Not that we actually need to make this decision yet, but it’s never too early to fantasize. This week’s fantasy is finished windows to go in those lovely holes that are waiting for them. The question is window colour and – even further down the road – shutter colour.
We have some restrictions on our house due to its age and the area we’re in, but that’s fine by me. The choices for the windows are essentially white or wood. The shutters can be green, wood, or brown.
Here are a few pics to help you help me:
White windows can look nice and fresh against a mass of stone – although I think the brown shutters distract from that effect. I’m not a big fan of brown shutters.
Classic wood window with green shutters. The green does seem to balance all that natural tone quite nicely.
But then – even with a house that’s shut up – wood shutters are so subtle against stone. This is why I flip-flop about it so much.
This is a terrible shot, but you get to see wood versus green shutters together.
And I throw this in only to show the practicality of having shutters of classic Ligurian construction; they open in multiple partial configurations, like transformers, so you always get just the right mix of breeze and light. Ingenious.
Lauretta Santarossa said:
Shelagh, we were just in Genoa, La Spezia and le Cinqueterre a month ago and I was fascinated by the Ligurian shutters. We had them in our rooms at Le Ville Relais. It took a while to figure out how to open everything up and out but you won’t have that problem, I know. I don’t envy your decision. I am in awe of Luca’s analysis. That being said, I did like the chestnut! I guess it all depends on your particular stone and what you’d like to look out from and look at when you come home!
Indeed that’s the question – balancing maintenance with what we really want to look at. The aesthetics are more important to me, but even that’s not an easy call. The shutters are pretty great, aren’t they?
I like Luca’s comments about durability. It does look like white is one of the standards in your area. That’s a big part of my decision making because I’d want to remain historically and culturally consistent. I might hesitate about white only because it needs to be kept so clean to look good. I’m speaking from experience since my entire place is white on the exterior. I’m going to have to rebuild or replace shutters too but I think they are nearly last on my list. Mine are green and will remain so as the other buildings in our small town center are white with green doors and/or shutters.
Fortunately I still have lots of time before making this decision, because it’s proving difficult! I suppose that’s an indication that they are all good choices.
Debra Kolkka said:
I love our chestnut windows and shutters. The shutters are not up yet, but you can see them in the living room.
We also have wooden frames in our apartment in Bagni di Lucca. They do have to be maintained, but not all that often. We have the green louvered shutters and I think they look great. We could have opted for metal shutters, but that just didn’t seem right and we renovated the wooden ones instead.
Yes I saw the shutters in your photos. I’m not averse to a bit of maintenance but I do hear this comment about upkeep quite a bit. On the other hand, both the windows and the shutters make an extraordinary difference to the appearance, inside and out.
Well, for such building and environment I would absolutely avoid varnished wood for shutters, and I would not adopt it for windows as well.
There is a very practical reason and an aesthetic opinion too.
First, varnish is much more sensitive to UV decay than paint: even with the best quality polyurethane grades (marine grade), you have to renew the coating rather often, while paint is much more resistant to aging.
About appearance of varnished wood, the only sort of lumber that I find appropriate for Godvilla are oak and chestnut. Both are expensive, heavy (oak more than chestnut) and difficult to find properly dried. Spruce is cheap but ist grain is unattractive and often has ugly knots. Pine is totally wrong, and other species like tulipier or hemlock are questionable.
Exotic wood like teak are very durable but very expensive too, and look really odd.
In any case, I would use varnished wood only for a modern house
Therefore my choice would be cream-white painted windows and green painted shutters, both in the matt variety.
You can save money using well dried spruce lumber (preferably gluelam type, in order to avoid any age warping) maybe accepting some small and tight knot, and invest the saving in the very best primer and paint you can find.
The softly colored surfaces will match well the beautiful stone walls, and will respect the no-nonsense local tradition.
Thank you Luca, I know your opinions are always based on sound knowledge – and your own windows do look good. When are you going to send me photos of them so I can share?
With natural stone, I love the natural timber for both shutters and windows I have to say. Debra’s house has the most beautiful chestnut windows. I am still thrilled to have been able to see it for myself. I like the slightly darker timber look too. Decisions, decisions! I agree, it’s good to have some constraints sometimes. Jx
You see, I too like the look of wood, but Luca’s comment is completely valid. I can just imagine how confused I’m going to be when we need to make decisions about plaster (not just the type but the finish), floors, tiling, etc etc!
One step at a time. Enjoy the ride Shelagh!!! And we’re always here when you need us…;-)