Window shutters in Palo Alto, CA have a long and storied history in how people found innovative ways to protect their homes and their privacy. Although window shutters are considered a standard feature of homes now, their use was not so common initially.
Brief History of Window Shutters
The use of window shutters is first believed to have been in ancient Greece, where they were used for protection, light control, and ventilation. The Grecian window shutters were constructed of marble and had immovable louvers. As trading and commerce spread throughout the Mediterranean with the advent of ship-building and exploration by sea, the practice of using window shutters in homes spread from Greece abroad.
As the use of window shutters spread, changes were made in their designs. The first change was the switch from marble to wood, because they were easier to make, and as wood became the standard window shutter construction material, builders began to make louvers that could be opened and closed, allowing more control over light, ventilation, and privacy.
Window shutters had two functions in their early days. One function was to allow air from the outside in to cool the interior of the home. The other function was to control light – and heat – by having louvers that could be opened and closed based on what was happening outside – and to ensure a measure of privacy when the louvers were closed.
Because these window shutters were affixed to the outside of the house, they also created an effective rain guard: when the louvers were pointed down, rain would flow away from the interior of the house. Solid window shutters also became popular, because they provided good insulation and could protect the home from bugs coming inside. These shutters were wide open during the day, in warm weather, and were closed shut at night and during cold weather.
During the Middle Ages, windows in Europe were often rectangular (the width was longer than the height) and solid window shutters with a bar lock on the inside were common. During the Renaissance, glass windows came into use, but because glass was so expensive, only the most wealthy could afford to have them installed. Window shutters for light, ventilation, and privacy continued to be used by most people.
Once glass windows began to be mass-produced and the cost of having them installed became affordable for most people, interior window shutters began to be used in the application we see them used in today. While they still provided light control, ventilation, and privacy, they also became a part of the décor and style of the home.
The use of decorative outdoor window shutters did not begin until the Victorian era. As wood began to be used in home construction and windows were not deeply recessed into the houses, exterior window shutters gained popularity because they could be easily opened and closed from inside the house.
The Spanish brought window shutters to North America, and the South, languid and sultry from April to October, began to use plantation window shutters, characterized by their wide louvers, to cool their houses and keep the light from the heat of the day outside.
The rest of America used window shutters styled like those of Europe, with thinner louvers, and in the place of glass until it became affordable here.
If you’d like to learn about Hunter Douglas window shutters in Palo Alto, CA, you can speak with our experienced staff at Windows & Beyond, Inc. You can come to our showroom at 4020 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303, or you can call us at (650) 938-8822 for a free in-home estimate.