Exterior Progress: Shutters Installed On The Stone Side Of The House

The two front-facing windows on the stone side of the house finally have shutters. This was a much more difficult job than installing shutters on the Hardi siding on the studio, and the process was much more involved.

I made these shutters out of PVC boards the same way I made the ones for the studio. (You can click here to see how I made them.)

Because these windows are recessed into the stone, and since I wasn’t using actual shutter hinges, I couldn’t just attach the shutter hinges directly to the trim around the window. (You can click here to see how I installed the shutters on the studio windows.)

So before I could install the shutters, I had to add some trim that extended beyond the stone. I started by attaching some 1 x 4 pre-primed fingerjoint boards directly to the existing trim (which was wood covered in aluminum). You can see that it beefed up the trim just a bit. The window on the right has the 1 x 4’s installed, and the window on the left has the original aluminum-clad wood trim.

And then I ripped some 2 x 4 lumber so that they were 3 inches wide, and attached them so that the edge was against the 1 x 4 trim using 6-inch HeadLOK screws (found at Home Depot by the lag bolts). This allowed the 2 x 4’s to stick out about a half inch past the stones that stuck out the furthest. Then I painted all of the trim white.

And from there, the installation was very similar to the studio shutters. I attached the hinges directly to the 2 x 4 trim that stuck out past the stone, and the on the outer edges of the shutters (hidden beneath the battens, which I attached after the shutters were installed), I used concrete screws to attach the shutters to the stone.

Now my house looks a lot more balanced. This side of the house just faded away into the background before, with all of the emphasis on the studio side of the house. But now these shutters bring some much-needed color, visual weight, and balance to this side of the house.

And while there’s still a very long way to go (new sidewalk, new porch steps, landscaping, landscape lighting, etc.), this house has come a long way! Here’s a reminder of how it started out…

And here it is now…

This was the view from the street when we bought the house…

And here it is today…

And here’s one more before picture…

And now…

Just to be clear, I’m aware that the fingerjoint boards won’t last. That’s kind of the reason I used them. While the shutters are permanent, the actual windows will be replaced. And I’m hoping that they can be replaced this year, in fact. So my thinking is that if that fingerjoint board starts to rot, then it’s been there WAY too long, and it’s beyond time to replace the windows.

So by trimming those windows with fingerjoint boards that I only painted on one side, I’ve pretty much started the countdown clock. I want those windows gone so badly, but we’re going to have to have the foundation people come and do some work first because we’ve got one area that has settled and sunk just enough over the decades that it throws all of the windows off level enough to be very noticeable. So that needs to be fixed before new windows are installed.

But for now, at least I have the shutters. And when I order the new windows, I can order the exact size needed to fit right inside the openings in the stone. So these shutters aren’t temporary, and won’t need to be replaced when we get the new windows.

I’m so anxious to get some landscaping done. I feel like all of my hard work on the porch, shutters, and cute little studio portico are being upstaged by a dead and brown yard. But at the same time, I feel like any time and money that I spend on that right now will probably be wasted since things might change with the new sidewalk(s) and driveway. I just need to be patient and do things in the right order, but I’m so ready to see this exterior finished!



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  1. Looking good, Kristi! Your hard work and careful planning are paying off! And grass in general is starting to enter its dormant stage at this point of the year. Waiting is smart. You can fall in love with gardening next year. By the way – you should google ‘lasagna gardens’. It’s how I’ve done all my flower gardens, and oh! my! – they are wonderful. I’ve found that the house now takes a back seat to the yard in the summer (but I’m in Montana, and summer is short). But I never had a yard until five years ago, and I had no idea how much I would love it. I predict the same for you. Nothing like surrounding yourself with natural beauty and the surprises that come with it! I’ve followed you for years, and – anymore – you’re the only blogger I read regularly. But I love your style. All that saturated color – that’s for me, too. Have a beautiful day – stay cool!

  2. If it makes you feel any better about not landscaping, it’d be wasted money right now anyway just because its JULY in TEXAS! I’m 2 hours north of you and can’t hardly keep my established stuff alive right now! New stuff would t last a week. Lol

  3. Looks beautiful! I really like that blue and coral used this way. My sight went straight to the hardware, I love anything swirly that gives a project a dash of fancy. Looking at those before and after photos has left me speechless. So much progress and what a difference you’ve made to your home! BRAVO!

  4. You are truly impressive! I don’t know why I continue to be amazed, but I am. The added trim and then the new shutters beef up those windows so much and now they look like they have the proper scale relative to their “rooms” and the windows on the rest of the house! So lovely!

    I hate that you’re anxious to start on the landscaping. It must be hard to keep doing things “in order”. I do agree, though, that not only will everything die if you plant things now, but you’ll be happier in the long run waiting to landscape until you have the driveway and walkways in place.

  5. It’s so amazing to see the before and after…what an amazing transformation already! I can’t wait to see it when you get the rest of your big outside projects done. Also…I knew that shutters can add a lot but it’s kind of astounding how much difference they make. Totally brings the whole exterior together to me.


  6. What an amazing transition. I wasn’t a fan of the stone but the shutters make it look stunning. I’m in awe of your talent and vision. I’m looking forward to the landscaping you choose. I hope you pick a rose or two. There are some beautiful coral and peach roses that would look lovely playing off of the color of your coral door.

  7. The shutters look great!
    Are you going to put some blue detail in the porch? That colour looks great with the gray siding!

  8. Looks terrific! Definitely hold off on the landscape especially if you need foundation work done.
    Looks gorgeous, Kristi👍👍👍❤️❤️❤️

  9. I have to share what we did with a nonexistent yard. When we bought our house, someone had put down weed resistant fabric and covered with white gravel – It was so hot looking and we really wanted a lawn but would have to wait. We moved in June 1 and noticed a few sprigs of grass popping up here and there – former owner would pull it up. So we decided to water it and see what happened Pretty soon we had grass everywhere and had to start mowing. We’ve enjoyed a pretty green grass yard for 6 years with only watering and mowing.

  10. wow, this is an awesome transformation Kristi! I agree ..wait…especially since this is TX and it is a hot hot July…today 102…plants are just hanging on…and we have August and September to go through

  11. Incredible transformation! I think you should paint your mailbox something other than black, make it pop!
    Question- did you remove those hedges yourself, or did you have someone do it for you? I have a 50′ long garden FULL of ugly hedge bushes and I want to get rid of them. I was going to try it myself, I just hope I don’t break a body part! 🙂

  12. Having that view point of the driveway you’ve marked really shows that it’s at quite an angle. Almost cutting your yard in half. Since you’ll be redoing the landscaping any way, who says you have to use the existing entrance at the street? You can just dig that up to make it straight with the street and put a vertical driveway on the far right side of the property. Does that make sense?

    1. Go back a few posts and read why your suggestions won’t work. Some of it may be in Kristi’s responses in the comments section.

  13. I like the proportions of the stone shutters best. They look great. Not sure about the others. Sometimes it seems you must have a clone working with you.

  14. Shutters look wonderful. They really do add a lot of “oompf” to the exterior of the house. I was wondering abut the trim that you added whether you caulked the top where it joins the house. Off the topic – So when you had your house painted, is there a reason that the lowest row of stone is still discolored?

      1. I looked closer and it looks like the concrete foundation is unpainted, probably because it’s hard to get good adhesion that close to the dirt, and it will be covered by landscaping. The discoloration looks more like oak leaf tannin staining than the red clay splash I’m used to.

  15. Have you heard of Leggari epoxy floor kits? I thought of you and the work studio when I saw a video on you tube. Just an idea for ya since you are currently into epoxy projects.

  16. I love the shutters! You are so inspiring. I love everything you have done. You have come so far. Hard to believe this is the same house. Hard work pays off!!

  17. The shutters look very nice, they balance the house and look as if they were meant to be there. One question, did you do any kind of waterproofing at the top of the window trim? a nice curved overhanging flashing would look lovely and make the trim boards last longer, as well as protecting the house from moisture inside the walls. Rock on, Kristi, it’s looking beautiful!

  18. It looks so nice compared with what you started with. I love the shutters, and you are so right that they help add weight to that side of the house.

  19. It’s remarkable what those shutters have done to that end of the house! I’m sure it help that the shutters are beautiful, but the color and size really does add visual interest and weight to that end of your home.

    It’s so hard to believe the difference between the before/after pictures, and you’re not even done yet! It is going to end up being one of the most stunning transformations ever!

  20. Really amazing what blue, vertical rectangles do for a house! lol It’s nice that you can have tall plantings on the studio side. Curly leaf ligustrum would look good there. They grow in zones 7-11 and at maturity are about 5-6′ tall. They have beautiful, white blooms in Summer and have lovely, dark green, shiny leaves.

  21. Wow, I can’t believe how much the new shutters on the stone work, make the stone look so much better now! It’s really a big transformation and made such a difference to your curb appeal. I must be honest and say you are taking an ugly duckling and turning it into a beautiful swan. Great job Kristi, you never cease to amaze me with what you do! I’m sure all your neighbors are just in awe of the beautiful exterior changes you are making!!

  22. Looking back at your beginning photos reminds me how the house just blended into the tree and shrubs. Now, I really notice the columns popping and of course the shutters really bring some color to the party. I am really looking forward to the landscaping part. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  23. Wow Kristi, just wow. Can you believe the difference from the “before” photos? And you haven’t even started decorating the exterior yet. You are one remarkable lady.

  24. Kristi – you are amazing and a true inspiration.
    Would You like to come up to Canada and be my consultant? Or we could Skype?
    Blessings to you and Matt!