Shutter Madness

As you tour around Medfield it would not be unreasonable to conclude that there must some kind of ordinance requiring shutters. I’d estimate that nine out of ten houses have them — no exaggeration — regardless of age.

The house in the photo above is probably something like 200 years old, and when it was built the shutters had a function: they could be closed to help keep out the weather. Not so anymore. Today’s shutters are tack-on decoration. But the people take full creative advantage of them — check out a sample of the color palette on exhibit in my 1960s subdivision:

This last one is in a newer development and is probably only about ten years old. Double height shutters rule! (And yes, that’s an antique saw mounted on the wall.)

As to why these useless pieces of architectural decoration are so prevalent in small New England towns, it’s simply modern tribalism. People are comfortable with the familiar. Builders believe, rightly, that their buyers expect shutters, and so shutters they deliver.