Let’s talk about shutters! In France, shutters are very functional. Households will open them each morning, and shut them in the evening. They use shutters for privacy, black-out light control, and to manage heat in the summer. And it’s not just France. Many European countries use shutters daily — Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Switzerland and more. Interestingly, shutters are not common in the UK or Scandinavia.
In Instagram Stories, I shared updates about our shutters and did a demonstration of how the shutters work and the differences between our wood shutters and metal shutters. I ended up getting tons of questions from Americans who have not used shutters and were curious about all sorts of things (screens? curtains?). So I answered some of the questions in Stories as well.
And then, I started getting questions from Europeans who were confused why Americans didn’t know about shutters, (hah!) and also wondering what “screens” were (because they’re not common in every part of Europe). So I answered those questions too.
Here are the slides I first shared:
Here is the demonstration of how the shutters work, plus more Q&A:
It’s been such a fun cultural exchange! I’ve learned a ton — like how there are a few places in the U.S. that do have functional shutters, but they are mostly used for hurricanes. I also learned shutters are common in Argentina, Brazil, and Japan. I learned that in the south of France, where there are more bugs, screens are becoming more popular. One of the most interesting things I learned is that in the Netherlands (maybe just in Amsterdam?), it can be common to have NO window coverings at all and people can look right into your home. I was told if you are covering your windows, apparently it implies you are hiding something.
I’d love to hear: Have you ever lived in or visited a place that had functioning shutters? Did you embrace the morning/evening shutter ritual? Or just ignore the shutters? (I received quite a few messages from Americans who studied abroad in Europe and said their host family thought they were strange because they never closed the shutters to their bedroom. Hah!) Do you think you would enjoy shutters? Or do they seem like a bother? I want to hear your shutter stories.
P.S. — More Tall House updates.