Since plantation shutters are a custom product, there are many variables in their design. The Category discusses some of the options, and what makes for a great finished product.

Kirtz Plantation Shutters with VERTICAL LOUVERS

This job was running through our finish department and I just had to share!  We’ve never done ANYTHING like it before.  It is two plantation shutter panels meant to install with the 5 1/2″ louvers running vertically (two firsts for us!).  These panels are massive with 2 panels 62″ high x 84″ .   They will sit side by side in a wood opening and will be doweled together on-site during installation.   Did I mention they are a custom stained red oak?

These go in a funeral home, and the idea is to offer privacy for the family, but still allow them to see out into the chapel where the service is held.    We used a hidden tilt bar so that there are no interruptions in the sight line for the family.  Notice the two bottom pics.  The louvers are set partially open. Notice how one side offers visibility while the other angle privacy?

More photos showing how these look in the room setting will be added once they are installed.

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Distressed Shutters, and Specialty Finishes on Plantation Shutters

Recently we have worked on a number of projects that have required specialty multi-step finishes.  Distressed Shutters have been especially popular lately.   This is one of my favorite things that we do, because we do it very well.    Lots of kudos must be given to the head of our finish department, Allen.   He has both the skill and the willingness to do this type of work.

How does this process work?

Any time we match a finish we request a physical sample.  This is incredibly important in specialty finishes because each finish is unique.   Did the original finisher have a heavy hand, or a light hand when he wiped off the glaze?  What tool was used to do the distressing?  A wire brush?  Chains?  A wheel?  There are an incredible number of variables, and since these shutters are often going up against millwork or paneling, it is critical to get a good match.

So we bring a sample that shows the finished look,  and the stain department does a strike-off (or sample) of their ability to replicate the finish on your plantation shutters.  This is then provided to the homeowner/designer for their approval.  Once approved, we proceed with the finish work.  Distressed, glazed, antiqued and sand thru finishes are going to have a longer than average lead time, due to the complexity of the finish.  But just like fine wine, it’s worth the wait.

Here are just a couple of photos of specialty finishes that have gone through our factory lately.

stained, distressed red oak shutters

stained, distressed red oak shutters

exterior shutters with a sand through finish

exterior shutters with a sand through finish

painted and glazed knotty alder result in an antique distressed look

painted and glazed knotty alder result in an antique distressed look

As nice as these distressed and specialty finished shutters look, they are all an effort to duplicate an old world look.  And the best way to get an authentic old work look is to use old wood.

Enter wormy chestnut……

For a history of this wood, see this link to our site http://kirtz.preview.interworks.com/hardwoods/wormy-chestnut.html
The short version of the story is its old, like 100 years old.  So all that patina and distressing was actually earned by the wood through years of use.  Pretty cool, huh?   The picture below shows wormy chestnut shutters with a tobacco hued stain.  It looks great with a clear finish too, but this stain really gives it some nice warmth.  This wood, more than any other wood, is one that people gravitate towards when we put it on display.
wormy chestnut with a tobacco finish
Another wood that gives a nice authentic decayed look is Pecky Cypress. This wood has been attacked by a fungus that eats the wood.  This in turn makes lens shaped pockets throughout the tree.  The result is a very attractive multi-dimensional wood.   We treated this pecky cypress hardwood shutter with a heavy black glaze, thus intensifying the appearance of variation of the surface.
Pecky Cypress with a glazed finish

Pecky Cypress with a glazed finish

This is just a sampling of our work that I could pull up quickly this afternoon to show the variety in finishing techniques we use.  If you don’t see what you are after, that is only because you haven’t asked us to build (and finish) it yet.  Give us a call and lets see what we can do for you!

Plantation Shutters as Doors and Partitons

Plantation shutters can and are often used as interior doors and partitions.   This is especially true in commercial applications.    The primary reason louvered doors are often use is to provide privacy, or create a definitive space, and still allow for air circulation.    Dressing rooms and bathrooms stalls are both areas that you might frequently see a louvered door in commercial buildings.

In a residential application, these are frequently seen as doors in closets, water closets, or between rooms.. ie kitchen to dining.

Important things to know when using shutters as doors-

1)  consider depth ~ if the door is going into a door jamb opening, pay attention to the depth of your jamb.  For a water closet or closet door a standard shutter depth will usually suffice (Kirtz standard depth is 1 1/4″), but a standard interior door is usually 1 3/4″.  Be sure to choose a manufacture that can provide this custom depth (Kirtz can, and frequently does this depth of shutter)

2) consider design ~ will the appearance of a standard shutter work?  Many plantation shutter manufactures use a drop rail construction.  This means that the rail (horizontal solid member) is not as deep as the stile (vertical side member)  of the shutter.  Doors typically have a flush stile and rail configuration (all the same depth).  If this is your preference, be sure to specify it.

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Arch Windows & Plantation Shutters

Many new homes today have arch windows, often called eyebrow windows.  Most often they are used on the front of a home, to add architectural appeal.  When the homeowner moves in, they often discover that charming window doesn’t come with any easy solution when it comes to window treatments.      One of the best solutions is a plantation shutter.    It offers the best combination of light control (louvers are operable) and aesthetics (it compliment’s the shape of the window).

What makes a good quality arch shutter?  There are two key areas that make all the difference:

Proportion: Special shapes, like arches, take the greatest amount of skill to build, and it should be evident in the finished product.  The top part of shutter, called the rail, should stay the same width as it follows the arch top of the window.

Louvers: These should be moveable into the arch.  Do not be misled by manufacturers who take shortcuts, this is possible!

shutter arch without operable louvers

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