Article Line Long1

How Much Are Custom/Authentic Shutters? + See Our Exterior Trim Painted White

I appreciate the heck out of you – especially those of you who so clearly said “no shutters” or “just wait til landscaping grows in” on the exterior post last week. Sometimes I think we all just like to be told what to do (especially when it saves us so much money). I think there can be a lot of immediate and emotional reactions in this remodeling and landscaping process – wanting a house to look “better” before you are done and perhaps being a bit desperate. It’s like putting tons of concealer on blemishes when really you need to let your skin breathe and get naturally more healthy. It’s a real lesson in patience with landscaping and we truly try to exercise it every day knowing how lucky we are to be in this position. We always thought we wanted shutters back on the house, but with the house looking so harsh with less mature shrubs/trees in I think we were getting ahead of ourselves a bit – desperate for it to look like the inviting home we always pictured. I didn’t love how the outside of the house was looking but couldn’t put my finger on it. So perhaps I thought that shutters would solve that problem. If you missed this post on trim and shutter options check it out… But essentially I hired someone to photoshop a ton of options that you can see here:

It was so fun to see, but no clear winner for us. The all-white felt boring. The blue trim felt busy. The dark windows felt intense. etc. A lot of you thought they looked cluttered, clunky, and busy. Some of you worried about it looking cheesy – which I had also feared.

Our Dream Shutter Scenario

Here is what we were imagining – a light blue/gray that felt happy and sweet. Misty, our graphic designer, sent this through the day after the post and I was like, “yes this! this is what we were hoping for!” Many of you were concerned, understandably, that I was going to not do it “right” (too small, wrong hardware, etc.) but I promise you that we were only looking at the authentic shutters (which as you’ll learn below is cost prohibitive).

A couple of weeks ago (during the week that we published that post) we had a dry break in the weather and that same week a former painter subcontractor, who we liked a lot, stopped by to offer his time for any projects. So while I was debating the shutters with you in real time, we went ahead and booked him to paint the trim work white that weekend. We started with just one window, making sure that we liked it and once they were all painted this wave of relief fell over me. I LOVED IT.

It is so clean and fresh, letting the pretty windows pop more and still feeling really “farmhouse”. Is it boring? Not to me. The blue doors look so good with the white (sans the gray trim) and then the copper Rejuvenation sconces are the perfect accent (as is the brickwork). I feel like we got over the “a white house with white trim is so boring” hurdle and we are embracing the simplicity while we wait for trees and shrubs to explode. Have we for sure decided “no” on shutters forever? Nope. But that’s because I won’t be definitive about almost anything in our lives 🙂 We are waiting and here is why…

Good Shutters Are Not Cheap

We knew they would be a real investment – not hundreds but tens of thousands – as everything in the home remodeling industry is really expensive these days – especially custom. But how much they possibly could cost? We were committed to doing the “authentic” versions, with the nice-looking hardware, and installing them so they look like they could close. Our first quote (which wasn’t detailed and didn’t have all the hardware) came in at roughly $17k (before install). While this is a lot of money, it seemed pretty realistic to us. This was for shaker panels and only on the bedroom windows upstairs – 12 total. Then we had another local shutter broker come measure and quote, this time adding the hardware and it came in closer to $50k (including all the bells and whistles and install), with no trade discount. That quote was for 19 windows (adding 6 big ones downstairs).

A few days later our third quote came in (the same company as the first, but with the right hardware and raised panels instead of shaker, with 19 instead of 12 windows). With a nice trade discount (not a press discount just a normal design trade) it came in at $27K, not including install. They guessed that install would be around $300 per window. At 19 windows we are at $5,700 to install. So we are now closer to $33k all in to add shutters to our house. Without disrespecting the craft at all – as I know that custom anything can and should cost a lot, we were still so alarmed. We’d have to REALLY, REALLY want shutters to invest in that, and let’s just say we didn’t want them that bad. So imagine my relief when literally all of you (with a more objective perspective) told us to skip them or wait. A lot of you even said that they would look bad and clunky (which I don’t necessarily agree with but I definitely see your point). At that price we really couldn’t do it so it was so nice to get others’ opinions that we, in fact, should skip shutters, regardless of cost.

So no, we are not putting shutters on the house but I wanted to give you the amount so that if you are in the market you have some sort of idea how much they could be.

Now, as we are all waiting for the landscaping to do its magic, I wanted to show you what Cali (Studio Campo), our landscape designer has sketched to give us hope for the future.

They are all really small right now (as you can see in the iPhone photos) but spring is right around the corner and once they explode we’ll have a much better idea of what it will look like. We still might add some more mature shrubs, but our contractor has done a great job of laying the literal groundwork – grading, good drainage, soil prep, irrigation where needed, and flagstones – so that should we add more plants ourselves we can fairly easily.

We are nixing the shutters for now, feeling SO GOOD about the decision and leaning into patience as we await spring to show us what our garden will look like. Again a huge thanks to you all for weighing in so respectfully on the shutter situation.

Before I leave you today, Misty sent through a rendering of the red door stripped and stained to just be wood. If I could snap my fingers and have it this wood door I would 🙂 I’m going to reach out to ARCIFORM and see how long this could take and compare it to just painting the door the same blue as the rest of the doors.

Oh, and she plugged in/photoshopped the grass and shrubs – its still mud with some little plants over there 🙂


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

78 thoughts on “How Much Are Custom/Authentic Shutters? + See Our Exterior Trim Painted White

  1. Since the second sketch says all the plants are scabiosa, I’m hoping some plants people can help me ID the cultivars.

    1. Actually is scabiosa
    2. Hellebore
    3. Clematis
    4. Mystery flowering tree
    5. Fern
    6. Camassia

    1. my guesses, though no expert

      1. acorn hydrangea
      2. clematis looks correct
      3. tree looks dogwood in spring
      4. fern
      1. Good call. Don’t know what I was thinking — 1 definitely looks like an oak leaf hydrangea (which I love).

      2. The flowering tree (4) is a pink flowering dogwood. I think the hellebore is either Merlin or Pink Frost and the clematis is Black Prince.

    2. I just received my 3rd payment order as well as the $30,000 I created on my laptop in a month through an online agent.{y59″ This job is good and his regular salary is much better than my normal target position. Be in this job now and
      start making money online by yourself go here……

      1. Ninebark
      2. Hellebore (not sure the variety)
      3. ?
      4. Dogwood – likely Cornus florida var. ruba
      5. Western sword fern
      6. ?
    3. Yikes! Sorry everyone. This is Cali, the landscape designer. Plants are:

      1) Peewee Oakleaf Hydrangea
      Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Peewee’

      2) Merlin Hellebore
      Helleborus ‘Merlin’

      3) Black Prince Clematis
      Clematis viticella ‘Black Prince’

      4) Pink Flowering Dogwood
      Cornus florida ‘Rubra’

      5) Western Sword Fern
      Polystichum munitum

      6) Sacajawea Great Camas
      Camassia leichtlinii ‘Sacajawea’

      We went with smaller cultivars of native plants as well as adaptive species (nonnative but they play nice) close to the house where the beds are tighter and spread out to a largely native plant palette as you get further from the house. Happy to answers any questions people have on the plants!


      1. What evergreens are you planning on including in the foundation plantings? I am seeing alot of deciduous plant materials, but if it is as dreary in winter/early spring as the photos attest, I would think that including some dwarf evergreens ( in yellow, blue, and shades of green with different textures) for year-round interest would be a good idea.

        1. Yes! Great point, Amy. For evergreens, there are David viburnum, camellias, and pieris on the north and east sides. On the south and west sides, the daphne cultivar, summer ice, holds its leaves in winter and there is winter blooming heather and kinnikkinnik in the groundcover. We may add in some white leaf manzanita or dwarf pines there too. Further from the house, we have manzanita, evergreen huckleberry, ceanothus, silk tassel bush, toyon. We tried to choose as many four season plants as we could. So around the house, the oakleaf hydrangea, ninebark, and crape myrtles have textural bark. The ornamental grasses, ferns, and seed heads (echinacea, scabiosa) add winter interest if left to cutback until spring. It’s a moving target so we will see how these plants perform and make tweaks in coming winters. Let us know if you have any favorites we should consider!

  2. Yay! Definitely agree that the shutters aren’t needed. IMHO, I felt like they detracted from the beautiful, decorative windows you have throughout. Thanks for the reminder, too, about being patient. It’s tough, and I imagine it’s even more difficult when you’re sharing your house with all of us online.

  3. It all looks lovely!

    FWIW, I don’t think you need to strip the red door. It would look pretty in many different colors, including the blue of the back doors, or any number of other options, as your preference changes. Last year I had our poop-colored brick house painted a warm white (Romabio, tinted to match SW Alabaster) with BM Revere Pewter trim, and BM Wedgwood Gray, a very pretty light blue, for the front and back doors, as well as the ceiling of the screened in porch. Oh yeah, and we had them take away the shutters to better reveal the clean lines of our 1980s home— not sure what style you would call it but ‘contemporary cottage’ might be close. It turned out so well.

    You have a clean, beautiful historic home. May your grass grow quickly this spring!

    1. My house was baby poop yellow with awful wagon wheels as “decorative accents” (bleah!) Some of the best money I ever spent on this house was stripping those off and having it all painted a warm cocoa brown with crisp white trim and doors.

  4. That door looks terrific n natural wood!! I had liked the red, but this is gorgeous.

    1. Me too -LOVE the door in her natural wood/naked state! It feels like she’s inviting you in with a wink and a nod to all the lovely moments awaiting you inside (especially the kitchen because <3) with all the confidence of someone who feels most like themselves when au naturel. : )

      1. Also, although it may have sounded boring on paper, the white house with white trim doesn’t feel boring At All -instead the house feels like she just put on her favorite jeans and feels like her best self (I’m not the only one who feels like design is an active collaboration with the space/room/home, right?).

        And ohmygosh -the flagstone? makes my heart race a little -and my house a little jealous ; )

        1. Perfectly said! Blue jeans girl right here. 🥰 When I saw the rendering of the White House (no shutters)and the mature landscaping my heart skipped a beat!

  5. Yay! It’s looking beautiful Emily!
    Thanks for letting us into your home and world every day and so graciously receiving all our commentary 😊

  6. Oh yay, I love it! So happy, that you are also happy with your decision!! 🙂 I live neither in the USA nor Canada so this might be a totally wrong assumption, but to me your white clean happy Farmhouse gives me major Anne of Green Gables vibes, which has been one of my favourite books series since forever, so I absolutely love it like this 😊
    Sidenote: I am currently re-listening to a beautiful audioplay adaptation of the books on spotify by Mary Kate Wiles, the voice actors are perfect and the background noises and music are so beautifully done. If anybody would like to revisit this childhood classic I can not recommend it enough! (Side note no. 2: yes I am aware that Emily’s house does not in fact have green gables (or shutters) don’t come for me please 😅, it just has the ~vibes~ for me)

    1. Anne is my all time favorite character and I have a white house with a green door because of Green Gables. Will definitely be listening to this audioplay!

  7. as someone who works in the trade (plants) I just want to say that your new landscape architect is great. Plants are smart picks, easy care, often cultivars or native plants or plants that embrace our winter wet summer dry climate. Plus the colour scheme is so lovely. nice work. simple and effective. Someone listed the ‘acorn hydrangea’ – more commonly out here called oakleaf hydrangea. The come in different sizes at maturity and are lovely – I love them because they require MUCH less water than mophead hydrangea and can tolerate a wide range of sun/shade conditions.

    1. That is so kind! Thank you! I love oakleaf hydrangea and if anyone is reading from the Intermountain West, waxflower (Jamesia americana) is a wonderful, little known native hydrangea that does well in dry shade.

  8. It would have been insanity to spend thousands of dollars to dress up the ‘original’ drafty windows in children’s rooms without any improvements to their efficiency.

    1. For the money they were considering spending on the shutters, I’m guessing you could get really nice and good-looking storm windows 🙂

      1. Yes – there are all kinds of research showing that original + storm = better insulation than replacement windows, so you can have the best of both worlds. I’m thrilled she kept the originals!

        As someone who was thinking of custom shutters to restore our 1870 farmhouse, THANK YOU for the transparency. It would likely be cheaper here in NC, but not enough to justify the cost and now I’ve saved the hassle of getting quotes and saved the tradesmen the time it would take for me to only flip out at the costs. I have an old photo of the house from 1901 and there are no shutters on it – just painted trim. It’s a sepia photo so I’m not sure what colors were used, but at least I don’t need shutters. haha Here she is in her former glory:

          1. Thanks, Rusty! We have a long way to go but are so excited to restore this place.

  9. Your house and your landscape are, and are going to be, just lovely! You will feel worlds different once you can get some grass sprayed or seeded or sodded or whatever.

    I know you’re not in position to always wait since it is your job, but I rarely let myself make any big house decisions in March or April because I no longer trust my “cooped up from winter hating everything about my house” brain. Ha ha. Everything is so gray and gloomy by the end of winter and we are so tired of being stuck inside, even if we don’t fully realize it. (Gone are the Oct/Nov dreams of cozy days reading on the couch.)

    Thank you for bringing us along as you think through your decisions, repaint rooms or doors, etc. SO HELPFUL for the rest of us to see that this is a process, and something that needs to be decided in small increments as you go back and forth between elements and seeing how they play off of one another. It is like an artist working on a painting or drawing, sometimes you focus on the big obvious focal point but sometimes it is working on the subtle details of the background or shadows and the things surrounding it that are drawing out your subject and making it shine.

    1. Never really correlated my “ahhhh, I’ve spent too much time indoors” late February feels with my spending habits … this explains a lot. Thanks for the lightbulb moment!

  10. So glad to hear about holding off on the shutters though the “new” color works much better for me as it seems to for you. Also love the comment about Ann of Green Gables. When you cross the border from New England to the Maritimes or Niagara on the Lake you notice that the houses are plainer and not so gussied up. Just want to mention another blog – today’s Gardenista has suggestions for four easy, tough and tolerant plants, mostly native. One called bottle gentian encourages bees to fall asleeep in it from exhaustian with their little bee butts sticking up. Wouldn’t your children love to see that? Another reason to plant natives – all the activity!

  11. Waiting and seeing, and not rushing the shutters decision, makes so much sense to me. The stripped and stained wood door does not — in that photo in the context of the rest of the house it looks unfinished to me. I really love red doors, so I’m not at all unbiased, but I think going with the blue of the other doors would make more sense and be visually more cohesive than the wood door. Other than the base of the deck you don’t really have anything else wood outside so to me it looks detached from the rest of the exterior — kind of like having just one black accent in a room instead of a few that are in conversation with each other.

  12. Also keep in mind with plantings, the real explosion will be in about 3 years from now. The first year plants work on getting their roots established (which is obviously important!). The second year they do put on some size but its not a lot. Third year, all of a sudden you’ve got PLANTS with a capital P! The say is: the 1st year sleep, 2nd year creep, 3 year leap! It will be so beautiful and worth the wait.

    1. I find this insightful for one’s personal growth as well. You don’t always “see” results of the work you’re doing when you start something new. That foundation allows you to leap, as you say, after you have years of experience under your belt.

  13. Yeeessss! It looks AMAZING with the white trim. And I was in the no shutters camp, so I’m glad to hear you’re saving all of that $$ 🙂 The wood door looks beautiful, but I also appreciate the character of the red door. I kind of feel like the front door should be the thing that represents you and your family, more of a personal element than the rest of the house.

  14. I was lucky because our house came with the good shutters. But they don’t last forever and the hub is constantly rebuilding them. Among our favorite purchases at tag sales? Good shutters! We have a basement room “full” of them, ready to replace fallen soldiers. My vote on Emily’s farmhouse was for no shutters, there is enough interest to go without them. Also, for my two cents, I’m not in love with the red door, but I wouldn’t change it until the flowers come out and the grass grows for real. You really can’t give it a fair shake with the yard looking undressed.

  15. I think you made a good decision on several fronts! Let’s see how wonderful it looks when spring busts out!

  16. So. Glad. You’re. Waiting!🙂

    Gosh, the windpws look so much better!!!

    Love the front door stripped back to wood.
    (I actually think that wood outside, like the two posts and rails at the entry would really add something special to the house and make it farmhouse-y)

  17. The landscaping looks so dreamy!! I love the landscape architectural sketches — when we bought our first house, their selections ended up framing our house so well — with those expert eyes and knowledge of year-round color. How exciting to see your home in a new season!!

  18. I was team shutters, but man this is expensive. The main reason I was for shutters is because the placement of the windows in the top floor in the facade is unbalanced and leaves a lot of negative white space. It draws my eye straight up to these long white gaps, and I don’t see anything below. Because of the covered patio, everything is darker below, so it tends to recede compared to the white. The two middle windows could almost be symmetrical but aren’t, so they draw attention to this obvious fail in symmetry. This is particularly true because they are small, dark, and vertical, breaking up the long horizontal lines of the house. Thus, I end up with this feeling of awkwardness about the facade. The mockups offered such a visual relief, because the shutters fill the negative space and transform the top floor into a unified long line which does not interfere with the horizontality of it all. I don’t think that landscaping will make a difference, because the plants will sit too far below. I am saying all this to suggest that you only consider shutters for the top floor windows, where they would make more sense visually. I think you need them there and the cost is justified in my mind (compared to my guess of your total renovation budget, obviously I have no insight into your finances nor do I want to presume anything).

  19. This seems like a very wise decision. Continuing in the same vein, I would absolutely just paint the front door for now rather than spending the money to replace it or to strip and seal it as natural wood. It feels like that’s another attempt to rush the exterior, when the answer really is wait to make any major/costly decisions until the landscaping comes in. THEN you’ll be able to tell what is worth it to you and what’s not, and you’ll be able to make a more wholistic budget decision. Painting the door blue will be lovely and inexpensive. If you want I could even see going one tone lighter than the other exterior doors just to differentiate the front door, but I think either would work.

  20. this is SO SMART! Thank you for bringing us along on the journey 🙂 I’m excited to see where you end up putting window boxes and hanging baskets for plants!!

  21. I totally think it’s a smart decision to hold off! That’s a butt load of money. Also, I love the naked front door but if it’s expensive and time consuming to strip it, you could go with a light blue / greyish as you were suggesting to use on the shutters above in your mock up. Here’s another idea. Maybe just add shutters to the porch window? Is this a nutty idea? I just think it would frame it well. But I would keep everything else as is. Lastly, I would possibly plant some kind of creeping vine (you could keep it simple and green or go with a beautiful flower bloom variety) that goes up towards the second floor and fills in that awkward space between those two windows above the front door / porch area. It would require maintenance, and you wouldn’t want something that would mess with your house / foundation, but it would look super pretty.

  22. I love the stained front door. I like a hit of organic material on my houses, be it wood or stone.
    What about a warmer stain to the door? Would it be more cohesive with the copper sconces and the warm-toned brick? The proposed natural stain looks heterogeneous with the other elements. Maybe a stain in the copper color way (like the scones) would help them “pop” more? Well done and thanks for sharing your thoughts and processes.

  23. Yay! I am definitely on team white on white on white with a pretty door. I had the same paint scheme problems and drove all over my county, downtown, planned neighborhoods then finally the back roads. That is when it hit me, the old original farm houses are truly just white on white on white. Its classic and will looks great forever.

    1. Yes! It’s the same here in coastal Maine – the salt water farmhouses are all white/white with simple landscaping (if any really).

  24. Check out or on Instagram. Custom shutters dont have to cost that much.

    I know my husband makes them in the Dallas area, makes and installs hundreds of shutters a month working with designers and builders.

  25. Hello Emily and team! Can we see a mock-up with natural wood shutters please? 🙂

    1. Ooooooh! Now if Emily does do shutters, that’d look a-maz-ing!!
      (Sealed, of course))

  26. I am SHOCKED by the price for shutters! Even the $6K for the install seems like a lot…Thanks for sharing!

  27. I gasped at the natural wood door. I’m shocked at my reaction. I LOVE a painted door, especially with a white house. But I’m in love with the rendering of the stripped natural door. Makes me want to try it on my all white house. But my old, beautiful, 1952 wood door would probably cost me thousands, and thousands, to strip. I cannot justify that as much as I want to. Le sigh! I love your white painted trim.

  28. A light gray/blue on the window sahses, all white trim, no shutters:-) I feel that your home has so many windows and shutters will make the facade look crowded. A subtle bit of color on the window sashes though might add some scandi charm. I like the red front door although I would also vote for a black front door color such as SW Inkwell, a soft black w dark blue undertones. All other exterior doors (side, back…) painted the same color but a different color from the front door as you have them now. In other words, all the exterior doors look lovely just as they are painted now. Beautiful landscaping plan and in a few years it will be magic! Such a lovely home!

  29. Dear Em – Just a word of encouragement. Plants grow like crazy in the PNW. Give it two years and you’ll be amazed. So don’t spend too much on overly large specimens. I promise they will GROW. As an aside, so will the weeds, so plan to spend extra on healthy weed control e.g. landscape fabric, heavy mulch, etc. You’ll be glad you did down the road.

    1. Yes! It is reminiscent of the simple, saltwater farmhouses here in Maine. The natural door gives it a Scandi-farmhouse vibe.

  30. The color pallete for the plants is so neutral and pink. You don’t want the joy of color variety with flowers?

  31. Daphne is lovely but poisonous — your kids are probably old enough that it wouldn’t be an issue for them, but if your dogs like to nosh on your plants, just say no. (Its bark contains a skin irritant, too, so make sure you always prune wearing gloves!)

    1. I came here to say this, as well. Daphne is an intoxicating spring plant, nothing smells like it, so I would not even trust kids around it. All parts of the plant are toxic. We planted one under a window for the scent in spring, but it is surrounded by prickly things so nobody, pets included, go there.

  32. Would love your thoughts on how to do shutters correctly! I am considering them to add detail to my boring ranch style house, and would like to know what I need to consider. What hardware? Are there shutters that aren’t custom built that still look nice? Do they have to be wood, or what other material can be considered? Thanks for walking us through your decision!

  33. Love it! No shutters are best shutters. We came to the same conclusion while helping our daughter and son in law remodel their 1962 fixer upper. It is a brick ranch painted white (in the process of integrating an addition in the early 70’s, not part of the “great faux farmhousening”) that originally had oodles of too-narrow black shutters. Once we removed them and freshened up the white paint with SW Shoji White, suddenly the clunky ranch became a delightfully minimal, modern-yet-true-to-its-roots home. After clearing out a lifetime of plants better suited to New England, we are now (im)patiently waiting to nestle the house into lively bed of (high plains, zone 5 appropriate) green.

    +1 for natural wood door

  34. I think white/white/white/no shutters is going to be so gorgeous and classic with all of your lovely landscaping. I never thought boring – I just thought classy and knows when to sit with simplicity.

  35. Emily,
    I missed the reveal or did I, of the color of your exterior blue doors? Please share. ❤ all that you have shared.

    1. I don’t think she’s “revealed” them so much as mentioned them in other posts – they are steel (? I think – not aluminum I’m pretty sure, but definitely not wood) and came from the factory that color blue.

  36. Oh my goodness! Looking wonderful. And the climbing vines in the landscape sketches? So lovely!! Thank you for sharing. The house looks great now without shutters and, with the maturing landscaping, will look even better! The wood door looks so pretty! The front porch railing and posts could be pretty in natural wood too. Either way, painted door, wood door, everything is looking lovely. And, I’m sure living close to family and old dear friends feels even better than your beautiful home looks!

  37. I like the all white without shutters. It looks fresh and will look great after you get some plants and trees to soften the house lines. The custom shutters with the H are very nice. I can’t help but suggest to center the H instead of having it at the top. If you look at the addition windows, the H would mimic the H “hidden” in the window lines ( the vertical window lines with the horizontal pane line makes an H).

  38. What kind of wood are they making your shutters out of? Are they quoting you for teak or mahogany or something? I made my own out of premium pine and painted them w/ high quality paint. I had my work PAs help me and prob knocked out 8 including paint in a day. I’ll DM you a pic. I also chose to do a unique little cutout pattern and also incorporated that pattern in my driveway gate to match.

  39. I love the light wood front door sooo much! And I’m also really happy you are putting off the shutters until later. Plants add so much interest to a home and your landscaper picked some beauties. And shutters, to my eye, look too busy for a modern scandi farm house vibe. I think your home is coming along so nicely.

Comments are closed.