Shutter History - help with your window treatment decision


The History of Shutters

The origins of these classic window coverings date back to the nineteenth century when they were actually used as window coverings in the harsh environment of tropical plantations. In the mid 1970’s, they began showing up in residential homes, gaining in popularity over the past two decades to become the most sought after of all window coverings. They have proved to be timeless decor not only because of their grace and elegance but also their extreme functionality and easy maintenance. They provide great style and appealing effects as the sun’s ray’s shine through.

Shutters will enhance any décor, lending themselves to both traditional and contemporary motifs. Opened, they create a spacious quality, while enhancing even the most breathtaking views. Closed, they give warmth, privacy, ventilation and protection from the elements, while protecting furniture, rugs and hardwood floors from sun damage.

Wood shutters are an investment, and should be thought of as fine furniture. They are the only window coverings that are appraised into the value of your home. Their rich natural appearance makes them a perfect choice to beautify and add value to your home.

Traditional and Plantation Shutters

A traditional shutter is the old style, 1 1/4 inch louvered shutter in a 3/4 thick frame. It was widely used in the North Eastern region of the country where windows were small. Sometimes there were “café height” shutters in kitchen windows. Other times they were full height. Windows in the Northeast were typically small in area because glass was not very insulating. The Traditional Shutters looked and operated well on small windows.

Plantation shutters first got their name from the old plantations in the South. The louvers used in the South were “wider” than traditional shutters and the shutters were put on the outside of the house. These were movable louvered shutters used both for decoration and protection from the elements when closed over the windows.

During the population boom in California in the 1950's, homes were built with large glass windows because thermal efficiency was not an issue. Homeowners wanted a “view” through their windows. Shutter manufacturers introduced wide louvered shutters to be installed inside the house as a window covering. These were in contrast to “traditional” shutters and the wide louvers were called “California Shutters” or “Plantation Shutters”. These Plantation Shutters allowed people to open the louvers for the “View” or close the louvers at night for privacy. It soon became obvious that a plantation shutter, when the louvers were closed, kept the heat from the sun out during the day and the use of plantation shutters grew throughout the Sun Belt to Arizona, Texas and Florida where the population was growing wild. The name “Plantation Shutter” stuck and today it generally means a wide louvered shutter used as an interior window covering.


Before you make your buying decision on shutters for your home, get educated! You are in control! Shutters are available in several distinct levels of construction and finish quality, and understanding these differences is critical to your purchasing decision. The right quality shutter will last for decades, so a costly mistake is to purchase shutters that are different from what you expect as they will be there for a long time. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is quite apropos in the world of plantation shutters.

Custom Designed Shutters

Our salesmen/designers have the knowledge and experience to help you design each individual shutter panel for optimum appearance, fit, finish and function. Every element is custom so you can match your shutters to your room's personality. The following will help you decide on choosing the correct shutter:

1. What size and style of shutter louver design do you want?

We offer a wide variety of sizes and shapes Traditional louvers are 1-1/4 inches wide and come in 2 shapes Plantation style louvers can be Elliptical louvers and Bullnose or Classic flat Louvers Plantation louvers come in sizes 2-1/2", 3-1/2", 4-1/2". To decide which is best for your home, you need to take into account the look you want to achieve, the depth of the window, the view, the architecture and interior design of your home. Remember, the wider the louver, the wider the “site-line” and more “depth to glass” is needed.

2. What type of finish do you want for your shutter?

We build the shutters to your exact specifications, and we finish them to your specifications too. Painted? Your shutters can be painted to custom match your trim and molding or painted with a contrasting color or you may want to paint them white to highlight the shutters. Stained? Do you want your shutters stained to match your floors, furniture or cabinetry? Smooth or Textured? Do you prefer the smooth finish or the textured sand blasted look? The textured look has been driven by manufacturers as the finish quality is less critical and the quality of wood is less apparent. It was a way to make cheaper shutters. We do not see much demand for textured product anymore.

3. What species of wood do you want to use?

Most of our painted shutters are made from Basswood. Basswood is the “nickname” of the American Linden tree. It is by far the most widely accepted wood for interior shutters. We take our stewardship seriously. The Basswood we use comes from Wisconsin and Michigan. The winters in the upper Midwest are severe allowing the trees to go completely dormant for a significant period of time. This produces growth rings closer together and denser wood. Our wood comes solely from State Certified Forest Lands in the Upper Midwest which comply with both FSI and FSC standards. After cutting it is then dried to very specific drying tables to remove the moisture and stabilize the wood. Basswood accepts both stain and paint very well because of the fine even texture and straight grain. Our shutters are made to the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as fine wood furniture.

4. How thick do you want the shutter panels to be?

This is usually dictated by the window depth. We make panels 1-1/16” & 1-1/8". The Classic bullnose louvered shutter fits best in a 1-1/16” thick stile and rail. The 2-1/2", 3-1/2”, & 4-1/2” tapered louvers typically utilize 1-1/8” for the utmost in integrity.

5. How do you want the shutters installed?

Do you prefer a picture frame style where the shutters are mounted outside the window pocket or do you want to show your existing moldings and mount them inside the window pocket? Your decision will be influenced by the size of the louver and panel thickness that you have decided on. We have a variety of frames to choose from that best suits your home. Installing outside the window pocket can open up the window more by putting the hanging strips and at least some of the stiles and rails outside the window. This removes some of the solid wood pieces from the glass area increasing your light and view area. It is also forgiving for out of square windows. Installing inside the window puts all the stiles and rails over the glass which block out light and view but keeps your shutters off your walls and inside the window. Squareness of the window becomes a factor and your shutter may need to be “pre-fit” prior to finishing.

6. How big or small do you want the stiles and rails on your shutters?

Every step is custom made to your specifications. We don't carry an inventory of ready-made panels or components. Instead, we make each shutter to your specifications and no stock pieces are used. Your stiles and rails should align with the existing window mullions. Do you prefer small stiles so as not to block light or do you need wide stiles to get the louvers clear of window cranks? Do you prefer the look of a drop rail shutter for the utmost in architectural detail. It all depends on your decor and your preference.

7. Which way will the panels to open and how many panels do you want to see?

This decision is dictated by the width of the window and what surrounds it. How often are you going to fold back the panels? Is there clear wall space to both sides or only one? Is there furniture close to the window making a sliding design more manageable? Do you open the windows often? Is the door used often for egress?

8. How do you want the louver string to be designed?

Do you want to see the conventional tilt bar, or do you prefer the hidden tilt bar? We have a hidden metal tilt bar for painted shutters and make a color coordinated hidden bar for your stained panels. Do you want a divider rail so you can close the top and bottom sections independently? Where do you want the split? We also offer the sectioned tilt bar with no divider rail so that when both top and bottom louvers are in the open position, there is not a blank spot caused by a solid center rail in your line of site.

9. What kind of tension system do you prefer?

We offer an adjustable tension screw that can fine-tune the louver tension when needed. Self-lubricating nylon pins are used on all louvers to allow for smooth opening and closing.

10. What shutter hardware finish do you want?

Do you want the hinges to contrast with the panels, match your existing door or window hardware, or disappear with a matching color? We offer many different hinge finishes including paint, powder coated to match paint colors, antique brass, bright brass, polished chrome, nickel and oil rubbed bronze.


Craftmanship in Manufacturing and Construction of Wood Shutters

Variations in construction quality can be found in every part of the shutter panel, from material selection, joints, tension systems, hardware, finish and installation. The right quality shutter will last for decades.

Type of wood: Our shutters are made to the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as fine wood furniture. However, unlike your furniture at home, much of which is likely constructed of a substrate material, veneered in only a thin layer of wood, pressed or finger joint material, our shutters are all 100% solid wood.

All our interior shutters are manufactured from the finest quality solid Basswood where the saw mills produce a more stable product using kilns that dry the Basswood to specifications that exceed Hardwood Industry standards, which include bringing the wood down to a final moisture content of between 6% and 10%, and where the color is more consistent because in these colder climates, the lumber does not pick up minerals from the soil as they would in warmer regions.

Basswood is the preferable hardwood chosen for quality shutters because of its outstanding machinability, screw holding and gluing ability, structural stability and even grain characteristics.

Production Process: We don’t carry an inventory of ready-made panels or components. Instead, we make each shutter to your specifications and no stock pieces are used.

Our factory facility is designed to allow efficient in-line production, inspection, finishing and pre-framing processes. Dimensions of machined materials are checked with digital readout calipers providing the accuracy that is required to make our panels meet your size specifications and at the same time be uniform to each other. All component parts are inspected and detailed in every phase of the assembly process. Tools and machinery are calibrated and adjusted often to assure that tolerances are correct and each component part of every shutter is precisely made to fit exactly. We take great pride in the design and quality of our shutters, and we won’t sacrifice our high standard of quality we have maintained for so many years.

Stiles and Rails, as well as hanging strips are “book matched” for color consistency in all stained shutters. Stiles are available in a variety of different profiles and dimensions so as to create the perfect panel by aligning with your existing window sash. Inner-panel stiles are rabetted for perfect light seal. All inner and outer panels utilize butteryfly hinges to ensure tight light seals. While top and bottom rails are the same height for panel integrity and consistency.

3/8” x 2” fluted dowels are glued on 1” centers.(minimum of four per joinery of stiles to rails). In addition, 4”screws are inserted into each rail joint to ensure panel squareness for a lifetime.

All panels utilize butterfly hinges to ensure tight light control. Hinges are available in powder coated to match paint, antique brass, bright brass, polished chrome, Nickel, oil rubbed bronze.

Our patented Louver Connector are used to attach the louvers to the tilt rod to eliminate staple pullouts and allow for a smooth and unison adjustment of louver angle. It is a much more durable system that traditional staples which are our industries Achilles heal. Inconsistent holding power at the staple location is to be expected. The wood grain varies throughout the tree. This results in some traditional staples holding better than others. Our part is barbed and inserted over 1” into a precision drilled hole. It will not be bothered by varying grain structure. It just works. As it is the first part ever engineered for just this operation.

Self-lubricating nylon pins are used on all louvers to allow for smooth opening and closing. In additions, standard on all panels is a tension screw, which allows for easy and convenient adjustment of louver tension, so as to maintain the desired opening. Two screws on all double hung and cut tilt rod panels. Unlike spring tensions, this allows tension to be adjusted to a desired level with very easy accessibility.

Elliptical and Classic bullnose shaped louver blades, also milled from top grade Basswood, conveniently control natural light, allow for temperature control and provide natural beauty. Louvers are available in the following sizes: 2-1/2”, 3-1/2”, & 4-1/2”.

All panels are held closed with discrete embedded steel disc magnets. 100% metal will not be affected by UV light breakdown. Traditional white or brown kitchen cabinet plastic magnets will eventually succumb to sun rot and fail.


The Shutter Installation Process

To assure the perfect fit, all our projects are installed by our in-house professional team. No sub-contractors or “square footage” installers are used.

We are known for product quality, but we’re also passionate about customer service as well as quick and reliable delivery. Our business thrives on referrals from satisfied customers who order additional shutters or refer us to their friends and family. It is not unusual for us to install for multiple generations within the same family or multiple homes for the same customer.

Our employees, working from a state of the art facility, have the design and production expertise, along with their know-how and interest to produce the finest quality product for your home.

Finishing Expertise

We not only build the shutters to your exact specifications, but we finish them to your specifications too.

All our panels and component parts go through an elaborate detailing and sanding process by industrialized machines, before prime coat is applied, and then again between subsequent coats of finish. A 13 head sander makes your shutter as smooth as a baby’s backside.

All painted panels receive nitro cellulous lacquer paint (no water based), with UV inhibitors and non-yellowing properties for a much more durable and long lasting finish. Our proprietary Electrostatic finishing process lays 7 coats of finish on every panel. Each coat is baked between applications flowing out the finish to make a buttery smooth surface. A protectant UV top coat is applied last.

Our finishing personnel are experts in custom stains and paint matches.

All finishes are inspected for quality prior to pre-framing and installation.

Stained panels are first dipped and then hand wiped to blend the finish uniformly and bring out the natural beauty of real wood. A layer of sealer is then sprayed on the entire panel.


Our shutters are crafted to accommodate the needs and desires of the most discriminating customer. Their function and design solve decorating problems and help you achieve an entirely different personality in every room.

We are equipped to custom build shutters to fit any type or shape opening. Whether your décor calls for a fine furniture stain finish or a trim matched paint we are as versatile as your flair for design.

With an advanced kiln drying technique and stock thickness of nearly an inch and a eighth, our Northern Basswood will withstand even the harshest environments. From a blistering Southern California summer to a frigid Colorado winter our shutters are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

The most important value of shutters is their extreme durability. The life expectancy of shades, curtains and blinds are cut short when continuously exposed to the sun. Materials like PVC plastic and cellular shade fabrics are damaged by exposure because they lack the ability to channel light. Shutters by their very design diffuse heat by tilting the louvers in an open or closed position. To increase the superior insulating quality of wood we have also added a specially formulated nitrocellulose finish that not only stands up to UV rays but will not fade or change color.

Choosing shutters means more than dressing your windows. They are an investment in quality of life. We know of no other treatment that offers such a classic appeal. The longevity, durability and ease of use are unmatched, and our after sales service insures a lifetime of trouble-free enjoyment. Most importantly, however, our prices make shutters an affordable addition to your home.


The Highest Quality

The aesthetic appeal of shutters is without question a motivating factor when it comes to considering them for your home.

There are, however, a great deal of ancillary benefits that come with your purchase. Light plays a major role in our quality of life. The ability to control how much or how little we are subjected to is perhaps the best reason for choosing shutters. Unlike any other product, the position of your louvers can be adjusted in an infinite number of ways to enhance the mood of any room. Whether you desire full light, darkness or just enough light to keep the room vibrant, your shutters are designed to perform.

Wood is also an inherently good insulator. By their very nature, shutters will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They continue to be the only window covering with a quantifiable “R” factor. In fact, many of our customers have noticed such a significant difference that they have actually had a decrease in their energy bills.

The Final Touch

Wood-working skills are an important part of our business. Proper installation is the key to ensuring that your shutters look and fit the way they were designed to. Each member of our installation staff has had a minimum of 4000 hours in factory time before entering the ranks as a member of the “installation” team. The ability to overcome even the most perplexing window problems is a talent that must be mastered before even entering the field. We go to great lengths to produce a superior product. Professional installation is an important step in the process of earning your satisfaction as one of our customers.


Many synthetic shutters use "wood" in their name, but most contain no wood, usually called “Faux Wood Shutters” or “Poly Wood”. Made from stock size components with few if any color options, synthetic shutters are made from petroleum based non-renewable resources. Like most things made from plastic, synthetics look, feel, sound and smell like plastic. Because they are relatively new there is limited customer satisfaction experience.

Unlike wood, synthetics are heavy and tend to sag easily under their own weight. Synthetics are less costly to manufacture than real wood which explains why many companies will recommend plastic over wood. Synthetic shutter manufacturers and marketers claim that their plastic shutters will not warp, chip, crackle or peel, generally implying that these are qualities of wood. Quality wood shutters will not warp, chip, crackle, peel or turn yellow.

We are committed to offering our clients the finest shutters on the market. When it comes to wood vs. plastic there is no substitute for the real thing.

You have to wonder why they add some element of wood in the name of their product – Faux wood? Polywood? Wonderwood? Woodlore?

Trendy plastics and poly woods will come and go but basswood has always been and will continue to be the standard for quality shutters that are environmentally friendly and built to last.

(623) 889-5997    -      5620 N. 53rd Avenue, Glendale, Az 85301