The Mediterranean region encompasses diverse cultures, whose impacts have long resonated in home design.
Today, the Mediterranean influence on U.S. homes continues to grow thanks to aspects that are both timeless and forward-looking. The sway of Mediterranean style spans from a home’s architecture to accent features like exterior shutters to interior design to landscaping.
Characteristics of Mediterranean Home Design
The Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by three continents and 22 countries. While the long histories of Mediterranean nations are rife with disparities and even conflicts, these countries also share similarities that have shaped residential design over thousands of years.
The Mediterranean climate is distinguished by hot, dry summers and mild, damp winters. Precipitation is highly variable, and much of the region is prone to swing between droughts and bouts of heavy rain. Although the Mediterranean rests well above the equator, it is home to some of the sunniest locales on Earth.
These environmental factors have shaped commonalities among homes throughout the Mediterranean that include:
- Open interior spaces that can be illuminated by natural light and facilitate air circulation
- Expansive use of windows for light and airflow
- Functional window shutters that allow residents to control light and ventilation, and can shield interiors from inclement weather
- Indoor-outdoor gathering spaces
- Extensive utilization of natural materials
Many popular luxury home styles emerged from the Mediterranean or bear traits of Mediterranean home design. Notable Mediterranean-influenced home types include Greek Revival, Italianate and Spanish, although the Mediterranean presence can be seen in other classic and contemporary home styles with open floorplans, windowed living areas and earthy materials (such as wood, stone, brick and terra cotta).
Mediterranean Homes and Exterior Shutters
Shutters originated in ancient Greece, and the earliest known shutters were placed in entryways and had operable louvers – or blades – that could be raised and lowered. This functionality provided ventilation for indoor cooking fires, and it allowed residents to manage light, airflow and privacy; it also helped block out pests and rain.
As residential design progressed, shutters moved to windows and spread throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. Over time, new shutter styles were developed and practical attributes were refined.
Following are four shutter styles that have their roots in the Mediterranean and that are widely used today with myriad home types:
1. Louver Shutters
Louver shutters’ enduring popularity is due largely to what those in the Mediterranean knew centuries ago: louver shutters are incredibly versatile.
That flexibility extends to their aesthetics. Modern louver shutters may be decorative (with fixed louvers) or functional (with blades that can be raised and lowered via tie rods), and they’re an ideal complement to nearly any house style – not just those that originated in or borrowed from the Mediterranean.
2. Panel Shutters
The oldest panel shutters were solid planks designed to open and close over windows, and they offered the same benefits as louver shutters but with added privacy and security.
Modern panel shutters present several design variations, including raised, recessed and flat panels as well as differing panel configurations. Panel shutters remain popular on Greek Revival, French Country and other home styles with Mediterranean hallmarks.
3. Board-and-Batten Shutters
Like panel shutters, operable board-and-batten shutters can open and close over their corresponding windows.
Board-and-batten shutters are recognizable by vertical boards that are held together at the tops and bottoms by thin, horizontal beams (known as battens). Board-and-batten shutters are often favored for Italianate and Spanish homes, as well as traditional and contemporary Farmhouse-style homes.
4. Combination Shutters
Combination shutters blend the trademarks of louver shutters and panel shutters in a style that may be ornamental or operable.
Combination shutters can be made with varying configurations of opaque panels and louvered segments. For example, the shutters may have lower panel segments for privacy but functional louvers on the upper segments to let in the breeze or daylight.
Custom Shutters and Personalization
These are not the only shutter styles available, and each type has individual profile options and other personalization choices.
Custom shutters foster the creation of truly unique shutters for each home. From shutter styles to materials to colors to decorative hardware to shutter cutouts, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
About Timberlane Shutters: Peerless Beauty and Performance
Timberlane is dedicated to making the world’s finest custom shutters.
We view each home as distinct, regardless of its architectural style. Our knowledgeable designers and skilled artisans have extensive experience working with trade professionals and homeowners to create the perfect exterior shutters for new builds, historic renovations and home improvements.
If you’re ready to learn more about custom shutters or request a quote, connect with Timberlane today.