When we first finished painting the farmhouse, it became very apparent that something was missing. The house looked fresh and crisp with the new white stucco paint…but it was also resembling a big white box. I’ve always loved the look of black shutters on a white house, but when we started looking at custom shutters to fit the odd sizes, it was going to be a small fortune to outfit all 17 windows! The cheapest decent quality shutters we could find were $50 a shutter. We’re talking about over $1700 on shutters. No thank you.
That’s when we started researching how we could make them ourselves for less than $300 for the whole house. We could have come up with any design we wanted, but we both agreed that this design (three boards with three cross pieces) fit more with the style and era of the house.
We started with 1″ x 6″ pressure treated fence boards. The 5 foot lengths would work for the upper windows (which are shorter) and the 6 foot lengths could be cut down for the lower windows. When we bought our wood it was still very wet. A little time out in the sun helped them dry up a bit. We decided to build them while they were still damp, to prevent warping while they dried out more before painting.
To make the cross pieces, we ripped down some of the boards on the table saw and then cut them down the to width of the three long boards stacked side-by-side.
Every cross piece was sanded to give it a smooth edge, but we left the long boards as they were for a more rustic beveled edge look.
On our work table, we lined up three the cross pieces so that they were the same distance from the ends of the board, with the middle cross bar at dead centre.
The easiest way to do this consistently (and quickly) across so many shutters was to measure it once and then mark the workbench with the centre of where each cross board should go.
Then we carefully added on the right long board, making sure not to move around the cross pieces.
This was the hardest part – making it all line up!
Seeing as this is the back of the shutter, we screwed right through the long board into the cross piece. This gave a secure hold and you’ll never see the screws when it’s hung up.
Using a clamp at the bottom and top, we added on the other two boards, double checked that the cross pieces were still straight and then screwed the all the boards in place.
Once they had a chance to dry for about a week, we started to prime them on the front and sides.
I’m sure our neighbours were all wondering was we were doing with white shutters leaned up against a white house drying for a few days!
We chose Behr Marquee Exterior Paint in Limousine Leather (bottom right) in a semi-gloss finish to compliment the other colours of the house. I was still so nervous to paint that first shutter so dark. What if it was too high contrast?!?
Once we let one dry, Garrett held it up for me to see…and I was sold! Bring on the black paint!
To make hanging up the shutters easier, but dad put together a template for us so that we’d know exactly where to drill the pilot holes to hang the shutters up.
Then we laid a long bracket (actually a bed frame!) along the edge of the sill to make it easier to rest the shutters while we made sure they were level and lined up. Garrett drilled into the stucco and concrete wall with a hammer drill and concrete drill bit.
We used concrete screws to attach each shutters in four places on the wall. I went around afterwards and touched up the screw heads with black paint. You can’t even tell they are there anymore!
I’m so happy with how they turned out and how they finish the look. I swear it even makes the windows look bigger!
Once the porch is finished, I can pretty much guarantee that this is where you’ll find me every morning. I was even teasing my family this weekend when we were at Cracker Barrel in Pennsylvania that I want a set of those big wooden rocking chairs to sit right there.
This is such a welcome sight! White walls and black shutters – just like we envisioned. Stop by tomorrow to see how we updated the spring house and on Friday I’ll have a final reveal!
Amazing! They look great! I say go for those rocking chairs too, classic porch item!
Wouldn’t they look great? Either that or a porch swing!
I love the look of old farmhouses. All they need sometimes is a little love and they can really shine. Great work!
I love adding our piece to the history of the house, and thinking that we’re doing our part to keep it around for another 112 years so that others can enjoy it someday too.
Robbie H says
Checking to see how the pressure treated shutters have held up over time? I want to build some as well, but I didn’t know how well these would do over several years of weather?
Hi Robbie. They look the exact same as they did the year we built them, despite some pretty harsh weather conditions here in Ontario. We have had no chipping.