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Renovation Redo: The Farmhouse Window Trim Options + Shutters Debate (With Some Photoshop Renders To Help Us Decide)

In this week’s episode of ‘fixing our remodeling regrets’, we take it to the exterior where I’m just not feeling like I should about the house (and no, it’s not just the mud). The color of the body, Pure White by Sherwin-Williams, is perfect and lovely. We then chose Online by Sherwin-Williams as the trim color because it looked really good with the Sierra Pacific Windows steel blue aluminum clad doors – similar undertones but lighter. Great. Done. The color never felt totally ‘happy’ enough for me, but it looked really good with the blue doors, copper accents, and white (in the sun), and decisions had to be made FAST. I figured the ‘Online’ trim would recede and the future shutters would be the contrast or color that I wanted. And listen this color is extra gray when it’s gray outside (which is very frequent) and far bluer when it’s sunny. We chose it when it was sunny 🙂 But that wasn’t the biggest issue.

We want shutters, and as I started researching shutters for the first time I quickly realized there is a specific formula that I prefer: white house + white trim + white window sashes + contrasting shutters/doors. Sometimes the trim/windows color is the same as the shutters (and the muntins of the window) to give it more of a monochromatic look which I thought was very cool. Around the time of shutter contemplation, a month or so ago when I was starting to break down all my reno regrets, a reader reached out (hi Misty!) and said that she was a pro photoshopping graphic designer available to be hired to help should I need it. I’m pretty sure she could sense my frustration and had been there before as a remodeler herself. I know there are a lot of good graphic designers out there, but having an invested reader helping felt like a nice alignment. So I hired her to photoshop some options so if/when we repaint we feel REALLY GOOD about it. The question wasn’t just the window trim color it was also which window should get shutters. So today through some photoshop magic, I’ll show you a bunch of options (and what we’ve narrowed it down to).

Option A: White Window Sashes + White Trim + No Shutters

Admittedly this is pretty boring without the shutters, although once landscaping grows in I think it could be really pretty and classic. What you can’t see here are the copper Rejuvenation lights and of course a lot of pink, green, and coppery-toned trees and plants that have yet to be planted. Oh and don’t get too excited – the GREEN GRASS IS PHOTOSHOPPED. I think even Misty was sick of looking at the mud so at one point she threw in the green which really did it for me (are there any glasses I can put on to help transcribe mud to grass??). Regardless, the white on white was a real hard no for Brian and I kinda agreed.

There are days when the red door on this white house is too much for me, TBH, but that’s an easy fix. I actually think that when the upstairs window treatments are open the diamond pattern of the windows really pops more when the trim is white. However I still wasn’t convinced, Brian wasn’t into it, and this time around I have to feel REALLY REALLY good about it. I love the sunroom windows without the gray trim color – which is actually how it was planned but the painters messed up and painted it, and we decided to live with it. As you can see the profile of the trim is smaller and was never intended to be painted gray.

Option B: White Window Sashes + Blue trim + No Shutters

For a brief 2 days, a shutter salesperson told us that we couldn’t do shutters on some of the windows upstairs based on the photos. So just in case, in the interim, I asked Misty to photoshop this option: blue trim, white window sashes, with no shutters. Meanwhile, I measured the top windows – specifically the two on the right and left sides of the house that seemed too close to the edges. The window sashes (without the trim) are 36″ wide, which would require the shutters to be 18″ each. We have a solid 19″ to the edges of the house so we are fine – tight but fine. I did NOT like this version without shutters. But what if we add shutters???

Option C: White Window Sashes + Blue Trim + Blue Shutters

Brian was curious about this option and felt like exploring all options was important this time around (without a painting crew waiting for my decision). So in this option, we keep the window sashes white, then paint the window trim and the shutters blue. We thought this would totally work, but this was a hard and fast no for both of us – it looks so busy!! Your eye doesn’t know what to look at – Trim! Diamond windows! Shutters! Doors! Now I want to be clear – some houses can handle a lot of busyness on the outside and I have dreams of doing a Victorian house in a billion fun colors, but that’s not the intent for this house. I have to admit that I would not have known how much I didn’t like this until it was photoshopped. It sounded like a good idea (and I think we even tried it in the chief architect renderings once and liked it). But no, it’s too busy.

Option D: Blue Sashes + Blue Trim + Blue Shutters

When I first saw this monochromatic look I was like ‘OOOOHHHHH’, but I think for the wrong reasons. I thought it looked cool and a new take on the farmhouse exterior style. Brian and my brother Ken were both hard no’s thinking it was too trendy and didn’t want that for our house. I wasn’t going to fight for it, but I was surprised at how much I liked it. I actually thought that maybe it could be two different dark colors so not quite as monochromatic. I think I am just responding to feeling like a basic middle-aged lady with a big fancy house and wanting it to feel younger and cooler (!!), which is obviously pathetic and dumb to write, but I know I’m not alone in feeling like my house doesn’t really look like ‘me’ 🙂 So I asked Misty to do a few different views of the house to really make sure this wasn’t the direction we should go:

Pretty darn intense. But what if the red door was changed? There is still something that I liked about it, but I think it’s just that it’s strangely graphic, easy for your eye to ‘get’, and it has style to it. This brought up the dark house debate: whether or not dark houses will be dated in 20 years, but ultimately we decided that in the right setting it is soooo appropriate and classic, but no, a house like this with a wrap-around porch is probably meant to be more classic. Or maybe without the shutters it would look better. I also want to be clear that painting the actual sashes of the windows (the grid with the diamond) is more challenging so having them white is FAR easier and less expensive.

Option D + A Porch Shutter

In this one, you can see Misty added shutters on the bottom window (which I really liked as a feature). Here are a few more angles in this monochromatic look so you have all the information:

This is the kitchen patio side, which I think looks cool, actually, but that could be because there is no landscaping yet so the blue and white really pop (right now because of the lack of trees/bushes growing in every angle of the house looks so unfinished).

This side of the house is the most problematic (and publicly seen) for me and always has been. Here’s why: you can see all the mechanical aspects (heat pump, electrical panels, generator – all will be covered eventually but very exposed now) and this side also highlights a lot of window awkwardness (mixing old + new with the older windows oddly placed). BTW the odd placement doesn’t bother ME, but people sure love to call it out. I actually find it super charming that they aren’t perfectly aligned but boy are people on social media upset :).

Option E: Blue Sashes + Blue Trim + No Shutters

Misty also sent through this option without shutters, which is also fun to see and perhaps better. It’s still not what we decided on but I wanted to show you because it’s just so illuminating to see all the variations.

It’s definitely less intense and busy than the monochromatic + shutters look. Are you still following? This is getting complicated. OH, and we have a big cherry tree coming from the front porch area which I’m very excited about (and the grass and bushes are photoshopped – they aren’t in yet).

Option F: White Sashes + White Trim + Blue Shutters

OK NOW HERE WE GO. When Brian and I both saw this we were like ‘ooh, pretty!’. It feels super classic and still fresh. Is it young and cool? Nah, not really, but it’s timeless and appropriate and with styling, furniture, and landscaping I think it will still look fresh. After seeing this, I wanted to take a more pulled-back photo for Misty to see the mudroom/bedroom and potentially put shutters there.

Option G: White Sashes + White Trim + Blue Shutters On Both Floors

That looks SO PRETTY to us. I almost want to add more shutters on the windows flanking the big scenic doors but those would definitely hit the exterior sconces. It feels fresh and bright, pulled together, and hopefully not regrettable. Ok, let’s say that the white + blue shutters combination was our winner, does it work on all sides of the house?

Option G: Other angles Of The House + Shutter Debate

The kitchen side of the house allows for shutters on top, but not in the kitchen windows. You might think that it looks a little plain, but what you don’t know is that we are adding two large potted trees on the patio, a big striped umbrella, string lights, trees and bushes along the side of the house, etc. It’s going to be styled out a lot so the white-on-white window situation will just be a nice background.

But what about the shutters on the second floor? This is HARD. I think they are cute, but are they dinky? The one on the far left is a bedroom window and the rest of them will have shutters, but you won’t see them at the same time. The other two are pretty small – both bathroom windows. We could save money and not do any of these, but will this side look unfinished?

Option G: East Side/Problematic Angle

Look how happy our problematic side looks now! I like the shutters on the bottom left large window by the brick patio and the ones on the second floor. But then the ones on the first floor without shutters look unfinished and yet shutters don’t really work on them (especially that big one on the bottom left – the other three could maybe handle them). So I reached out to Misty again and asked for these options:

  1. Only put shutters on top of larger “bedroom” windows (this is the more traditional way to do it – just bedrooms).
  2. Put shutters on top of larger windows + smaller upstairs windows (except that tiny one), but none on the bottom.
  3. Shutter all windows possible.

We don’t have to make this call today, but very soon. I’m hoping that any and all experienced shutter people will help weigh in. I’m a shutter newbie and they aren’t cheap so I don’t want to put some up that we eventually take down. Before we go let’s look at the front Porch entrance:

Option G: Front Porch/Entrance Without Shutter

It looks good but could be better…

Option G: Front Porch/Entrance With Shutter

Now that looks like a nice happy lady. I love the shutters on the window on the front porch. The red + blue + white is feeling really strong, so rethinking the red door but definitely going to wait a bit.

What’s up next? So we feel pretty darn confident that we want to paint the gray window trim the same white as the body of the house (Pure White by Sherwin-Williams). We are good there. But what I still feel needs a solid rethinking is what exact shade of blue (or green? pink? blush? black?) the shutters should be. Misty (our graphic designer) did them this round to match the doors as I asked. But I’m hoping to do my favorite thing and really EXHAUST ALL OPTIONS (something I didn’t do actually during this process the first time around). I think I under-thought it (I was also feeling overwhelmed/alone and depressed, so not in my best design self). Now that I feel excited again (!!) I think my old instincts will kick in and it will turn out GREAT.

Let me know in the comments what colors you want to see as the shutters (knowing that the blue aluminum-clad doors can’t change, but the red door can). I want to try Dutch Tile Blue which feels happier and a powder blue. I also want to see what a rosey-toned door would look like (blush and blue forever, no?) But what else??


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211 thoughts on “Renovation Redo: The Farmhouse Window Trim Options + Shutters Debate (With Some Photoshop Renders To Help Us Decide)

  1. Emily, I think you should ask Misty for modelisations with gloomy weather. Option G is nice in sunny weather, but I fear this shade for shutters is going to make it all sad-looking.

      1. The shade of shutter will be a happy color (much lighter, sorry if I didn’t clarify that), but that is a really good point. hilariously the paint color in our living room (extra white) looks SO BEAUTIFUL inside because of all the blanket of white snow and sun outside today. Its true that the weather absolutely changes the vibe of a color.

  2. I think your home is lovely without shutters; I’ve always been a fan of taking off fake-looking shutters from houses, but keeping real shutters that actually can close over the window. It looks like the ones you plan are sized correctly so that they could close over the windows. But they seem to detract a bit from the window details that you took pains to restore and preserve.

    I always love your choices, though!

    1. I loved having functional shutters when I lived outside the US. In the US, all the places I’ve lived have windows with screens, so it would be very difficult to use shutters here / it makes sense to me that shutters are decorative. (Agree with your point though that Shutters look nicer when they are sized correctly).

    2. My thoughts exactly and I think there is not enough air space around the shutters making it look cluttered.

    3. Agree! I love the first look, keeping things white and simple. It’s so pure and lovely. The dark contrasting trim paint is fine too. All the shutter options, to me, feel too heavy and cluttered especially with the diamond window details. Shutters also seem to draw attention to the fact that the one upstairs window on left is not perfectly symmetrical with the others, which is a non-issue otherwise.

    4. I agree! There is not enough space for the shutters, it feels cramped and cluttered. Keep the lines clean and the emphasis on the windows. Light and airy is your vibe.

      1. There is BARELY enough space, but its tight. it would be lighter shutters and yes with all the bells and whistles (I.e. proper hinges, tie backs, rabbit bolt things, etc – not ALL of those things but enough). I think I need to show you (and us) the color options first. The shutter company called me to pay the deposit and I was like ‘I need to read all my friends opinions first’ so its not a DONE deal but it has a decent lead time and we shoot in 2 months so i need to figure it out asap!

        1. The diamond pane windows are the stars of your house. The shutters compete with them and take attention away from them. White window trim and no shutters is so beautiful on this house – please don’t gild this lily.

          1. I completely agree! I particularly like how the house looks in all white without the shutters from the front. To me all the shutters look too close together on the top windows. The diamond windows are so beautiful, let them be the star.

    5. Totally agree – please keep the option of no shutters in the mix! All white would look great – it can read both crisp and modern AND actually consistent with an older farmhouse. And no extra attention is drawn to the various sized windows on the “problem” side of the house.

    6. I vote for no shutters. Let the diamond wondow detail shine (and save some damn $$$ in the process)!

      1. I agree! I love the diamond window detail and white trim, no shutters, It looks happy AND classy.

  3. On the too unaligned windows, you could make the shutters the same size and align the shutters, add some kind of filler trim (if needed) to the empty space. That would draw the eye differently. The mismatch doesn’t bother me either, but that’s an option.

      1. Hmm, I think with the white trim, the uneven window alignment doesn’t jump out nearly as much, and adding shutters would draw the eye to those windows and emphasize any “weird” solutions. I like Option G very much and think it is most appropriate for the house. You can do all kinds of things with styling and even landscaping to bring the fresh/young vibe—a new and fresher door color, too. Coral? Aqua? I love yellow personally, and painted my front door a great shade of yellow recently.

        When we were painting our 1892 Victorian/Colonial Revival mashup last year I learned A LOT about both shutters and historic house colors. Apparently blue for exteriors didn’t exist before the 1920s because the paint wasn’t stable outside so it aged very splotchily; also according to the city’s historic paint consultants (Cambridge, MA out here trying to save the city from weird choices one house at a time!) the idea of pulling out a million colors of trim on Victorians is not historically accurate and mostly came from people copying a handful of SF Painted Ladies! They advised us to bring our number of colors waaayyyy down and it made a tremendous difference. (They also are pretty firm about shutters being either black or green-black, FWIW.)

        Anyway paint sidetrack aside, functional shutters on windows that were meant to have shutters (or new windows that look like they were always there) are a very important part of the house’s architecture and style. My painter has very modern taste and tried to get us to ditch our shutters; I photoshopped it and played with the idea but as soon as they came down for painting it was clear that they are indeed the house’s eyebrows! The house looked blank without them. (And most of ours are funny folding ones designed to fit between closely-spaced windows!)

        1. Kate, are there any online resources you’d recommend for historic house color research? We live in a 1789 farmhouse (with shutters!) that’s currently painted a sort of light Easter egg blue with crazy trim that doesn’t really work; we want to repaint it in something that’s still cheerful but more historically appropriate. I think of it as a blue house now, so I was planning to just find a better blue… so that’s interesting to hear that blue isn’t really historically accurate at all! Just curious if there are any sites you would recommend. 🙂 Thanks! -Jen

          1. Hi Jen! One website I found helpful was ; there are lots of examples in the portfolio section. I don’t personally love some of them but I did get a lot of context on what works with the age of a home, etc. The town of Ipswich, MA has a nice little primer as well: (and while the top photo shows a colonial-era house painted blue, the text has lots of guidance on various eras). One of my big takeaways from all my conversations was that a bright white trim is almost always a no-go if you’re trying to be historically accurate with an old home; linseed-oil-based oil paints have a distinctly creamy hue, so BM White Dove is about as “white” as you should go without getting too stark.

            And this doesn’t apply to you, but apparently Victorians almost never had white trim; they were usually given a darker hue of the body color if body was lighter, or vice versa! We strayed a little and went with a very creamy pale taupey-grey (BM November Rain) with a grey-green body (Cos Cob Stonewall), darker accent shingles (Ashwood Moss), black shutters, and a bright yellow door for some modern fun (Sun Valley). The paint consultants encouraged keeping the body of the house pretty traditional but having fun with the door since doors get repainted more frequently.

          2. Thanks so much, those will be fun to check out. I looked up your paint colors; it sounds like a beautiful combo!

          3. Good luck and thanks!! I linked my public house IG account in my name here; the November highlight has all the exterior painting stories saved if you want a peek. (I have avoided posting the whole exterior because I’m a little weird about privacy but there are a lot of fun before and afters.(

  4. I know whatever you do will be gorgeous, but if it was my house I’d go shutterless and instead let those gorgeous windows be the star!

    I like the door being a special colour; it communicates that people are welcome and expected.* (Pink, blue, or even yellow could work if the red ends up being too much against the white house.)

    *Like in the ending of Tolkien’s The Return of the King:
    “Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

    What a lovely experience of coming home! Obviously you can make people feel expected regardless of door colour. But if you’re picking one, might as well play into the goal of being welcoming!

  5. I’m in New England. A classic farmhouse look here is white house, white trim and a dark green door. Looks beautiful in all seasons and weather. I’m wondering if you should just paint the trim now and wait on the shutters decision until after the landscaping is done? Live with it and see what you think.

    My fear is that the very dark blue shutters distract from the beautiful windows with the diamond pattern. Also, I’ve always heard that shutters should be big enough that they look operational (even if they aren’t).

    I’m thinking that if you did shutters, the contrast should be less. Maybe a softer, lighter blue, similar to your kitchen tile?

    In any case, paint some boards and look at them outside in all types of weather to decide. The scale of the house and the light in real life are really different from a computer screen (even though these photoshop images are awesome and helpful).

    1. Yes agreed, I think the shutters as envisioned are too dark and contrasty. Also appreciate your honesty but… and I would highly advise letting go of the idea of ‘young and cool’. Chasing trends in a home is a losing game. The absolute coolest thing is to 100% trust your gut, be authentic and let the chips fall where they may. I know thats hard when you are a public decorator but… If you are mourning the passing of a phase in life thats a separate issue but it’s not gonna be solved by shutters. Renovation fatigue is real, as are midlife issues. Check out the “Bible of British Taste “blog for a whole gang of eccentrics with crumbling old homes listening deeply to their inner muses- which happens to be a trendy look at the moment but has been out of style for the last 30 years LOL.

      1. I LOVE the Bible of British Taste! Have you seen Virginia White’s home? It’s my dream home, so comfy and artsy and real!

      2. hahah. I think what I don’t want is ‘old and serious’ which is simply not accurate (LOL). I should have made it more clear that this is NOT the color of the shutters, we are going much lighter but I didn’t give Misty that direction. but i’m also open to waiting as it is a serious investment to get the ‘real’ looking ones. Agreed that landscaping will do WONDERS (but it feels like it will be forever!!!).

    2. I was also thinking lighter blue! Like light gray blue. Emily I think you’ve called it French blue before?

      1. SOUTH OF FRANCE BLUE provencal blue is gorgeous and statementy without being bold. Though it is used in a very sunny clime. perhaps a trial?

        1. yah that is so close to what we are thinking! And they’ll make a sample shutter for us to hold against the house….

  6. I think adding shutters takes away from the elegant, farmhouse simplicity of your home and immediately dates it. In most of the photos with shutters, it seems as tho the top half of the house is one style and the bottom half another. And there are already so many lovely details to enjoy, you really don’t need to clutter up the picture. Less is more, especially in the long run!

    1. Agreed! I think we need a repaint to white trim and possibly a new door color and then wait on the shutters. You articulated it well – the shutters upstairs make it feel disjointed with the lower half.
      The “online” color has always looked sad to me and I was surprised by that choice. Don’t know if it feels like this in real life, but on the computer monitor it is a very sad trombone gray.

      1. it was sad in real life when it was cloudy – totally fine when it was sunny. Its all white now and its SO MUCH BETTER Y’ALL I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU. I think waiting is probably wise. Like why the rush??? (answer because we want to love it now and we do need to shoot it in May without it looking boring…)

        1. When you shoot in May, I’m guessing you can do more closeup shots of the exterior that really show the gorgeous windows. So with styling and landscaping it will look lush and interesting and simple and special. ❤️

        2. Yay! Waiting makes so much sense. The house looks bigger (in a good way) and timeless without them, IMO. Plus the thought of drilling all those holes in freshly painted siding is painful, esp. if it doesn’t turn out as hoped.

    2. So agree! I think the shutters (light or dark) provide a visual clutter that takes away from the cool design features you have, like the diamond windows. I really like the clean, modern look of no shutters. Leaving them off allows everything else to feel more cohesive.

  7. I think it comes down to form over function again. Traditionally, shutters were used as a security measure and to keep the heat / light out. So, if anything, the shutters should be on the ground floor (for security) which they aren’t in these images. Also, are shutters traditional in your area? Can you locate archive images of the original housing stock and see if they have shutters? If you do get shutters, in my opinion, they should be used for real (not cosmetically applied) to keep the heat of the summer sun out and the room dark in the morning for a better sleep. But not sure that there really is enough sun where you are to make that a worthwhile investment. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if there is really an authentic need for shutters then get them – otherwise one could argue it’s not particularly environmentally friendly to apply something that isn’t necessary or that will improve your quality of living.

    1. I believe shutters were traditionally also to protect the fragile glass of the windows during storms.

      1. Yes, I’m sure that’s right! Especially if the buildings were in an area subject to lots of bad weather and flying debris (thinking seaside here or perhaps areas that get lots of hurricanes).

        1. we were told that they were traditionally in bedrooms which made sense for us to mostly be on the top floor. I do see and like your point though. and honeslty i’m down to save the dough (the real ones aren’t cheap).

  8. Here in Norway we have long traditions of building white wood houses. So keeping with scandinavian tradition I like option B (with the blue trim only) the best. Kleen and fresh with a pop of colour!
    My second favorite would be option E, with the blue sash and trim. I personally feel like the house looks very crowded when you add the shutters. It’s like when you see the makeup before the face

  9. Agree with comments so far. Let the windows shine: no shutters. If you do go with a contrasting color on the trim, I wouldn’t do a grey based one. Take a look around at homes which colors love when it isn’t sunny out and start from there. There’s some good exterior design in Portland.

    Also, why not strip the front door and go au naturale? Outside is needing some wood tones in my opinion and front door could be a great place for that. Plus, it’s very pdx to have an old, wood front door (born and raised Mt. Tabor area) 🙂

    1. P.s. don’t forget to account for the roof shingle color. I would personally prioritize finding a window trim color that complements, as you see a lot of the roof from all vantage points (and that’s already a lot of grey already!)

    2. Yesssss!!! Wood is inherently welcoming and something that’s clearly missing from the exterior of the house.

      1. you know, we wanted it stained but it was in SUCH BAD SHAPE and we were told it would cost thousands to rehab it, hundred or so to paint it, and we were so done spending money. now with some distance from the renovation I could see is re-investing in the door and stripping and staining it. I too prefer a wood stained door. I think there were so many holes, dings, the locks, knobs and bolts didn’t match, etc, but its all fixable , right?

        1. I was thinking an actual wood door would be beautiful. I painted our front door on a white, old farmhouse a very similar pink/red, and I don’t like it. I hope to some day get a wood one. with a smaller window.

  10. has to be F.

    imho, only put shutters on windows where the shutters *would* be used if the window were functional. the shutters *are* just decorative and not real working shutters, but it still is weird to have them on smaller windows that don’t open but are there to bring in light. or on windows that are huge, like beside the front door.

  11. Do your upstairs windows open? I’d be inclined to paint some sheets of cardboard in the colours you are considering and physically hang them out the window to photograph . Renderings are helpful but it’s really difficult to see the colours properly.

      1. yes! they do open. we were going to get a sample shutter (in the painted color) but this is a far better idea as we have to put the deposit down (which is a few thousand dollars) before they’ll even make the sample. great idea! I’m going to hire Misty to change colors as well, but y’all are definitely convincing me to slow my shutter roll a bit …

  12. I don’t know which option to pick but the dark D and E are a “no” for me.

    I actually had a house in my neighborhood change their windows just this week. The house is all white and has the same exact windows as you. They swapped the windows out for black and it looks odd. Trying to overly modernize a classic window.

  13. I am also team no shutters. I think once you get the landscaping in things will immediately have more texture and interest. Shutters will just make things busy – almost distracting from the simpleness of a farmhouse. I say wait, wait until the landscaping is done to make the decision. Waiting is hard though!

  14. 1925 Portland home owner. My advice is to wait on shutters. Repaint the windows white (so classic for a farmhouse) and live with that while you finish bigger landscaping projects and give it a full year to live in landscaped AND white. We repainted our home a couple years ago and after much thought (obsession?) I went with the classic combo for our particular house and have zero regrets. The classics stick around because they work! And with the exterior, it’s just such a commitment! I also agree with other commenters that shutters might detract from the pretty window details. Portland weather makes choosing colors quite tricky. It’s a process.

    1. Yes to a yellow door! I’ve painted front doors in Portland and Seattle in marigold yellow and they absolutely sing even when the skies are grey. The cherry red door pulls the blue out of the white, making it look too icy.

      1. we have definitely thought about a yellow door, too! I fear i’ll have the same ‘woah’ reaction as I do the red which isn’t the feeling I want. I think after now having two pink rooms in our house (which are the PERFECT shades imho) I could also do a warm cozy pink….

        1. Bugs are attracted to yellow so if you don’t want them gathering at your door and flying in when you open it, perhaps a more subdued pastel yellow would be better?

  15. We live in the Midwest and bought a classic white farmhouse. Removed the fake shutters with no regrets. There’s extra maintenance to them. (Painting is a pain.) We also had a few oddly placed windows and the shutters emphasized that fact. But what sealed the no-shutter deal for me was finding bats hanging on the back of them. So… bats in your area? Forget about shutters! (Not anti-bats. Just anti-bats in our home.)

    1. The possibility of bats is the only thing I’ve heard so far that would make me pro-shutters! Please, bats, live at my house and eat my mosquitos.

      1. I’ve tried everything to lure bats to set up housekeeping near my home & no luck. If only I’d known that shutters were the answer! They pollinate, eat mosquitoes and fly charmingly around at dusk. What could be better than bats?

        1. WE LOVE BATS. at the mountain house we called it ‘bat-o’clock’ at 6pm as they would swarm around our heads while eating at the outdoor table. it was pretty fun 🙂

    2. We did not get bats, but we did get wasp nests under our (fake, wrong sized, cheesy) shutters. We found out where all the wasps were coming from when one of the shutters fell off. Then we took the rest of them off. I would have preferred bats, though I’m with you, not inside my actual house.

  16. Most houses nowadays only have decorative shutters on the front entrance side of the house, and no shutters at all on the sides or back of the house. That being said, I like Option G with shutters on the lower porch windows too, and repaint the front door a shade of butter yellow. Blue, yellow and white are a cheery combination and easy to add accessories to, plus they naturally look god with green from your new landscaping to come.
    For transparency’s sake – What is Arciform saying about these regrets? I thought they were hand in hand with you along this journey but I haven’t heard a peep about them in any of the “rethinking/regret” posts…

    1. Good question! After the renovation was in full swing the design team focuses on other projects (not neglecting us, just not needing to be here everey day). Once we were living here I took over the remaining of the decorative decisions (mostly paint). We were paying hourly and decisions were being made quickly and I couldn’t exactly say ‘Anne! drop what you are doing and come over asap!’. So the responsibilty is TOTALLY on me and not because they didn’t want to be involved, but just because of schedules and timing I did it more on my own. They did approve Online when I asked but I think that was because white on white wasn’t an option (Brian thought it would be extremely boring). So i don’t remember if they would have preferred that or not. But point is, I wish I had asked them more because they would have been HAPPY to come and help 🙂 But its all good and I think this is how it was supposed to work out (these were my lessons to learn). Repainting the trim was a couple thousand dollars – not nothing, but it was done in two days and SUCH a relief. We had a ton of extra paint, too, so we didn’t even have to buy more (which was a bonus).

      1. I was also wondering about that and really appreciate the transparency. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to put this all out there for comment!

  17. This reminds me of the curtain over the washing machine debate for the mud room. You spent all of this time putting together classic lovely details, and just because you CAN add curtains to a washing machine or shutters to a window, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD. As others have said, paint the trim white and then wait until the landscaping is done and all of the other details are in place maybe even 2 YEARS from now, and then decide if you even need or want them. As in the case with the laundry room, adding something because you CAN, because you are a designer, because you have the money to do so, because you WANT to, doesn’t mean you should. I Ioved the red door styled in close-up photos, I agree with you that it doesn’t work here now when you view the house as a whole. It will be fun to see what you decide to do

    1. I totally agree with all of this! I don’t think the shutters are necessary, though if they make you supremely happy then go for it. I think letting those beautiful diamond windows shine is the way to go though. The landscaping will change everything a ton!

  18. There is a house across the street from me that has the exact same windows. The house is a warm tan color and the window frames, etc. are all white. I think that contrast is super pretty. What if you painted the house the current pale blue that the windows are (Online) and then everything else white?

    1. I was going to suggest the same thing. I like the white window trim in option A, but the windows would pop more with more contrast with the siding. If it were my house, I’d consider a darker blue or creamy yellow for siding. Either way, I’m team no shutters and white trim.

      1. I think that could look really pretty. and realistically repainting the house would be the same as the shutter price (both very expensive). I think waiting is the best advice. I like the classic white house (but could have handled a color) and am just counting the days that the trees get planted 🙂

    1. Same! I love shutters, but if you decide to go without them, I would keep the current color. Or you could keep it for now and wait until the landscaping is in to decide.

  19. So glad you didn’t settle on the monochromatic look!
    The windows of a house are its ‘eyes’ and the monocgrome pallete made her eyes look ‘dead’.

    I love the final rendering!! 😊
    Yaaay, Misty!

    I hope you go for a more blue, blue, than the greenish-blue of “Dutch Tile Blue”. Just too green.
    I also don’t think all windows need shutters. The diamond pattern connects everything well enough.
    Your “powder blue” sounds more YOU, too!

    It’s great to read that you’re excited about things again.🤗

  20. I usually always like color but I also am into the all white trim, no shutters! And I also agree that landscaping will make a big difference. I think even after the initial landscaping you can decide on even more intentional landscaping by the house such as a trellis somewhere or some easier to maintain window boxes. I think you can put some type of wood fencing/trellis around your mechanical equipment on the side of the house and grow vines or just have the pretty wood.

  21. Your windows are stunning, but the shutters take away from their beauty and make the house look busy. Let the windows shine!

  22. Definitely paint samples! We had Dutch Tile Blue in a ton of rooms in our old house and it leaned quite green in our lighting.

    I love the classic combo you’re going with – white trim, white sash, happy shutters. I also don’t mind the red/white/blue — I feel like you could really lean into the Americana farm house look and then inside translate it to your favorites which are blues and pink 🙂

  23. I just don’t think I like the shutters ? It feels busy and maybe cheesy ? Feels clean and sophisticated without.

    1. shutters can totally look cheesy – i agree. i’ve been on pinterest for HOURS AND HOURS pouring over what makes some shutters look beautiful and what makes others look so cheesy. There are some obvious distinctions, but then some that are much more subtle! honestly a gorgeous old house can pull off anything, but its certainly nuanced and going through this exercise, even if we don’t do it has been really enlightening.

  24. Sorry to be blunt but in my eyes adding shutters is a VERY wrong decision. There is already so much going on with all the windows. It does not look in style with house and makes it looks kitschy. Also adding shutters that are not intended to be used / closed does not make sense at all.
    Also the red color on the door is not at all in harmony with the house and what is going on inside. I would pick a blue/grey or green/grey color instead. For the trim: keep it quiet by using whitish or lighter grey.

    1. agree on the kitschy. Couldn’t come up witht he word to describe what is wrong about the shutters, but kitschy is it.

    2. Agreed! When I see shutters on a new house, I immediately think of the #shutterfail guy on Instagram: Soo many kitschy bad shutters. IMO they look appropriate on a historic colonial, where they were once functional—otherwise not necessary and a bit tacky. Though I don’t think the renderings above are terrible, just wouldn’t be my personal choice.

  25. Hi,
    Don’t ask the Emily whose excited in the visionary creator sense who picked the red door (which is lovely btw) ask the Emily whose gone through the excitement phase already..what will she say after the landscaping is complete, adding to the interest and busyness in a years time?

    I have a 100 year old white farmhouse. Took me three years to ditch the shutters and never regretted it a day.

    1. I already agreed with a comment above on no shutters!!! But I also want to say that I love this comment! We bought a new old house a year and a half ago. House was a farm house (the first home on our road when it was built in 1910) and I am pretty darn sure it didn’t have the shutters it now has until later. I do feel they are a little cheesy looking and my plan is to remove and donate them – just hoping to find some old photos to confirm. Still have to do that research. And now I know to watch out for bats. 🙂

  26. I like Option G very much. For the front door, I think you want to avoid red and be very careful if you choose any yellow or rosey-based color, because of the cherry tree you’re planting. The cherry will only be in bloom two or three weeks a year, but the blossoms are extremely eye-catching during that time, and a red or yellow door would clash. (Our first outdoor party of the year is always to greet the cherry blossoms, so it really would matter to me since it’s what guests remember as they approach the house.) I love the “oddly placed” windows on the exterior that has the mechanicals –they’re a tiny glimpse, literally, of how the rooms are laid out within, and that makes the occupants a little more knowable, but not overly so; it makes the exterior friendly. I think those windows and all the second-floor windows above the kitchen could support shutters if you want to spend the money, but aren’t essential. I like the shutters on the front porch window between the front door and the sunroom — they balance but don’t detract from the diamond windows on the sunroom, which are the glory of the exterior.

    1. I’m probably the odd one out but I do like the shutters on the front upstairs windows and downstairs window by the front door. I think they are a nice added detail. I can’t remember if the house has shutters before?

  27. I tends towards simple, sparse looks (generally, not just for a home). But mostly just want to say I love reading about your creative process and how you explore myriad options! Very cool and inspiring.

  28. I know the trend is to remove shutters and go more minimalist, but I love shutters! There is something really classic and cozy looking about them. I would dearly love a post about putting up shutters that look functional – here everyone just nails hollow vinyl fake shutters to the siding next to the trim, and when I told my contractor I didn’t want that, he literally didn’t know what to do. So we axed the shutters and I have to figure out where to buy solid shutters and hardware and how to properly install them!

  29. I wouldn’t go with shutters. They are way to distracting visually, especially in places where you have different size and appearance windows… modern vs older. Have you ever thought about just painting the mullions? Not the frames, the mullions/sash. It might achieve that pop that you are looking for and also keeping things more classic. I would go all white with a fun blue pop:

  30. This post reminds me of The Craftsmans Blog – every Sunday on Instagram, he posts horrid shutter decisions and they are hilarious. Follow him for a laugh. I’m also team no shutters – when we removed ours from our 150-year old house, the wood was in the worst shape because it never got sun to dry out. I have a 1901 picture of the house and there are no shutters and a contrasting trim of some sort (it’s a b/w photo). It also looks like the porch is painted the trim color. In any case, I’m just SUPER glad you’re staying with white windows – those gorgeous diamond shapes MUST be shown off!

  31. I’d go with option E (no shutters, blue windows) or just keep it white. Clean and classic. I’d even maybe go with a lighter blue as well. Then paint the front door a lovely cool baby blue (almost with a hint of grey) or a very soft pink. In an ideal world, I would have kept it a light oak (no paint) but it would be too much work to strip it all off. Good luck!

  32. I’m not a really a fan of most things that aren’t functional, they seem like a bit of a waste. I don’t think the proportions of the exterior need anything to visually alter them, so I definitely favour the a non-shutter option – I agree option A is a too bland and lacks definition, while B is too busy, which leaves option E. I was also thinking of that piece of outfit advice: “Before you go out, look in the mirror and take off the first thing that catches your eye.” The shutters would definitely be that first thing.

  33. I have a definite preference for option B. The darker blue trim to match the blue doors both highlights the “eyes” of the home and pulls it all together in a simple clean modern way. I debated between B and the dark blue shutters with white trim in the last image, but when I want back and forth, I realized that the blue trim around the sunroom windows in B really made them pop – which was what was missing in G. Also, if you do choose G, you have to deal with decisions, decisions about the shutters. They are not necessary, but I do like the pop of color the darker blue trim brings to the house. I don’t think it would work as well with Dutch Tile Blue, but if you like it, why not make that the front door color!!! Fresh white with two shades of blue accented by pink flowering tree and and any color flowers you like. It would be my dream.

    1. Also, I LOVE the “problematic” side of the house. It’s what keeps it looking authentic and not like every other modern farmhouse builder home going up now.

    1. I looked those up yesterday and it was NOT promising. most look really DIY and try hard. I’m sure someone coudl pull them off, but i had that same thought! I miss wood on this house, too!

  34. Personally, I like no shutters, but trim and windows have to match. Otherwise, white windows with contrasting trim look like cheap vinyl windows… which these are not. The blue may read trendy, but it’s also a farmhouse class. My grandparents had a house from the early 1900s, maybe older that was white and had bright green trim. It’s a thing for Farmhouse. The blue looks like with your red door also. It softens it some.

    1. Shutters feel a bit out of place and overly cluttered. If you want color, just do the blue trim with blue windows also.

  35. Can’t wait to see what you decide! But for someone who loves the simplicity of the mountain house and is looking for calm and serene at this stage in life … shutters and loud trim feel like a LOT of visual clutter. It may be helpful in your renders to add in more landscaping. What feels like a pop now could be overwhelming now once you have blooming trees, real plants, bushes and all the rest flanking the sides of the home.
    At the very least, I’d ask Misty to tone down the vibrant green of the grass in your current renders … it looks like turf, not the kind of lush dark sod I imagine actually grows in the PNW.

  36. love your site and the, thought process, you so openly share. What an amazing undertaking. Very much like your choice shutters, white trim. I think, you should seriously, consider painting your paintable doors a rich copper tone. Copper and white and blue and green are all wonderful colors together. Also, your lamps will become more noticeable. When the yard is in bloom, pink flowers, etc so lovely with copper. Rust turned fall trees, and all the seasonal colors, I think it would be sensational. Terra cotta pots filled with flora or greenery, placed in random areas, will echo the colors and farm feeling. The copper will tell you what blue or green to pick for the shutters. Your lovely farm house would pop in all seasons, best of everything to you and your family. Judy

  37. The shutters need to actually fit the window if you were to ever close them…even if you don’t actually ever do that. They need to look real—not faux. Pls do not put the wrong size shutters on the windows—too large or too small. This is an architectural error that drives me crazy and makes it look so faux.

  38. If you do shutters, you could do custom cut outs that would add some of the youth/personalization you are looking for.

      1. we thought about the same ‘H’ as the kitchen cabinets (not a real H – but you know what i mean if you saw the kitchen post).

  39. I know this is about shutters but wondering if you considered adding window boxes? Maintained window boxes on the lower windows of a home always look so charming.

    1. Yes!!!!! Window boxes are so charming. I am hoping to add warm wood window boxes to our two front windows someday.

    2. Yes! we had that in the plans outside the kitchen patio, but just yesterday when we were looking at our second shutter quote I was like ‘maybe window boxes????” 🙂

      1. Yay!! Wood accents on and around the house would also let you stay with a coloured door (just for the practicality of not having to refurbish the original wood door).
        I love a wood door too, but we are planning a blue one for cost saving and will bring wood in with the porch, fence, window boxes, etc. 🙂

  40. Option B 100%. I think painting the trim a darker blue really makes those pretty windows pop AND this can be uniform on the entire house. You only need to find the right shade of blue. The shutters are too problematic because they can’t be uniform on any side of the house. I would save the money now and if you still pine for those shutters in five years, you can add them.

  41. Paint the trim white and hold off on shutters. They don’t look right in any of the pictures and it’s because the house doesn’t need shutters. Wait a few years for the landscaping to go in and mature a little, then figure out what color front door goes with the landscaping every day of the year, THEN revisit if you even want shutters. They accentuate all the asymmetry of the house and windows, aren’t functional, and the colors you’re currently leaning toward are heavy and dark. They’ll also rot the siding behind them in the PNW. No shutters is clean, pretty, simple farmhouse. And non-functional shutters are (imo) cheap, builder-grade window dressing from post-war American tract homes. Just nope!

  42. I also prefer no shutters. It’s fun for a second, but then it’s too busy. I’d go for the all white, or the darker blue trim.

  43. I think the sashes and trim need to be the the same or very close color or it doesn’t look custom. To my eye a white window frame/sash with a dark or brightly painted trim is jarring.
    Of these options I rather like E, only I think the trim color needs to be softer and lighter, more of a 20-30 LRV.
    Shutters are a personal choice, but I think your windows are spectacular so I would tend to leave them naked and gorgeous.

  44. There is so much gray roof, try a darker metal roof with white on white and no shutters, which only accentuate all the different window sizes and placement. The red door might feel better if it was more grounded by a darker roof plane, but I like the yellow ideas too. You can probably trim out the really awkward window situation to feel a little less so by bringing the trim up and even on the top.

  45. i think that because of how many weirdly placed windows you have the shutters look choppy and weird. personally i would go with a shutter-less option + i’d chose option E! i think the blue really brings out depth to the house + interest. if you must have shutter, option F

    🙂 it will look great

  46. I wish this blog, which I’ve read for years, would go back to providing ideas in different price ranges for, say, updating bedrooms, design. I couldn’t give a fig what she or any of the other bloggers do with their houses. I want ideas for my house.

  47. Possibly the bank of blue doors is too big of a statement with dark shutters? Or they would possibly work if you did white shutters? (Monochromatic?) Maybe both the front door and the blue patio doors are simply too saturated for the white (and since there is not a lot of negative space on your house).

  48. Love seeing so much of the farmhouse!

    I agree with many previous comments—no shutters. Seems to detract from the diamond details in the windows, and I would think might create shadows at the edges that would hide some of the lovely details.

    Perhaps the front elevation needs a change not with shutters but maybe having a wood railing and post instead of white? I know that’s not the simplest change, but it would create some contrast, dimension. Is that too country for what you’re going for? Maybe a warmer red door would work better with all of Portland’s environmental blue tones? (Although I love the dark green idea someone proposed!)

    I know whatever you do will be great because you and your team are awesome! Thank you for providing me with so much to think about and enjoy over the past many years. 😊😊

  49. In my humble opinion, I would not add shutters and I would change the color of the front door. Landscaping is going to help immensely.

  50. I might be the only one in the comments to say this, but maybe the problem isn’t the trim colour or shutters, but that the house actually doesn’t want to be white? It would look amazing in a dark blue along the lines of the shutter options. This would also add personality to the problematic side of the home with all of the appliances. Doubt it’s a popular opinion but it is where I would go in your situation.
    Misty’s photoshop ability is fantastic: why not try it out to see?

  51. All white with the red door, no shutters. Simple, classic, timeless!
    The options with the dark trim will look dated in a few years. Every new build in our neighbourhood is white with black trim–I only noticed once Maria Killam pointed it out and now it’s driving me bananas.

  52. I agree with all the comments saying to leave as-is until you get a feel for it with the landscaping grown in!

  53. If I had to chose it would be option F or G, but honestly I see no need for it. For one, there seems to be no weather or light related need. In terms of look I think your house doesn’t need it at all. It’s a beautiful house. It looks solid, and it doesn’t look bare. Sometimes a new and big house will look ugly. Your house does not look ugly, but perhaps you miss some architecture or something. It’s a huge house, so architecturally it’s hard to make a house this big harmoneous and pretty. Whatever it is that makes you question your house can be fixed by landscaping and hardscaping. You can cover up the a/c by some wooden lattice or perhaps an architecturally interesting brick. You don’t have to but you can consider adding some wall or some structure. But this should be intentional and pretty, not just a cover. You can honestly do most you need with landscaping. You can add tall trees or evergreens to break up large walls. You can have tall trees synergically walking up to the house. Some things can be closer or further away from the home. I would recommend some evergreens closer to the house. I know that some puritans will worry about the foundation or elevation if you plant it to the house, but if you enjoy nature and vines, and trees and if that greenery makes you feel better then I think the additional maintenance is worth it. It doesn’t have to be all those things, but I recommend planting some shrubs,l and evergreens closer to the house and figuring out where to add trees (15-20ft away from the foundation) that will break up the bare walls when looking from afar. It’s totally normal that you are missing something now. What’s you have some lawn you’ll see it will start coming together

  54. If you love white on white then option A makes sense with a bright door color. However I like option B without shutters but a lighter trim color, the dark blue feels so dark. I also vote for a different door color!

  55. I am a fan of shutters. But I do not like the front of your house view with shutters. The end windows would have the shutters going almost to the edge of the house. Believe you said an inch? There is just too much shutter action on this side. To my eye, it looks like someone made a mistake, if that makes sense. Even if the shutters would appropriately shut inside the window if closed. I’m assuming you are only doing the decorative looking shutters?
    The front elevation, with shutters, looks way more distracting, than the side with the cute, charming, old, small, “wonky” windows.
    I have an all white house with trim, mullions, and body of the house included. But my house is a ranch. I chose not to do any shutters, even though I LOVE them. One of the window’s trim, butts up against the side of the garage. I’m in the all window with shutters, or no shutters at all group. I love my all white house. But, my bushes, trees, and landscaping are all mature.
    My suggestion is to not make any more rash, expensive, decision mistakes. I would wait for your landscaping to all be installed, then wait a few years to get some growth out of the plants butting up to the house. Then I would revisit this conversation.

  56. Team No Shutters. They will detract from the gorgeous windows and since you want them on top windows, will make the house imbalanced. Just not a fan, sorry.

  57. I’m on team no shutters and repaint the front door. Also, I think the casings should be repainted back to white, and I prefer a trim that contrasts a bit more so I would vote for the darker trim.

  58. One other option… many classic farm houses (I’m from Nebraska) are white with green trim. While you’re doing a million versions, try that.

  59. Options D and E (dark sashes, dark trim) bum me out. The house looks angry! The white sashes are much happier. I prefer the house without shutters as the diamond pattern is such a show stopper on its own.

  60. I am a fan of Option E. Gives it a bit of a modern punch. No shutters?? But I would definitely get rid of that red door. A gorgeous wood door would pop with the white and blue.


  62. Another down vote on shutters here—very stiff winds will eventually knock them loose IMHO, and I especially like the clean look of the shutterless windows.

  63. The beautiful divided light windows definitely were lost from afar when painted blue. Good call to go white instead. Personally I struggle with the use of outdoor shutters when the size/proportion are other than the original purpose of an exterior shutter – which is to close them for safety or bad weather. To install them in a size that would not allow them to close seems kind of silly to me.

  64. I am a fan of Option E. Gives it a bit of a modern punch. No shutters!! But I would definitely get rid of that red door. A gorgeous wood and glass door would pop with the white and blue.

  65. Since orange is the complement of blue, I suggest finding a red-orange color that would balance the blue shutters. It will appear more updated than a “church door red” and still be a warm, cheery color to greet guests. When trying to decide on paint colors, I like to get small pots of paint in selected colors, then paint up sheets of white FoamCore. I live with them for a few days, interior or exterior, move them around, and see how they change in morning and evening light, on sunny days and cloudy or gray days. It helps greatly to make a confident color decision!

  66. Add me to the no-shutters chorus. They clutter the simplicity of the exterior and take the focus off the windows.

  67. Have you considered no shutters, leaving the upstairs windows and trim as-is, and painting the downstairs sashes / trim in steel blue? I’d paint the front door as well, but that’s just my personal preference.

  68. Wowza, great job, Misty! I LOVE where you ended up, especially with the addition of the shutters on the front porch. And, honestly, I’m a fan of the red door. Dusty/Rosy pink is sort of feeling too trendy for me, and this house just begs to be classic. With the plants added I think it’ll all be fabulous together!! I’m really looking forward to seeing the kitchen patio filled out 🙂 YAY!

  69. I prefer no shutters. They make the house look too busy and detract from the pretty windows and draw attention to the windows that don’t align. I like it all white. I also would pick a softer color for the front door- the red is too harsh with the blue gray doors.

  70. I dissent! I actually love the shutters. They look friendly, charming and add a pleasing sense of sturdiness imho. I actually think they help frame/highlight the beautiful windows and I even like how they increase the quirky effect of the randomly placed windows. A wonderful advent calendar comes to mind, implying—for me anyway—lots of happy surprises waiting within.

    1. Meant to add, I would definitely go lighter on the trim and shutter color, as many others suggested.

  71. I love yellow, even though it’s difficult to find the right soft, buttery yellow. I think yellow shutters against the white body/windows would look lovely, would go with the existing doors, and would be cheerful in all seasons/weather. Even as the yellow fades over time, it would still look great.

  72. I vote last option but the shutters are way too dark, the contrast creates busyness. I would look at a lighter blue grey, or even a light sage green maybe? I do hope the shutters will be functional though, climate being what it is you might need them in a heatwave. I live in Italy and the concept of non functional shutters glued to the outside of a house would be shocking and hilarious to people here!

  73. I’m with team “no shutters”. Like many said, your windows are so unique and beautiful that the shutters distract from their beauty. I think the “no shutter” look is much more fresh and updated looking. Plus, shutters are just another thing to maintain and keep clean…spiders, etc. love to make their nests under them. 🙂

  74. I don’t think it needs shutters (especially with those beautiful diamond windows), and the shutters are complicating things due to all the different window sizes/styles/placements (which I agree is charming not bothersome).

    On all the versions with dark sashes and trim, the windows look like black holes, AND you can see the pretty diamonds. But my bigger question is why you would paint the dividers and sashes if they were are clad and painted by the maker (which I thought was the case)? Won’t it void the warranty? Especially if you paint it dark—I know that with some companies it voids the warranty because dark paint takes such a beating from the sun.

    I really do not like versions with dark trim but white sashes. It is a very busy look. I like the white siding/white trim combo a lot on houses with dark sash/dividers. But since you want to highlight the diamonds AND your windows came clad and painted, I would definitely leave them light.

  75. The only one I react strongly to is option D – and strongly negatively. You completely lose the diamond window details in a bunch of big black dark holes all over the house. Also not a fan of faux shutters unless they are perfectly sized to where they would cover the window fully if they were functional and closed. My vote is no shutters. As others have said, I think once the landscaping is in, it will provide the color and texture you need.

  76. Oops, correction—meant to write that with the dark dividers/sashes you CAN’T see the diamonds.

  77. Honestly Emily, I prefer no shutters and all white.
    A neighbor recently painted her tiny house a very pretty medium/dark blue with white trim. It looked adorable, like an illustration. Then she added dark (the paint looks black) shutters and ruined it.
    I am a shutter lover, I have shutters and they make the house.
    But I’m really not loving the shutters in any of Misty’s iterations, the sizes of the shutters are so different that it is jarring to look at.
    I’m on team white on white with no shutters. For what it’s worth, I live in New England, the land of shutters.

  78. Emily, don’t you dare change that red door until AFTER you do the other stuff. Dear lord girl slow your roll. 😉 I loved this post because I love looking at options. I have a gal pal graphic designer and no matter what we are working on she always makes these mock ups for us and it is SO much fun. I think the color choice for the shutters is great but I like something a little bolder. Of course, this is all so completely subjective so don’t mind me. I like crisp and stand out and I think you are looking for something a bit softer so order HALF the shutters and see how you feel and then you can add more later. Ignore the haters. It does not matter about window patterns on the outside of your house. It only matters inside. You can’t have nooks, and window seats, and vintage windows and quirk without a rando exterior. Carry on!

  79. My 2 cents fwiw. I like your house without shutters. The shutters look nice too (not sure though if the corner windows will look right). Of the shutter options, I like the white sashes with shutters best. To me, the option with dark gray windows is a definite NO!! 🙂

  80. My choice would be no shutters and white trim and sashes. There’s something classic yet modern keeping the farmhouse’s exterior simple and clean-lined, Once the landscaping is done and the porches are styled, the house will not need any further embellishments other than the stunning diamond windows! You can always add color or shutters afterwards if you still feel the exterior is lacking oomph.

  81. Wasn’t it Coco Chanel who said ‘take one thing off’? And I think, for me, the shutters are just a little too much, like the house is trying a little too hard when it really doesn’t need to try hard at all. What struck me is that the colour of the door to your bedroom suite looks really beautiful, even against the mud and grey skies; it stands out without competing against the details in the architecture of the house. And it got me wondering whether a tonal blue is the way forward?

    Something like this, to enhance rather than draw attention to…

  82. It looks SOOOO pretty without shutters. Every shutter option is so busy, and makes the house look sunken in.

  83. I just read a wonderful–long–story at Cote de Texas about Gray Gardens,
    Sally Quinn did an amazing job renovating the poor place, but sold it around 2015 or so. Originally, the house had shutters, but Quinn eliminated them and I think it looked more elegant. The new owner added the shutters back, along with some really questionable awnings and the color is over the top for the home. The reason I think you would especially like to read the article is that the windows at Gray Gardens also have windows with gorgeous diamond panes.

  84. Option A. I like the simplicity. I agree with Colleen ~shutters that are not “real” and not necessary because they are not really used take away from the beautiful windows.

  85. This may have been repeated in one of the other comments, but my vote is just shutters on the second floor…. So just four on the front & two on the second floor of the east side. To me it would be the best of both worlds in terms of bringing in color, detail, interest, etc. but still keeping a good portion of the house classic & a little less busy. Plus like you said, landscaping will add interest to the lower level as it grows.

    I loved looking through all of these renderings!

  86. I really wish these posts had some kind of a voting feature, which would allow us to get a general sense of how much support there is for each option. The point of the voting would not be to commit Emily to follow whatever suggestion garners the most votes – it is her house and it should be her choice. The only commitment would be for Emily to explain her choice – which she does anyway. But as a tool for reader comprehension, it would help a lot.

  87. No shutters please! Save money and keep it fresh! The landscaping ALWAYS makes the architecture alive. You do t need shutters. Also are these functional shutters? What’s the point? Is there hail or something? Form follows function for me. I guess is the function is you love fake shutters than worth it.

  88. This dilemma is kind of like makeup, yes? Dark trim and dark shutters is too much eye makeup. White trim no shutters is like a naked face look. I personally like a little contrast, kind of like an eyelid with eyeliner and mascara. ☺️

    All this to say: I like white trim and shutters in a darker color. Blueish gray (not grayish blue) and black seem classic to me!

  89. Gosh, I love it as is. Once you put in landscaping, thinking climbing roses in warm colors, and bright green foliage, it will look absolutely cheery. Also, I adore old houses and their wonky bits, but drawing attention to the wonky bits with dark shutters or trim doesn’t flow as well. It is a darling house and the tone on tone paint highlights everything in just the right way, I think. Lovely choices so far.

  90. It seems like you are trying to add some warmth and panache to the home. You have a number of columns and they are all very simple, which is nice, but it would add some personality to add some articulation to the top and bottom of the columns. It varies across regions but all but the most austere farmhouses would have had some crown and base on the columns. You could even add some simple brackets to take it up a notch.

  91. The windows are so beautiful, I feel the shutters make the house feel too busy and crammed together. It’s really overwhelming. I like the other suggestions to live in the house a bit longer while landscaping comes in to make such big decisions. You could easily change the door color, but painting window casings, sashes, and ordering shutters is a major $$$$.

  92. Honestly just save the money for other necessary things. Shutters would look twee on this house and are absolutely unnecessary. I recommend moving forward with the landscaping before you spend money to repaint the windows or trim (though repainting the door is easy enough). Live with it a few years, see what the whole thing looks like together. Right now all you can see is dirt and trim, but plants will change things.
    I also think in general it’s okay to live with mistakes longer – you will never finish the house if you’re wasting money and time redoing things.

  93. Ditch the shutters and paint the window trim blue or another color like perhaps get rid of the red door and paint the window trim acomplimentary color and leave it.

  94. So many great options!! But, at a minimum, you should get yourself to Al’s Garden Center and snag a few hanging baskets for all your porches. It will make a WORLD of difference this spring, even if the rest of the yard is a mud pit 😉

  95. I think somebody else also used a similar comparison but to me the house is like a gorgeous (stylish, confident older) woman. Adding (colored) shutters is like adding false eyelashes and the brightly colored trim and red door are like bold eyeshadow and too bright lipstick, completely hiding her natural beauty.
    You already added lots of other things to the house like the extension and glass doors, you risk losing the character and ‘personality’ of the house by ‘pimping’ it even more. Buying a beautiful old house comes with some responsibility to maintaining its ‘soul’; by stepwise adding things and changing more and more you may tip the scale and start losing its magic.

  96. There have been lots of arguments for and against the shutters, all interesting and valid. I fall decidedly into the no shutter camp. Reason: the addition of the shutters on the second floor would only draw more attention to the irregular spacing of the windows. Unfortunately, this irregularity isn’t enough to make it look intentional. It’s just enough to make the eye feel something is off, out of balance. For many, like me, this lack of symmetry is a distraction. No shutters allow the eye to skim over the slight irregular spacing and see the beauty of the diamond panel windows.

  97. I really like the final options you came up with in the “G” section: i like the with trim, and blue shutters, and I think the shutters belong on both floors, and on the porch, and for overall cohesion around all but the largest windows sets and the 5 window grouping on the exterior.

    I am with you that the red door doesn’t work well with this new upgrade. I would like to suggest that you consider a yellow door (likely a more soft, slightly more lemony- butter yellow than sunflower yellow, it you’ll know better when you test colors in person). Yellow and blue are a classic combination,, but more so, I think the feeling of cheeriness it would bring to all of you on rainy or winter days might convey the kind of energy you always want your house to feel like.

    Just a thought. Know we are all rooting for you, and design decisions ARE insanely hard!

  98. You can tell by all the iterations of the exterior that there are many ways to do design. So much has to be a confluence of budget, experience, childhood memories, other people weighing in, and opportunity. There is no need to make this a right or wrong way of doing it, but really, what makes you feel the best you can. I, for one, love the first iteration, but that’s me. You gotta do you (and Brian).

  99. You have great advice here. As someone who removed my shutters and went all white- I couldn’t be happier. I have a similar door, but painted it kelly green (my favorite color) with black lights and I LOVE IT. I will say Option B/2 is my favorite if you just really hate the white on white. Landscape will realy help!

  100. I love option G! It feels balanced and harmonious with the existing architecture. I also live in a 1700s federal colonial with white clapboard, white window trim, black shutters, dark green front door — pretty common for my area—so might just be what my eyes anticipate! My neighbor has dark green shutters and window trim and muntins though and they look beautiful (siding is mustard); I’m keen to find a Misty who can mock up what the trim change would look like for our house now! I don’t love the black casing look that’s in right now—it’s too stark / gives gaping maw vibes to me.

  101. The house looks so timeless and less visually distracting with no shutters. They honestly make the house look dated (in a not good way) no matter how you do them.
    Seems you could put the $ to much better use somewhere else.

  102. I also vote no shutters. When looking at the front of the house, the addition of shutters makes the 2nd floor look squat, whereas with no shutters and white on white the entire front of the house reads as an uninterrupted plane. Window boxes would add the character you are seeking — agree with others there. I like the red door but door color should also wait for a change until the landscaping is in.

  103. I’m following this convo bc I have my heart set on shutters at my cabin (the cute green kind with tree cut outs) but it’s hard to create a consistent look with them because the windows are all different. Part of me thinks it’s fine for some windows not to have them, another part of me thinks it looks strange to pick and choose which windows have them because that shows how unnecessary they are. I’ll be curious to see how you solve that NO PRESSURE.

  104. The shutters just look like rectangles stuck on the house to me (especially when they line up exactly with the edge of the house). Your lovely home looks so much nicer without! My suggestion would be to skip altogether.

  105. I love where you landed! Just the right amount of contrast without being too busy. I wish I’d done all those renderings when we did ours!
    I know yellow paint risks fading, but a yellow door would be soooo charming. Especially a darker, mustardy yellow. Imagine with pots of black eyed Susan’s in the summer, gourds in the Fall, cedar and gold bells at Christmas and daffodils in the Spring. Gorgeousness!

  106. Sorry, not a fan of the shutters on the front of the house. While there’s “technically” enough room for appropriately sized shutters on those outer windows, visually it looks like they go right to the edge. You don’t see that 1” edge. It looks too cramped. I did think the colored trim made the beautiful detail of the windows pop. All-white trim just doesn’t have the contrast to let your eye notice the window detail.

  107. I find the diamond windows so busy/fussy that I can’t discern what might be the best option among the many good ones presented. Good luck! Tough choice.

  108. Bless you for not putting up shutters that are too small — that is a huge pet peeve of mine. Shutters, even if they’re nonfunctional, should look like they would cover the window when closed. Color choice is spot on. Going to look great!

  109. “I have dreams of doing a Victorian house in a billion fun colors,”

    Emily, next time you’re in Grass Valley, please stroll two blocks from the Holbrook and let me make you a cup of tea and we can play color dress up with my Victorian. I’m so stumped on what she wants to be, and almost all the interiors are still lavender 2 years later because I’ve given up on making changes until I know what I want.

  110. E! All the way!
    it’s so stunning and just elevates the whole look. Plus is modernizes it in a classic farm way. Also a wood front door with that dark blue update. Oh so dreamy.

  111. Hard no on all options with the shutters — just a distraction from otherwise pretty windows and trim!

  112. Behind shutters is a favorite place for wasps to make their nests. At least where I live it is. I wouldn’t go too crazy putting them places where you can’t easily reach to remove the nests.

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