How Window Shutters and Planter Boxes Transformed the Exterior of My House

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I’m bringing this post up to the top of the blog because I can’t believe it has been nearly three years since we made this change to our house!

Hi you guys!  I’m so excited to share these photos with you this week!  We have been working on several projects around our house, because next week Romantic Homes will be coming over to shoot our home for a Fall feature…Eeeekkk!! Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit anxious about getting several unfinished projects finished, including one big one on the exterior of our house.

One of the things we always planned to do when we built our house was add shutters to some of the exterior windows. As is often the case, time went by and while we still wanted to do it, other things took priority.  Then, when I got the call from Romantic Homes, I decided not to wait any longer.  Honestly, I don’t know if they will even take pictures of the exterior of my house, but it seems like a good reason to finish up a few projects we had been putting off.

Here are some before pictures of a couple of the windows. As you can see they looked “fine”. Pretty trim, clean looking…fine. But with the style of our home I always felt like there were certain windows that were just calling for shutters.  This area is in the back of our house, by the garage and back porch.

I actually didn’t start with putting shutters on. I started by adding planter boxes to these particular windows. I was looking for something completely unrelated online one day, and ran across some great planter boxes. I figured it might be just the thing to add to these windows, so I ordered them and had our handyman install them. 

SIDE NOTE:  Have I ever told you that my husband is the LEAST “handy” guy that ever lived…I’m not kidding…he’s not allowed to go near the tools.  He’s fantastic at a million other things, but handy he is not. So I have a handyman for things like hanging planter boxes and I am actually quite handy myself. I’m fairly adept with a power drill and can hang a picture like nobody’s business…but I digress. Back to the shutters.

Once the planter boxes were hung, I filled them with pretty plants. I loved the charm they added, and I probably could have stopped there, but I still felt like the shutters were missing.  There were also several other windows on the house that “needed” shutters. I looked online for pre-made styles, but soon found that we had some unusual size windows that wouldn’t work with standard size shutters, so I called on a local company to help me out.

We chose a board and batton style, since they seemed to be the most authentic looking with the style of our home.  I also wanted to add black strap hinges and I thought they would look the best on that type of shutter. The guy who came out to measure told me average size was 12″-18″ so we decided to make ours 16″ wide.

There were thirteen windows we wanted to put shutters on around the house.  We had to choose windows that had plenty of space on either side so that limited our options. We also wanted to make sure the exterior didn’t become too “gingerbready” (is that a word?).  We were looking to add charm but not overdo it.  With that in mind, it was fairly easy to decide which to shutter and which to skip.

We originally planned to paint the shutters a “color”. We had been toying with the idea of a deep charcoal gray or a lighter French blue. Since they were being primed before they were delivered, we had a bit of time to decide. Ultimately we decided on the deep gray, almost black…and then the primed shutters arrived.

My flower studio got a new look as well!  

My husband and I both had the same thought when we saw the shutters in white. “Is there some reason we aren’t doing them white?”  So we held one up and I have to admit I was underwhelmed at first and then we held them up with the hardware and that did it.  I loved the contrast of the dark hardware with the white shutters and frankly, it was shocking what a difference the hardware made in how the whole thing came together.  

We (and when I say we, I mean our painter) painted the shutters Benjamin Moore Decorators White, to match the existing trim.

I do have a confession to make about the shutter hardware. Because we were in a bit of a rush, I was searching online for hardware and was focused on what I could get in a hurry.  I knew I wanted the “strap hinges” and then those little curly things (I soon found out they are called pintels) for the bottom of the shutters. I located these and the timeframe was right, so I ordered them.  When they arrived, it was clear that I had not read the description very well, because they were not metal (like I had assumed) but instead vinyl.

I was ready to return them and start over when I realized that they looked incredibly realistic and nobody was actually going to walk up and touch them.  In fact, they were mostly on windows that were higher up on our house, so I decided to give them a try.  As it turns out, they look just great and I don’t think anyone would know the difference. (Plus they were about half the price! Happy mistake…Yay!)

Here is a fuller view of our back porch and driveway.

I am so thrilled that we finally got around to adding these shutters (and the pretty planter boxes) to our house.  I think it added just the right touch of charm and whimsey we were hoping for.  I also love my planter boxes.  The one you see in the picture above sits right outside my office window, so as I sit here typing, I can see the lavender and salvia through the window and a friendly little hummingbird who often comes to visit!  

I will let you know how the magazine shoot goes next week…Wish me luck!!

Just so you know: The above are affiliate links and while I receive a small commission from anything you purchase, you do not pay a penny more.  I appreciate your support!

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    1. Hi Trina-The shingles on our home were pre-stained by the manufacturer before installation. I’m sorry I can’t give you a specific color. : )

    2. I was wondering the same thing. The color it shows on my laptop screen is sort of a taupe…..I wonder it is more gray than khaki. It is a beautiful color!

      1. It is definitely a taupe color. Not too gray and not too tan. Unfortunately, the material cam pre-finished, so there is not a specific paint color I can give you!

      1. The siding was pre-finished from James Hardie, so there is not a specific paint color. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

    1. Hi Judy, We used prefinished Hardee siding so there isn’t a specific paint color. I wish I could be more helpful with that!

  1. Hi. I’m looking to purchase the shutters, hardware and window boxes, but could not find the link. Could you please email me the links?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Becca- I’m sorry you’re having trouble finding the links. They are at the bottom of the blog post under the “Shop the Look” heading. Just click on the pictures!
      Hope that helps!

  2. just lovely! ive been thinking shutters for interest on my bland looking home which is white w scarlet door. It’s a great house but needs a boost.
    I’d only do 1 or 2 windows on each side of house. I don’t want red shutters, should i go w black?
    i could send a foto if you’d like. What’s your opinion, Karen?
    thanks for any guidance
    pam flowers

    1. Hi Pam! Thanks for stopping by! I love the idea of black shutters with a red door! Sounds like a beautiful combination. Any tone of gray would probably also work well depending on how much of a statement you wanted to make!

  3. Hey Karen,
    Found your blog on instagram and thought the window box looked beautiful!- The white paint on the windows and shutters really brings out the greenery and color from the flowers!

    How much did the window box cost? I’m looking around online so I can get a better idea of the budget and costs of a project like this.

    1. Hi! The links to purchase the window boxes are on the post. They are fairly affordable and look great!

  4. Beautiful and inspiring post Karen! Re your lovely siding color, I’m wondering if it’s Hardie rather than Hardee siding. I found a James Hardie fiber cement siding web site with a “Pearl Gray” color that looks similar to your home’s exterior. Might that be it? Hope the photo shoot was fun and went well! Will keep an eye open for the issue.

    1. Thanks so much Leanne~ I believe you are correct and the color if familiar. That is likely it! Thanks for the clarification! Have a great day.

  5. Hi! Where did you purchase the exterior lights from? I love the lantern look! Can you provide a link for purchase?

  6. I love the look and I ordered everything, except the house….lol but I just bought a gray house and I didn’t want to put up shutters as they all look alike on everybody’s house and I wanted a more unique look, and as soon as I seen this I knew that was the look, I ordered the planter too!! I plan on using pink flowers as I love pink and my front door is going to be painted pink, can you give me your suggestion for a pink that is soft but noticeable my stairs are gray also with white vinyl railings, and I have black rubber scrolled design Matt’s on the step.
    I love your style!!!

    1. Hi Lynne! Congratulations on your house! I wish I could give you a paint suggestion, but colors look so different depending on light and conditions. My best recommendation is to choose 3-4 colors and paint them on boards, then take a look at them in different lights at various times of day to decide which looks best. Good luck with that!!

  7. Hello. I love the shutters! What material are the shutters made out of (composite, vinyl, etc.?) In addition, you mentioned above that the shutters you got were 16 in. wide, however when I clicked on the link that you had for the shutters, they only had 12″, 15″ and 18″. Did you get them custom? Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Stephanie! The shutters are made from wood. We did have them custom made but I provided links to similar ones for your convenience. Have a great day!

  8. Wow, stunning. I just love the white windows/shutters/windowboxes against the grey of your house. It’s so pleasing to the eye. And the flowers add a lot of warmth. May I ask if you know the colour code of the grey paint? Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much, Bev! The shingles on the house were pre-finished. The siding is from James Hardie and the color is Aged Pewter. Hope that helps!

  9. I love this look, and want to order the white shutters. They will go on two windows over my garage door (which is white) on a tan siding. Riest of house is brick. My question is is it hard to attach the hardware to the composite? Thanks for responding. I want to do this.

    1. Hi Angela-So happy you like the shutters! The hardware is SUPER EASY to attach! The easiest part in my opinion. Good luck with your project!

  10. The shutters and window boxes made a huge difference! I’d love to see more of the exterior of your home. It looks so interesting the angles etc. not just a big box!

  11. Love your house, but I’m confused about the Hardie shingle color. In one post you said the color might be “Pearl Gray”, and in another you mentioned “Aged Pewter.” Aged Pewter looks like a gray-green and much darker than what’s on your house. Is there a way to check with your builder/contractor so we know for sure? When I googled the Hardie color chart, I thought the color on your house looked more like Cobble Stone.Thanks for any help you can give. You did a beautiful job!

    1. Hi Kathryn – I apologize for the confusion on the color! I have ordered samples and will have the exact color nailed down as soon as I receive them!

        1. Hi Kathryn-I got those samples and can confirm that the color is Aged Pewter. Iapologize for all of the confusion!! Hope that helps!!

      1. Hi there. Did you find out the color of your Hardie shingles from the samples you ordered? Just following up on this thread as I am interested in the exterior siding color as well! Thanks!

        1. Hi Liz-Apologies for the delayed response. I did get the samples and the color closest to ours is Aged Pewter. Hope that helps!

  12. I love this makeover and I want to copy it exactly! Can you tell me what the white flowers are in the garden below the window boxes? Are they roses or something else? They add so much to your landscaping. Any other information about your plants selected would be welcome. It looks like lavender and bacopa and some other things in the window boxes. All are beautiful!

    1. Hi Sue – Thanks for stopping by the blog! The flowers below the window boxes are iceberg roses. They grow very well in Southern California. You are correct about the other plants in the window box! Good luck with your project!

  13. Your house looks so classy, homey, and inviting!!! Will you please give me the brand and color name of your roof, also the brand name and color name of the siding. along with the stone… brand name and color please. Someday I might build another house, Of course a lot smaller than yours. Thank You for sharing!!!

    1. Hi Liz,
      The siding is James Hardie Aged Pewter and the stone is an Eldorado Stone. I do not have the roof manufacturer info. Hopefully this helps a bit…

  14. I love this look! We are in the middle of having our house painted a similar gray with white trim, Formerly bare white cedar, I had hayrack window boxes, and decided to switch to white. I was also contemplating dark gray shutters, but you have won me over with the white! It will look so nice when all my flowers are in bloom.
    Thank you!

  15. Thank you very much for presenting this data about how window shutters and planter boxes transformed the exterior of my house, it’s known how to get approved but what are the next steps after getting the approval. Wonderful information, thanks a lot for sharing kind of content with us, great post!

  16. Thanks, Karen. Just re-visiting your site since the painter is coming next week. Thanks for figuring out the color.

  17. Funny…I’ve been trying to decide on a color scheme. I found this site, love it SO much. Going through questions I found exactly what I was going to ask..turned out it was from ME in 2019 . Ok decision made…its a keeper!!

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