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Shutterstile LLC was established in 2007 in Montross, Virginia. The company manufactures quality exterior shutters from Spanish cedar, western red cedar, oak, mahogany or other hardwood with interchangeable panels of art tile, porcelain, glass, Talavera, stone, cork, metal, or just about any other tile. Traditional raised and flat panel designs are also available.

The Shutterstile concept evolved in the winter of 2006/2007. Elizabeth and John Donley had just finished remodeling the exterior of their 1930s cottage-style home. After a great deal of deliberation, they had settled on a design that used extra wide trim boards around the windows to achieve the feel of shutters, without using actual shutters. This was a difficult decision that involved countless hours spent driving around looking at other houses for ideas. They couldn't get over the feeling that all of the houses in their community looked alike. So they expanded the search and eventually came across a newly-constructed commercial building that had the fresh look they had been seeking. The new design for their home borrowed key elements from that unlikely source.

It wasn't until the project was complete that the Donleys realized the real difference between their home and others in the neighborhood was the absence of shutters. Even as they moved on to planning the next construction project, Elizabeth couldn't help thinking about shutters. It was the shutters that made all of those houses look alike. From historic homes with operable wooden shutters, to newly-constructed double-wides with vinyl imitations of the hand-crafted originals — the shutters were the most dramatic architectural element ... and the shutters all looked alike.

Several years earlier, the Donleys had remodeled a 30s era primary school building, converting it into office space. While the exterior of the building was technically complete, it never really looked complete. Elizabeth now realized that the problem was their decision not to replace the plantation shutters that had once adorned the 50 plus windows.

So houses with shutters all look alike. And houses without shutters look incomplete. Elizabeth figured there must be a better alternative. She started to research shutter manufacturers and was surprised to find that they all make essentially the same shutters. There are a few different styles available: raised panel, plantation, board and batten. But from the street, the high-end, hand-crafted "real" shutters look exactly like the cheap vinyl shutters at the home improvement store.

Inspiration finally came to Elizabeth during the remodel of her kitchen in a Mexican motif. If Mexican tiles can make a dramatic design statement in the kitchen or the patio, why not incorporate Mexican tiles into a shutter design? In fact, why stop at Mexican tiles? Tiles offer a wider range of design options than any other decorative medium. And wouldn't it be great if you could change out the tile for a different design without replacing the shutters?

Everyone she talked to loved the concept. But not everyone was convinced it was possible to incorporate tiles into an exterior shutter. To find out, Elizabeth spent hundreds of hours online and on the phone with tile, grout, and adhesives manufacturers. Meanwhile, John got to work on a design that would allow the tiles to be replaced without removing the shutter from the wall.

By the spring of 2007, they had found just the right combination of design and materials to make it happen. They filed two patent applications and, by August, had begun making prototypes. After a few minor improvements to the design, Shutterstile LLC was born.

For the rest of the story, we encourage you to browse the pages of this Web site. We think you'll agree that the Shutterstile concept is a fresh and welcome change from those tired old shutters — a design that promises to set your home apart from all the others in your neighborhood while giving you an outlet for your own creativity.

Copyright © 2008 Shutterstile LLC