Before & After: The Shutter Project by Laura @ Olive and Love

June 26, 2010 | by Ethan (email) |

Update: I’ve added pictures of the completed wall! 28 August 2010

It’s that time again! Last week kicked off our 3rd annual Before and After series- posts dedicated to highlighting fellow DIYers and raising support for Habitat for Humanity. I look forward the this time every year and am very impressed by some of the projects our readers have submitted.

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This weeks winner shows a super creative way to add texture using shutters purchased from a Habitat ReStore! Laura from Olive and Love has a whole wall of personality where none existed before.

For her submission, Laura gets a $50 gift card to either Lowes, Home Depot, or Amazon, and we’re making a $100 donation to Habitat for Humanity in her honor. Check out Laura’s story, today’s Habitat Quick Fact and information on entering your own project!

Before and After 2010 blue

The Shutter Project by Laura @ Olive and Love


Ah the shutter project. Sorta my baby….I love it, it’s kinda messy, takes up a lot of my time, and has been fun to show off. But you know how when you get a new car, you notice everyone else driving it?….in the same color? Or when you name your kid, or dog something creative and unique, suddenly you hear it all the time? Well, I’ve had a little of that too. My inspiration for this project came from a display at Anthropologie. The display used shutters but in no way was it close to how I chose to recreate my dining room wall. Since beginning my project I’ve come across a couple similar ideas. My friend Melody who lives in Davis, CA mentioned that one of her favorite restaurants in Sacramento has walls covered with shutters. I googled sacramento restaurant shutters and look what I found:


It seems as though they used shutters of mostly the same size, which I have to add would probably be a lot easier when it comes to fitting them together. I also like their use of an occasional horizontal shutter. They covered their ceiling with the shutters which really intensifies the motif but is sort of like considering a fourth child in my house…..NOT going to happen. On a side note, I like their use of three stacked coffee tables for display purposes. I could imagine that in a corner of a room near a window, used for plants.

Flipping through the new Pottery Barn catalog I came across page 45, with a picture of the Como Headboard. The website didn’t show the wall to the extent that the catalog did so I took a picture of it.


Uh, shutters? On the wall? Did they not get my fax about the copyright on that idea? In fact it looks quite similar to my guest room wall.


Which, by the way my husband thinks we should consider taking this down so we don’t over use shutters in our home. What do you think? I don’t mind it and think it adds enough character to the room and is far enough away from the dining room to not matter. (Ironically the shutters in the dining room are on the other side of this wall.) This collection of white shutters with hinges used to be the actual headboard of the queen bed we had in this room. When we moved our master bedroom (cal king) furniture into the guest room, we left it on the wall behind the iron head board.


…Anyhow the shutter project is coming along. I invited friends over to paint with me….Thank you Robin, Caroline and Rachel! My daughter also painted a few and besides working next to me, she mentioned that she enjoyed the time she spent painting them quietly by herself. This is my four year old I’m talking about here….enjoying the tranquility of a little art therapy. Interestingly my artsy 6 year old son wanted nothing to do with painting the shutters, but quite enjoyed helping his daddy with attaching the wooden support beams.


After priming 5/8 inch OSB plywood, my wonderful supportive husband Dan, ran them through his table saw, cutting four inch wide strips. What is OSB plywood you ask?


Working with the table saw in the front yard always brings the neighbors asking questions ….”Laura’s covering our dining room wall in shutters.” “….She’s what?”

After priming and trimming two sheets of the OSB plywood, Dan and Riley attached them horizontally about every foot or so on the wall. Additional small pieces of the plywood needed to be attached to insure the shutter was not at an angle on the wall.


Using a stud finder (convenient when I was in college), Dan made sure the support beams were screwed into the studs. He even climbed them to prove their stability. No pictures of this stunt unfortunately…just my stud. I had planned to paint all of the plywood the same color as the wall but after getting about two thirds finished I decided to only paint where the shutters didn’t line up perfectly.

Getting these guys lined up just right was like a giant game of Tetris. Micro cuts here and there were made to get them to fit just right. Most cuts were made on the top or bottom, and many of the double opening shutters were cut in half. We plan on going back with small cuts of wood to fill in any spaces left when we’re finished attaching all the shutters. We’ll either use remnants of shutters that have been trimmed or small pieces of MDF.

One of the giant shutters that was not a double opening shutter was cut in half. This had to be done at just the right spot on the sides to account for the shutter part being left intact. So far the only shutters that have needed a vertical cut have been the bottom two shutters on the far right.


We have some shutters left, but not quite enough to finish the job. I decided to stop with a few left so that I can complete the project evenly once I have all the shutters ready. I had abdominal surgery 2 weeks ago and can not lift anything over ten pounds for 4 more weeks so this project has been put on hold for a bit. I plan to make a trip out to the Habitat for Humanity thrift Shop soon to see what treasures are waiting.


The shutters have started a domino effect of upgrades (good-bye chandelier) and I’m gathering ideas for other evolutions for my dining room like table, chairs and lighting.

Many months after I figured I’d finish my shutter wall, it is finally done! It looked finished by last June after my in-laws came to visit.

Arnold and Andy helped Dan with the final cuts and holes while I painted the last pieces. Thank goodness for family that likes to be busy. It was quite the game of Tetris to get the wall covered.

Thanks from One Project Closer!

Laura, I think it’s really inspiring how you recycled shutters into something beautiful! Be sure to send us a picture of the finished product and we’ll update the post. Thanks again.

Habitat for Humanity Quick Fact

Habitat just wrapped up its 2010 Habitat World photo contest with more than 350 people from around the world submitting photos representing the homebuilding organization’s life-changing work.
[Excerpt from]

Photo contest winner Neil Reid captured his photograph “New Hope” while building with Habitat in Mozambique.

“We received more than 650 entries for our contest, and the photos truly capture the heart of Habitat’s work around the world,” said Shala Carlson, managing editor of Habitat World. “We are pleased that so many people shared with us their images of the housing need that exists everywhere and of Habitat’s efforts to meet that need, and we congratulate our winner Neil Reid and our four finalists.”

Reid, a 33-year-old civil engineer, submitted “New Hope,” a photograph he took while volunteering with Habitat in Mozambique.

“To me, ‘New Hope’ summarizes all that Habitat stands for. We see a group of children, all of whom have a new home and all of whom have been given a new start in life,” said Reid. “I truly hope my photograph will inspire even one person to undertake a trip with Habitat and help give a little something back.”

If you want to partner with us, you can visit Habitat’s online donation page, or you can sign up to volunteer in your community.

3 Responses
  1. jenny barker says:

    I love Laura Durrer’s project- very smart and looks great!

  2. Yanet says:

    I love the shuttered wall. Putting it together like a puzzle looks like no easy task.

  3. Jaya Bhumitra says:

    this is so creative! i never would have thought about this – and yanet is right – it is totally a puzzle! love it!

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