The history of plantation shutters
Today we’re looking into the history of plantation shutters. Plantation shutters are a common feature to many stately homes adding a sense of grandeur and beauty as a perfect finish to any property. Plantation shutters have always been very popular in the USA, Australia & South Africa but in recent years we have seen an influx of property owners in Europe looking for plantation shutters for their properties and especially in the south of Spain, along the Costa del Sol, have this shutter variety become ever so popular!
But did you know that shutters were brought to the Americas by the Spanish! They made their way across the world to become a “must have” in America before returning back to Europe to make a comeback in many Mediterranean countries as well as the more northern countries such as Holland, Belgium & Norway!
The origin of plantation shutters
Even though plantation shutters were brought to America by the Spanish, Spain didn’t “invent” the shutters. This credit is given to ancient Greece who were dealing with a strong winds coming in from the sea, they constructed shutters to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
We say “constructed” because the early shutter was not made of wood like you see today. They were constructed of marble with fixed louvers to not only protect the home from wind and cold, but also to protect the property from the destructive weather.
The marble shutters were later replaced by wood to allow movement between the slats and allow more ventilation in the home.
The name plantation shutters
Plantation shutters earned their name as they were first introduced to America to be used in many stately homes & mansions of the cotton plantations. Shutters provided the manors with cross ventilation during the intense summer heat and protecting it from the elements during harsh winters.
The evolution of plantation shutters
Once introduced to the south of America by the Spanish who were colonising America at this stage they soon moved across country as far as Australia & South Africa where the wooden plantation shutter evolved. The traditional wooden shutters however trace their roots to Elizabethan England where the narrower louver was used. Made of solid wood rather than slatted models that are common now, the historic shutters covered just the bottom part of a window and were closed using an iron bar. Contrary to the “wealthy status” shutter gave to the American mansions, in England shutters were less of a status symbol as shutters were only for those that could not afford windows which were doing their entry around that time.
It wasn’t until the 1700’s that shutters were once again a “must-have” amongst the riches when glass became more mainstream in windows and shutters were added to keep the sun from coming in and protect against the freezing temperatures in winter.
Initially the shutters were placed on the inside of windows as opposed to the outside to allow the user to open and close them from the inside. Chinese whispers say that the slanted shutters were designed by French king Louis XIV who used them to peep out and spy on the bathing ladies of the court!
Plantation shutters today
In this day & age, plantation shutters are used for many different buildings including stately homes but also apartments, offices and even studio flats. They can be used both interior & exterior and come in all kinds of shapes & sizes not to mention materials & colors. Whatever the colour, material or shape however, the Shutter is still regarded as a luxury addition to any home and can really drive up the value of any property.
Though still very popular in America, Australia & South Africa, they are becoming increasingly common in Europe too. And even though many people are now looking to add value to their home by installing the popular shutters, a good plantation shutter installer is hard to come by and not every window decorator will automatically be able to install plantation shutters. This is why Shutters in Spain is very busy with shutter installations in the South of Spain and is expanding its technical window dressing business further inland to ensure everyone in Spain can enjoy the benefits of Plantation shutters.
Do you have an interesting fact about plantation shutters? Let us know in the comments!