Studio Exterior Progress — Shutters Installed!

The studio exterior is coming along, y’all! My brother helped me install the shutters yesterday, and I finished attaching all of the decorative hardware early this morning. It’s so fun seeing my vision for this little studio come to life. If you missed it, I actually posted the DIY board and batten shutters tutorial the other day, showing the process I used to build the shutters. But I can finally show you how they look installed…

Please excuse my weeds. And my cinder block steps. And my ugly chain link fence. 🙂 But even with those things, this little studio has come a long way since the days it looked like this…

I just love how it’s turning out! It went from a pretty useless and ugly garage to a cute little cottage attached to my house.

I added decorative hinges, which I found here, and ring pulls, which I found here. I also used these shutter dogs, which are actually functional shutters dogs, but in my case, they’re purely decorative since these shutters will never actually be used.

I really wanted the hinges to show on the white trim, and I couldn’t figure out a way to make that happen with the decorative hinges I purchased. So I actually purchased additional hinges at Lowe’s (these are the ones I got) to use for the shutter installation. I attached those to the back of the shutters, and then screwed them to the trim around the window. Then to keep the shutters open, I added one more screw through each batten and through the siding. I made sure to position those screws so that they would be covered up by the decorative hinges. I took this picture during installation, and you can see the hinges screwed to the trim, plus one additional screw through each batten to hold the shutter open.

I added the decorative hinges after the shutters were installed, and those covered up the screws through the battens. You can tell it’s two separate hinges if you get up close to the shutters and really study them, but who does that? If you stand back just a few feet, the two hinges together give the appearance of one continuous hinge wrapping around the side of the shutter and connecting to the window trim.

I had some trouble on this side window because I quickly realized that the window wasn’t installed level with the siding. So my first attempt at installing the shutters evenly on the window resulted in them being totally uneven with the siding. I had to do it over and split the difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s fine. I’m just glad it was a side window.

The front windows were much easier since the windows and siding were all level. Plus, I had my brother here to help me install these (unlike the side window shutters, which I did myself) so these went much faster.

The color on the shutters is Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray (a dark navy blue), but I had it mixed in Sherwin Williams Emerald exterior paint in a satin finish with their vinyl-safe additive mixed in (since I made my shutters with PVC boards instead of wood).

So it’s coming along! I still need to make and install shutters on the two front-facing windows on the other side of the house, but that’s going to be a huge job that will require chipping away some of the really rough and textured Austin stone before I can install the shutters. I’m not looking forward to it. So for now, I’ll just look at this end of the house and ignore that other end. 🙂

Next up, window boxes! Once I get those made and installed, then get the steps to the door built, and paint the vertical trim pieces (I want those gray instead of white), this little studio exterior will be pretty much finished. Then I can remove the ugly chain link fence/gate and add some landscaping to complete the look. Then maybe I’ll just move into my cute little “cottage” and forget the rest of the house. 😀



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      1. Kristi,
        Just a tip about window boxes. I have them and they must be watered a lot because they are not deep. I just found that if you lay some crushed water bottles or something similar first, then take disposable diapers, cut little holes in the plastic part and lay them absorbent side up before adding your soil it helps to keep your soil from drying out too quickly.

  1. Awesome – love the attention to detail! I would not have noticed the hinges were two separate pieces had you not pointed it out. I’m hard pressed to imagine anyone standing around and catching that! LOL 😂


  2. Looking so cute Kristi! I can’t wait for the landscape! It can really make or break a exterior. Did you decide real or fake flowers for the window boxes?🤨

  3. I’m sure you know your very thorough info on shutters has a lot of us looking at our homes and rethinking the current shutters. Yours are perfect in ever way.

  4. They look really beautiful with the gray siding and coral door! 😍😍😍 Make sure you put some red flowers in your window boxes!

  5. It looks very pretty and I love the colour combination with your coral door! One question concerning the hardware: if you wanted to actually shut the windows, where would the “dogs” attach to? I don’t get there function, to tell the truth 🙂

      1. Shutter dogs attach to the house on a sort of axle. They turn so when they are horizontal the shutter can be closed. When you want the shutter to be held opened, you turn the shutter dog more upright so it catches the shutter.

  6. Every time I get your update in my mailbox, my heart starts racing with anticipation! The shutters are beautiful…stunning is more the word! Now that my adrenaline is racing, I’ll find something around here tackle..probably not as grand, but something that makes me feel accomplished! Can’t wait for your next update!

  7. I love the color combination. They all look very nice together. I’m curious how much wider these shutters are then ones you could have purchased yourself. I think I would prefer a narrower shutter because the scale of the shutters seems to overwhelm the windows to me. But it could just that without the window boxes in place, they seem out of scale.

    I know you wanted the shutters to look like they could function as real shutters so I’m wondering if they are in fact wide enough to cover the windows and since I’m used to seeing shutters that couldn’t actually cover a window if that’s why they look off to me.

    At any rate, I always love seeing your progress and look forward to seeing the rest of the exterior projects.

    1. These are 22 inches wide. The ones you purchase at big box home stores are 14 inches wide. Mine are actually 2 inches shy of being wide enough to cover the windows, but since they won’t ever actually be closed, I didn’t want to spend the extra money and waste PVC boards for two extra inches.

      And yes, if they look “off” to you, I can assure you it’s because big box stores have ruined shutters for us. I’ve really been paying attention lately as I drive around town, and 99% of the shutters I see on houses are 14 inches wide. It doesn’t matter how wide the windows are. They can be 20 inches wide or a triple window that’s 108 inches wide, the shutters are still 14 inches wide. I’ve grown up seeing that all my life, and so it was always just “normal” to me. But after seeing so many pictures of authentic, usable shutters on Houzz now, the 14-inch-wide, one-size-fits-all shutters just seem silly to me.

      1. Good to know. I assumed that was the case, but I wasn’t sure. I’m certain it will look fabulous and balanced once you have the whole thing finished.

      2. I have always disliked shutters and never realized the reason why. Then I moved to Connecticut and saw all the old houses with appropriate sized shutters, and I knew it was the silly 14″ shutters (usually on some large windows like you said!).

  8. Just beautiful! The Coral door is my Fave! You sound as though you are feeling better! Your little jokes made me giggle, just make Matt a game corner and he will move into the studio with you! Lol

  9. It looks so good that I didn’t even notice the chain link fence or the lack of steps until you mentioned them. I actually had to scroll back and look for them.

  10. Congrats Kristi! That is a lovely accomplishment and everything is coming together so nicely. I’m crazy about the colors you chose. Truly a happy cottage. I know there’s much work ahead, but when you have made it to this point the satisfaction will buoy you through the challenges ahead like attaching shutters to stone and digging your gardens in the hot sun. It will all be so worth it. Looking forward to seeing your window box design.

  11. Yes, heads and shoulders above the “shudders” on every home in my town, save one. A very stately Old Gal, stone with actual working shutters. Once you know the difference all else makes you “shudder”. GREAT job!

  12. Oh Kristi, the shutters look absolutely stunning! You’ve done yet another amazing job and really transforming your curb appeal. Well done!!

  13. Those shutters look fantastic, and I am loving the color combination of the house color, that lovely white trim, those gorgeous shutters and that beautiful, colorful door! I want to live in your studio! It looks like the perfect little cottage home!

  14. Kristi, I’ve followed you since before you bought this house – I was busy oohing and ahhing over your condo, and when you first bought this wreck of a house and showed it to us, I thought – what the heck is she thinking? I thought you were nuts. And you are. A very special kind of crazy. I guess I should have known better, because this little house is turning out to be quite the showpiece. And as far as plants are concerned, you just have to fall in love a little with gardening. Once you find the satisfaction of the bloom, you discover your own green thumb. And you’ll have a whole new kind of crazy to go!

  15. I understand the reasoning behind your size choice, I just think they’re too big. It’s not as noticeable on the end where there’s only one window, but on the front with the two windows they overwhelm the windows, especially since there is very little space in the center area between the windows. It’s visually very busy and bulky looking. I do like the color, though.

    I also think it’s going to look a bit odd to have shutters on some windows but not on others, because there isn’t room.

    1. I build cedar shutters.most of my customers like the.12″ wide shutters. 3 – 4″ boards .alot depends on the width of the window.have done 15″ wide shutters.my cedar are true width size from the mill.,7/8 thick .I use aromatic red cedar and western cedar.stain western cedar clear coat red cedar oil base or water base .the cedar will have a different color in it sometimes it’s hard to match all boards because of the color variation in cedar.

  16. Love your color choices! Wondering where you found the porch brackets. I’ve been on the hunt for some that are whimsical like those….