range of customization possibilities ranging from the color of the shutters, louvers, hinges to the sizes of the slat and control will allow you to find a perfect match for your decor and practical requirements. You can further choose the angular tilt of the slats as per your choice and effortlessly tilt the shutters with the help of a remote control.
That is long way shutters have traveled from the times when they were heavy marble slats fitted on ancient windows.