Like plantation shutters, exterior window shutters seem to have their beginnings in Ancient Greece. Believe it or not, these shutters were actually designed first for the inside of a home before they were designed for the outside of a home—not the other way around. These original interior Greek shutters were made from marble, and then eventually wood once the demand for these shutters rose significantly. The original purpose of these shutters was to provide protection against the Mediterranean climate. (You can read more about these early plantation shutters in our blog post about the history of plantation shutters.) These original shutters would soon feature a louver that would allow the shutter slats to be moved upward and downward to control light and ventilation. Shutters pointed downward could shelter against rain, and closed shutters could provide privacy as needed.
Fast forward to Tudor England, the turn of the sixteenth century. Glass at this time was still an expensive luxury, and many windows featured only a glass pane on the top half, with shutters installed on the bottom half. These shutters were often made simply of wooden boards, and the shutter would be opened and closed to let in air and light as needed. Closed shutters would offer security, privacy, and insulation against extreme temperatures. Soon in the 1700s, once windows commonly began to feature glass on both the top and bottom panels, interior shutters would be used increasingly as a decorative element that covered the top and bottom panes, in addition to being functional.
Exterior shutters did not really become commonplace on homes until the eighteenth century. They became especially common in the Victorian era in England, when homes began to feature thinner walls (made of timber rather than stone or brick). With thinner walls, reaching out through the window to open and close shutters became a practical option. These early exterior shutters could be either raised solid panels or louvered shutters (often termed “blinds” at this time). They were mounted off to the side of the window casing. Often the shutters on the bottom floor would be solid panels to provide privacy, while the shutters on the top floor would be “blinds” to let sunlight and air stream through during warmer months.
Of course, most exterior shutters you see on homes today are installed purely for aesthetic purposes, especially with the many advancements that have been made in windows and window treatments. We at Wasatch Shutter, of course, specialize in custom interior plantation shutters for homes. Contact us today to find out how we can custom-fit beautiful interior shutters to your home’s windows.