Your Home’s Desperate Cry for Color

If I were the shutter patrol and collected $1 fines for every house that committed “shutter foul,” I would be rich.

What is “shutter foul,” you ask? It’s when the shutters adjacent to a window aren’t large enough to close over the window. You’ve seen it. Three windows joined together (also known as “mulled” or “married”) making nine feet of glass area with two 12-inch shutters on either side. No, no, no!

22 ft dormer 512 or 712 RP Shutters

As with most things, to cure something, you have to identify it and understand the cause. When shutter foul occurs, it’s usually not because someone is trying to add a proper architectural element. Oftentimes, adding shutters is how homeowners (and sometimes professionals) choose to add a pop of color or visual interest to the look of their home. So many houses built today are covered in one of the more than forty different shades of white or beige, forcing the use of shutters as a last resort for incorporating color. Most of us homeowners are desperate for color—and end up sacrificing architecture in order to live in a house that isn’t just ordinary looking.

So – what’s the solution to shutter foul? Add color to the main body of the house. Think about exterior color differently. Instead of just three colors (body, trim and accent), think four: main body, secondary body, trim and accent. If your house has siding, you can vary the siding profile and the color – even incorporate stone –  to give it some dimension.

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For a Craftsman-style house, try Pebblestone clay siding (main body) and Sedona Red shakes (secondary body). If your house is a Folk Victorian, try Amber siding (main body) and Wedgewood board and batten (secondary body).

Notice, I’m not messing around: I’m talking about really adding color – not just more atypical shades of beige, but real, vibrant color! With color on the main body, the accent shades can be on the front door and gable vents, instead of slapping on a brightly-colored shutter that doesn’t fit the window.

If you’re set on shutters, only do them on single (not married or mulled) windows. Then, select shutters that are one half the window’s size. So a 3 foot window gets a pair of 18-inch shutters.

There’s a chance that I’ll never cure shutter foul completely, but I hope to at least raise awareness of the issue…and of course, knowing is half the battle. Because, I believe that if as homeowners and pro’s we can recognize shutter foul for what it really is—a plea to add life and vibrancy to your home—then it’s easily remedied with some color and texture.