30 Mar 2011

The French Shutter

Perhaps it is the worn patina, maybe it is the idea of ‘behind closed shades’ or it could be that I am enamoured with that grey-blue and no-colour greige that the French do so beautifully but the truth is I love a french shutter. I find the older ones (top right) prettier simply because the combinations of paneling are more varied than their modern counterparts and because the paint colours are bleached back by the Provencal sun.

I am in the process of trying to find that perfect shade to re-paint our shutters. The harsh climate has meant that they have split and become porous…a no, no apparently. I am trying to blend a colour that looks not only original but naturally worn. I want to change from the greyish blue they are now to a stoney, creamish colour with just a touch of grey…. Not as easy as it sounds……xv

p.s…the trees pictured above are plane trees…without their exuberant foliage which would normally hide much of the architectural beauty in the village…

VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com



Hi Vicki, These are divine. Keep me posted because I want to paint a clients house shutters something age worn and beautiful.


Somehow the shutter is a perfect representative of Southern France. I hope you find the perfect colour for you. X

The enchanted home

I am sure you will find just the right shade, as you have so much beautiful inspiration around you…and like you I love the charm that shutters add to just about anything. And that perfecy milky gray/blue color is my absolute fave!

snippets of thyme

Oh yes! Why we put these awful "fake" shutters on our American homes I cannot understand. When we stayed in Saignon (up the hill from Apt), I went to each and every shuttered window every morning and evening to go through the ritual of opening or closing them. They were pocket shutters that folded into the window frame. The hardware latch was heavy black iron and beautifully molded (?). I took several photos of shutters everywhere in the small towns. Good luck making your decision. Fun!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Oh, this is so beautiful.. I think this picture is poetic.

I'm looking at it and I can't describe what I feel. If those shutters could talk they would tell wonderful stories about the people passing by…

Have a wonderful day, Vicki.


Luciane at HomeBunch.com


I just love the French shutters with their huge variaten of color shades. I have filed some 100 images of them all over the last years.


In search of the perfect stoney, creamish colour with a touch of grey…I like the way you think Vicki…when you find it please be sure to let us know.
I have a feeling that half the fun will be in the search :)
Jeanne xx


We did up our old town house and re-did the facade, and the Mairie stipulated the colour we had to use for the shutters…so sadly they are now gris souris but they were the tradtional, grey-blue before. I would have loved to have mixed up my own colour. I never tire of looking at all the beautiful old shutters on the houses.

Karen in CT

… I helped my sister look for that very color … we tested virtually 10 colors on the walls before we "got there" … rewarding, but difficult … bon chance … p.s. I do LOVE "My Little Paris" … so glad to see it on your blog. Cheers

La Petite Gallery

OH VICKI!! When I lived in Florida, all I had was shutters, love them, but mine were inside and I was always dusting them. What kind if tree is that Knarled tree? I would love to paint that.
Been dreaming of Paris. Renee brought me back some brochures from Lido and Moulin Rouge.
Remembering all the beautiful french women carring their flowers upside down with a loaf
of bread under the arm. At least I have my memories..Yvonne


We stayed in a little farmhouse just outside of St. Remy last summer and I loved that town and especially the market! Beautiful shot that capture the quaintness of the town's architecture beuatifully! Lucky you to have shutters – good luck with the color choice!


God those are gorgeous and recreating the exact color is truly a science. Not to take the romance out of looking, but you take the eye dropper from Photoshop and see which color it is, print it and take it to the local hardware store. They will color match it for you exactly, and you can tweak it if it's too light or dark in person. Can't wait to see what you do! You're home is such an inspiration!


Searching for that "perfect" color is admirable. I applaude your efforts. To some it's just paint and most anything will do but to one who loves color even more than sugar, I know the joy of finding the perfect color. Wishing you success in your hunt.


I'm pretty besotted with French shutters myself. I have some really "needy" ones that when I post, I"ll link right here.

BTW, my friend that ordered the candles on your header has a wonderful French mirrored coffee table in her shop now. We're going to arrange the candles on it a la Vicki and take photographs. Of course I'll post them, but probably on my Birmingham photoblog.

I Dream Of

Good luck with you search for the perfect shutter color. It's like finding just the right accessory to add the right finishing to a favorite outfit.


These are so lovely! I love the colors and the little ragged feel to them.
I am sure you will find the right ones for your home.
PS: My parents stay over the winter in Pernes les fontaines and I am delighted how much they love everything!
The shutters there are all blue gray against occur painted walls! Just gorgeous!

Laura @ 52 FLEA

Love your photo and of course, old and worn shutters with that perfect blue gray color make my heart sing! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your home…sure it will be fabulous! :)


I'm just about to repaint the window frames of my house in L.A. and searching for the perfect, almost mythical Provençal color. I still don't know what that is but please tell us when you find it.

I'm pretty sure the trees are 'platanes' or sycamores. In France they trim them yearly which gives the branches that gnarled look. In L.A. they aren't pruned and take on a very different appearance.


Hi Vicki, Just about the hardest thing in the world is to achieve the perfect paint tone; especially when the goal is not only to paint, but also to achieve a soul quality and depth. I love the gnarled photo of the plane trees–reminds me so much of Spain–although their gorgeous summer canopy covers up the architectural details; what a gift they are as shade during the long hot summers. Good luck with the shutters/be well…….Mary

carolyn bradford

I can't believe you just did a post about french shutters! This is very exciting to me as we just put up an entire wall of french shutters in a very worn blue gray paint to add some architectural elements to the back part of my shop! Will put up pictures later today! So glad I saw this! Check vintagemulberry.blogspot.com later for some quick pics of our re-do while it's still underway! Would love any suggestions!
Sincerely, Carolyn

red ticking

i wish i were there to help… i love doing this.. i find it amazing to experiment with color.. i have some ideas but not being there you know color can be fabulous here but not at all right for you there… if you would like suggestions… i am happy to help! whatever you select… it will be perfect… xo


Your photo is worthy of framing and hanging! My heart skips a beat whenever I see this mystical color only the French can pull off.
Enjoy this week.


Vicki, I too love to see what kinds of shutters and doors are on homes. It IS difficult to find just the right shade!

Art by Karena

Diane Dorrans Saeks

Hi Vicki-

Some thoughts:
1. Any paint will 'age' fast, so it is OK if it looks new at first.
2. use old paints…well, old formulas…like the ones by Farrow & Ball which were designed for old houses..
3. Work with a decorative artist to 'age' them a bit…they can use chalk and line and other natural chemicals into the paints…
it will be great…you have such a great sense of this.
cheers, DIANE

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme

I love the very light, creamy green I see often over there. And I especially love it when, after seeing so much of the same color, I see that someone has contributed a completely different, colorful shade of something to their shutters. Sometimes it's purple (but not very often)! Can't wait to see what you come up with!


What would French architecture be without shutters and gorgeous wrought iron balconies? I love love love European shutters of every colour and design, even the almost decayed ones, in fact maybe I even love them best of all…


the perfect colors for you would be the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors! (Not to be confused with chalkboard paint) go to Miss Mustard Seed to see what I am talking about ! You will LOVE them!

p.s. there is also a color that Miss Mustard Seed didn't use and that is Provence which is the pretties blue I have ever seen! You can always dilute the colors as well. You could never go wrong with this paint.

Annie Sloan's web site: http://www.anniesloan.com/

Sandy ( I would leave my website but it's in the process of being updated ! )

under spanish moss

Oh Vicki…I just adore french shutters. The blue is beautiful. I tried to match this color for the hurricane shutters on the front of my house and did not quite achieve the color I wanted. I ended up repainting them and doing a tone on tone with the painted brick. I recently read an article about using a mixture of paint and milk, of all things, to give you that chalky look. I will see if I can locate that article to pass along to you.

Best Regards,

Tish Jett

Hello, dear Vicki,

I know, aren't those bleached out colors unspeakably beautiful? Two things I love about living in France that I never imagined before are: the closing of bedroom shutters at night (we had them on our house, but I don't know if they worked) and a fenced or walled-in garden. Paradise.

No, I think the search for the color you described will take time and patience.


Francine Gardner

I am in the process of replacing our shutters, unfortunately repainting them is no longer an option! It was areal treat meeting you in New York, can't wait to visit during my next trip to Avignon.

Lost in Provence

Isn't this funny but I actually visited the apartment that is the lower right on the photo. It is to rent, inexpensively at 600€ or so per month. My sweetheart and I both couldn't quite love it based on its location and style but what a lovely view on the church it had!


That is such a lovely shot to see first thing when I turned on my computer. I love the shutter and its colour. Mind, I'd even love a hot pink shutter. Any shutter would be fine. I've been thinking of adding shutters to our little brick. One more job on the endless list of to-do. xx

Frog Hill Designs

I purchased a pair of robin's egg blue vintage french shutters and they hung on our wall like a gorgeous work-of-art. They were a stunning sculptural focal point.

Janet Hild, froghilldesigns.blogpspot.com


Do you have a photo of the blue vintage french shutters on your blog? I’d love to see them. Thanks.

Frog Hill Designs

I purchased a pair of robin's egg blue vintage french shutters and they hung on our wall like a gorgeous work-of-art. They were a stunning sculptural focal point.

Janet Hild, froghilldesigns.blogpspot.com

david terry

Watch it, Vicki, or else you'll end up like Nancy Lancaster (the famous niece of the famousLady Astor…and the final fact is that all of them were the daughters and granddaughters of a pretentious Virginia livery-stable owner)….

In the late 30's or thereabouts,Nancy famously ended up buying-out the "interior decorator" firm of Colefax & Fowler, and she got the ultra-prissy, relentlessly self-promoting and parasitic (for better or worse, I know this sort of people, thank you) John Fowler into the bargain.

She wanted to re-paint one of the larger rooms at one of her even-more-larger houses,and she wanted the "tone" of a large salon in some other large&big;&old; house…and he came back (after MONTHS AND MONTHS of expensive, prissy dickering and dawdling) with some color to which she objected. She was tired of the wait, and her husband was tired of the bills…..while the room remained unpainted.

she was told "Oh,…..but this is EXACLTY the shade you need to match that at ______Hall. Just give it 200 years…"

And?….tired of the wait and the expense, she resorted to her actual background and replied "Well, that's fine, but I don't HAVE 200 years!"

Advisedly yours as ever,

david terry

mondo cherry

How I love shutters, especially French ones with their beautiful worn and muddy colours. There is a shop here that imports a few for decorative accents and they are ruinously expensive! Good luck with your search for the perfect colour for your shutters – keep us posted in the result.
Clare x


I am looking for a blue gray for my exterior shutters. Any suggestions?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital