This Home’s Ultra-Skinny Shutters Let Picture Windows Be Picture Windows

For starters, they keep a unique pest out.
big picture window in entry

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When interior designer Zarah Riley was working with Stretch Architects to design her family’s new home in a small seaside area in South Africa, she didn’t only have to consider natural elements, like the powerful wind that rolls in from the surf, but wildlife, too. “We live right by the mountain, so there are a lot of baboons in the neighborhood,” shares Riley. Their town, Kommetjie, which is an hour’s drive south of Cape Town, is known to have many of these cheeky primates. They often climb in through windows, wreaking havoc in homes, opening trash cans, and eating food. 

office with big windows

Because the family lives right by the beach, where some of the rooms have ocean views, Riley didn’t want to compromise on smaller windows. When she confronted Stretch Architects about her conundrum, it suggested keeping her large fixed windows but putting in long, slender timber shutters on the sides that could be opened for ventilation (most of them are around 8 inches wide but different heights depending on where they are in the house). “We can open the shutters to get fresh air but don’t have to worry about kids crawling out or baboons crawling in,” she says. 

bathroom with shutter

The shutters, which were designed by the firm, also serve as an alternative form of security to giant steel security bars or gates, which Riley didn’t want because they detract from the scenery. “They allow us to have these big picture-frame windows to maximize views,” she says.

While they are extremely practical, naturally, the little wood doors are also nice to look at. “From an aesthetic point of view, we wanted to add warmth and a point of interest to the house,” says Riley. When you’ve essentially got the ocean as your backyard, investing in a clever design solution that solves three problems in one is worth it.

shutter in bedroom