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Plantation Shutters

What are “Plantation Shutters”?

We talk a lot about plantation shutters, but what exactly are “Plantation Shutters”?

The first thing to know is that “Plantation Shutters” doesn’t necessarily refer to one kind of shutters. Like many industry design terms, there are multiple ways to describe a “Plantation Shutter”. Plantation Shutters is usually indicative of Louver (slat) size, but frustratingly it has also been used to refer to Shutters in general. 

Traditional Shutters commonly refers to small louvered, small paneled shutters. These kinds of shutters are most common in the Northeast and upper midwestern United States. The size of these louvers usually fall between 1 1/4″ and 1 7/8′. However, shutters with louvers up to 2 1/2″ (which we carry) are also included in this description. These shutters are built in a style called “Cafe” style. This means they cover only the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of a window, and have very narrow panels. 

The term Plantation Shutters on the other hand, is typically associated with shutters that are around 3 1/2″ and 4 1/2″. Shutters in this style are more common south of the Mason-Dixon line and in the Western United States like Arizona and California (both states big on shutter states). These types of shutters are also known as California style shutters. Plantation shutters (examples in our galleries) often have larger panels, one shutter can often cover an opening 36″ tall. At their longest, they can cover an opening up to 72″ tall.  

We sell more Plantation shutters because it’s more in demand and out machinery accommodates it best. We do, however, still do the traditional shutter if a customer requests it and is willing to pay for it. 

In addition to wanting small louvers, these customers also: 

  • have large projects (not a one off scenario),
  • need a special wood
  • have unique specifications (special panel thickness, louvers fixed at a certain angles) that other shutter companies don’t want to mess with.

Transome Rake Windows (aka Triangle Windows) with Plantation Shutters

Transom Windows can inspire a love/hate relationship with their owners, especially if they are specialty shapes, such as triangle windows.

No doubt  rake windows (aka triangle windows)  add architectural interest and loads of natural light.  This is why homeowners, architects and the like are drawn to them.  However, they also allow heat and damaging UV rays into a home, often increasing energy costs in peak summer months.

Many window treatments solutions for rake windows help solve some of these problems by covering up the triangle windows with a fixed treatment.  This means, while it may look like your other window treatments, it doesn’t operate and is set in one position.  Therefore, in times of the year when the extra light and warmth provided by transom windows would be beneficial, these treatments can’t maximize this value.

Is there a better solution.  Yes!

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Plantation Shutters Compliment Clean Lines

Occasionally I will hear… “Shutters are too traditional for my space.”  Like any good design element, shutters are versatile enough to fit most a variety of  interiors.

It comes down to making the correct selections for your final vision of the space when they are ordered.  Something an experienced shutter consultant will be sure to help you accomplish.

The project featured below was designed to compliment a craftsman style interior.  Clean, crisp lines were in order.  To that end the shutters were ordered without the standard tilt rod and boast a hidden tilt instead.  The cut out for the doors lever radius was also modified.  Instead of our standard rounded cut out, we used a square cut out to better compliment the lines of the home.

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Bahama Style Exterior Shutters by Kirtz Shutters create Privacy

This homeowner found her deck was no longer a private retreat for her family due to new construction in her neighborhood.  Looking for a tasteful, long term solution she browsed the web until she found information about our Bahama Style Exterior Shutter.    A conversation began via email and since she was so close to our shop, we handled the project turn key.

  • Shutters are built from Cypress, which is a long lasting choice for exterior products
  • The color is custom to match to the deck stain, which was Sherwin Williams Deckscapes, Hawthorne
  • Hardware is fully functional
  • Louver size is 3″- which is a nice scale for this size panels (apx 35 x 72″), but provides limited visibility when opened.  Not a concern for this homeowner since the whole point of the shutters was to block the new less than desirable view

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Plantation Shutters in Modern Design

This project is one of my favorites, as it show how versatile plantation shutters can be.  They are right at home in this distinctly modern interior.   The design work was done by David Smith Ltd, a firm based out of Chicago.    I love working with these men– they are detail oriented and precise in the vision they have for their clients.

In this space…

3 1/2″ louvers were used to maximize the view, as this is a lakefront property.

Built out of white oak, Kirtz hardwood shutters were custom stained to match the hardwood flooring in the home.

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