Restoring the details of a late eighteenth-century Vermont farmhouse
Fred B. likes to call himself the “steward” of the 1780s Vermont farmhouse that has been in his family since 1802. Throughout the many generations that have enjoyed this home, much of the original architecture has remained—right down to the exterior shutters.
However, after a wind-shear (similar to a very localized tornado) blew by the house last summer, Fred found himself in need of some replacements. A 150-year-old tree had been blown down, crushing a trellis and tearing two shutters off their windows.
Knowing that his family had preserved the home for many years, and having an appreciation for the original architecture himself, Fred sought to restore the home to its original state and replicate the exterior details as closely as possible.
Fred began his search by checking in second-hand stores for shutters that could work as replacements. He soon found that it would not be as simple as a quick trip to a local shop.
“I realized after looking at three or four different places that I wasn’t going to find anything that was an exact match,” said Fred. “So, I did a web search, and something about [Timberlane’s] website really jumped out at me, and I just said, ‘this might be the place.’”
Having decided to use Timberlane, Fred spoke with Robb Allison, an Account Executive and shutter expert. Robb helped Fred design custom shutters that would perfectly match the ones still hanging on the old farmhouse.
“It was just a great interaction,” said Fred. “There were several details that were unique to these shutters that I was trying to replace and [Robb] was very helpful.”
Fred wanted his replacements to integrate with the original shutters seamlessly and he appreciated having a real person assist with his order. It can be difficult to get the details right without a shutter expert on your side.
“It’s always been important to me to be able to talk to somebody,” said Fred. “I didn’t want to just order something without explaining the details, and [Robb] was very helpful. And I sort of felt that I wasn’t just another order, but that I was actually a person that he was interested in dealing with.”
“We had a great conversation,” said Robb. “He had existing shutters, and we were able to match them perfectly. The process was pretty straightforward once we determined what he was looking for.”
“I took a number of photographs of the shutters that were damaged,” said Fred. “Some of them were totally crushed, but there was a good section of one that I was able to take some photographs of and measurements from.”
With all the specifications in order, Timberlane’s craftsmen got to work on building Fred’s replacements from the classic wood choice: Western Red Cedar. The original shutters on the farmhouse each had a single, continuous panel of fixed louvers. The louver, rail, and stile measurements were built exactly like the originals and painted a custom-matched color.
The shutters arrived, ready for installation. Once he was able to look at both the new and original shutters, Fred was impressed with the match. He says that—aside from many coats of paint having slightly changed the shape of the originals—they look like the same shutters.
“Unless you get up close and compare them right next to each other,” he said, “you wouldn’t know there was anything different.”