I’m a natural light fanatic. After a few overcast days, I morph into Mr. Grumpy Pants. And this whole daylight savings business is a load of bollocks. Who cares if it’s dark in the morning when you’re groggy anyway? Given my innate craving for natural light, it’s only with great reluctance that I install window coverings in my place of residence. It took nearly two years for me to put blinds in our last house, even though the bedroom was ground level and street-facing.
At the Ordinary House, I’ve spent more time removing window coverings than installing them. But we face a similar visibility problem in our new master suite. It’s upstairs, but nearly every window has a line of sight to the street. This means that we either tuck into a corner to get dressed, or fumble around in the dark in an effort to avoid scandalizing the neighborhood. But, sometimes you want to shuffle around the bedroom in your boxer shorts and Bugs Bunny slippers with complete confidence that the neighbors aren’t watching.
Add in Weezie’s need to catch Z’s during daylight hours after overnight shifts, and it’s clear that our need for privacy and light control wins out over my craving for sunlight. Late this summer, when Louis was rousted by sunrise at 4:00 a.m., sleep deprivation forced the issue.
Our desire for permanent, effective and easily controllable window coverings led us to one obvious solution: shutters. Rather than face the hard sell and inflated prices of local dealers, I decided to order our shutters online from The Shutter Store. I was attracted to the site by reasonable prices and extensive customization options. The day after I submitted the order, a real person called to confirm the details. Then, we waited…
…and waited, and waited, and waited. Nearly ten weeks after clicking “order”, the first pair of shutters arrived. Now, I realize they were probably shipped on the slow boat from Guangdong Province, but two-and-a-half months is insufferably long in the age of streaming video and Amazon Prime. Sadly for us, we only ordered one pair of the five we need so that we could be sure we liked them before committing to the full order.
Fortunately, the shutters were worth the wait. They’re solid poplar, painted a crisp white with chrome hardware. The installation was quick and relatively straight-forward.
The first step was to assemble a three-sided frame with bowtie-shaped plastic pegs.
Then, I lifted the frame into place and screwed it to the window jamb, using nickels to space the frame away from the sash to maintain operability of the window.
The shutters were affixed to the frame with hinge pins. A few shims here and there to adjust to the old house wonk, and voilà! Beautiful plantation shutters.
The two-and-a-half inch louvers are large, allowing decent views out and plenty of natural light in. When closed, they do a good job of knocking down the light levels. One option that The Shutter Store offered that was important to me was the ability to adjust the height of the mid-rail. Our upstairs windows have unequal sashes – note how the rail aligns with the meeting point of the sashes on the window.
With any luck, in just ten more weeks, we’ll be able to turn our room from sun-drenched to somnolent with the flick of a tilt rod.