The salvage find featured this week is the old wooden shutter. Often found in matching sets, old wooden shutters are generally inexpensive and fairly common.
Some say the shutter originated in 17th century France. When Louis XIV lived at Versailles, one of his favourite pastimes was to admire the beautiful women as they bathed in ponds around his gardens. Rumour has it, after noticing that the women also attracted the attention of the soldiers stationed to protect the palace, Louis XIV had shutters installed around the garden wall. This allowed him to continue his peeping without worrying about a flustered army of men being distracted from their duties.
When looking for shutters, there is a wide range of colour, size and character to choose from. It is only important that the shutters be cleaned thoroughly and for any unnecessary hardware (such as hinges) to be removed. This is especially important if the shutter is going to be mounted on a wall. A coat of paint may be applied to freshen up the shutter and give it a more refined look, however, I prefer to keep the original paint for a more distressed, rustic look.
There are many different uses for shutters and they are an inexpensive way to add character to any home. A series of three tall, narrow shutters can be hinged together to create a room divider as seen in the photo above. Or, as seen in the second photo, a shutter can be suspended horizontally to create a floating shelf - perfect for a small end table or display shelf. I have mine mounted to my kitchen wall (below). It's used as a mail slot for various articles such as recipes, photos, old postcards and important invitations or letters. It's a great use of space without taking up a lot of room and it instantly adds personality to any space!