Wooden shutters have a timeless style
Shutter Hut specializes in handmade furniture for windows — otherwise known as wood shutters, said Michael Ready, a second generation owner of the Volo business, along with his brother, Shaun.
While Shutter Hut also sells a limited line of non-wood shutters and other window coverings like shades and woven wood blinds, the business is known for its quality, custom-made wood shutters. That is why interior designers and homeowners alike from all over the Chicago area and southern Wisconsin order custom shutters from the shop, he said.
"We warranty our wood shutters for as long as the customer lives in that home, and customer service is very important to us," Ready said. "That explains why we have been in business since 1974 when our father started Shutter Hut."
The sons took over in 1999 and have been running it ever since.
"When a customer chooses a wood shutter, we can match any color and offer seven different louver sizes — as opposed to the three sizes that most manufacturers offer — in a variety of shutter styles," Ready said.
Non-wood shutters, on the other hand, only come in white and come in very limited styles and louver and panel sizes. That is why less than 1 percent of Shutter Hut's business is done in non-wood shutters.
Custom-made wooden shutters take about six weeks to construct. They are made to exact measurements, taken by Shaun or Michael, and are hand finished with oil-based paint and then shipped to Volo from the factory in California. Shutter Hut's own personnel then install them. No subcontractors are ever used and installation is always included in the quoted price, along with tax and custom coloring.
"There are seldom big changes in the shutter world," Ready said, "but there are really no limits to what can be done with shutters. Any pane of glass in a home can be covered with a shutter, no matter the shape or size or function of the window."
For instance, Shutter Hut offers shutters that mount to the frame of a French door and have a cutout for the handle. They also sell both bi-fold and bypass shutters for sliding glass doors. Both mount to the frame of the door and the bi-folds open out while the bypass shutters are on a panel that slides from side to side with the door.
Likewise, octagonal windows can be covered with octagonal shutters and circular windows can be covered with circular shutters.
Those with contemporary homes tend to gravitate toward "louver mover" shutters with full-tilt louvers in which the rod is hidden. They come with very large, 3- to 4-inch louvers that offer a more open, contemporary look in a home.
Euro louvers offer a unique look with their heavier and thicker louvers, which have an angled cut in the front. Painted or stained, they tend to "dress down" a room, Ready said.
The Bahama shutter, which folds out at the bottom and remains closed on top, is also very popular.
But the backbone of the shutter industry is still the Plantation shutter. People like the clean look and the fact that they work with any décor.
"When you use Plantation shutters you have the most light control and a great view if you choose a large louver size," he said.
"Shutters are the Cadillac of window treatments and they never go out of style, no matter which style you choose. They are also great insulators from the sun, heat and cold," Ready said.
A shutter for a typical 32-by-66-inch window costs about $600, depending upon the type of shutter chosen, he said.
"The key is choosing the right size louver, based on your view, the size of the window and the size of the room," Ready said. "Shaun and I give on-site advice by making house calls at which we bring along samples and photo albums and help homeowners choose their louver size and shutter style."
"We run this business like we want to be treated and either Shaun or I see every job all the way through from start to finish," he said.
Shutter Hut has a full-size showroom at 31632 N. Ellis Drive, Suite 101, in Volo. For more information, call (847) 740-6790 or visit shutterhutinc.com.
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