Take Joy in Little Wins :: White House, No Shutters

the process

I almost didn’t want to write this post yet because I didn’t have a good glory shot. I didn’t have that one picture where the house looks so much better that everyone automatically sees what I changed and agrees that YES that was a great decision. Then I realized if I waited until I had that shot to show you, it’d be next spring, or the next or never. AND, even though the house isn’t in its’ still glory, I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of this small, 25 minute change.


One of the things I knew when we bought the house is that I wanted to remove the shutters. I’m a shutter snob. If I have them I want them to be real and spectacular. I didn’t think these wimpy-not-quite-the right-size-for-the-windows, thin shutters were doing our house any favors. I love the simplicity of the back of the house without any shutters and I wanted the same feel on the front…

remove the shutters

Our 15-year-old removed all the shutters with a drill and a ladder.



DSC_7690  DSC_7707

Wondering about the screw holes left from the shutters? I posted one on instagram.

front door

Then there’s screen door. It’s simply not my style. And one day I’d like to change out the whole front door and side lights for double doors but until then, I noticed a way to make this decorative door not be as much as an attention hog. There were screws in the little decorative corner things. So we just unscrewed them to get a little more non-descript, non-victorian, non ‘hey world look at me‘ look.

screen door


nekkid porchduring

So instead of focusing on the fact that I want to rip out the knockout roses, the front door bugs me, there’s an orange cone in our yard that I don’t even know where it came from and why didn’t I move it? And ugh, those phone wires in the sky.  I decided to uncomplify things and recognize that even though the exterior is far from done, ….I see better.

It’s better to me because I see progress towards my goal. You may think it looks worse, and often times change can look worse before it looks better. Don’t let the knowledge that something could publicly look worse when it’s in transition to looking better stop you from making a change–remember the goal and acknowledge that you are one step closer.

white house, no shuttersmy exterior muses (musi?) on my Exterior Pinterst board

In this Pinterest world it’s so easy to trick myself into believing that I can’t rest or find beauty in something until it’s 100% complete. That’s not Pinterest’s fault. It’s my own. If I want to see the beauty in something, I can search for it, I don’t have to always have it handed to me on a platter so I can repin it.

Today I hope you choose to see the beauty in the unfinished and undone.  That’s real, approachable beauty: uncomplified.

I’m choosing to see the better.

I’m choosing to see beauty.

I’m choosing to rest in the undone.


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  1. It’s simple but it’s a great change! Love it.

  2. It was so cute before! Sorry, I would have to say, “Put them back on!”. : )

    • I have to agree with you. I thoight the shutters gave the house a finished look. The only person that needs to love their home is the person who owns it. So. If it makes you happy to look at yoir home with no shutters than good for you. Enjoy your small change and thanks for sharing!

  3. I love it! Even the smallest change is exciting! I live in a neighborhood where we are not really allowed to change a thing without approval but I painted my door turquoise anyway and it makes me so happy! I think our door is now saying “fun, happy people live here!” I have gotten so many compliments on it (still waiting for a letter from the board telling us to paint it back to black but so far so good). I so enjoy reading your blog and am looking forward to seeing all the changes you will be making to your new home :)

  4. I’ve been debating on taking our shutters off for years. We have a brick bungalow and I like the touch of black but one fell down in a storm and we never put it back. It bothers me but obviously not enough to climb up 15-20 feet to fix it. It does make me wonder if I would like the no shutter look.

  5. It looks better without the shutters. I love your ideas!!

  6. I can’t be the only one who thinks your new house looks a little Green Gables-y, right?

    (That’s totally a good thing. Obviously.)

  7. I love it and I think it’s so refreshing to see someone slowly but surely progressing towards a goal. We live in a world of instant gratification and most of the time the real world doesn’t work like that! We are hoping to move out of our apartment and buy a house next year. I’m very much looking forward to working on our new home, congratulations on yours, it looks lovely!!

  8. Looks good!

  9. I almost blogged a limerick a day…but change my title…
    but for fun…I wrote a tribute limerick about you!
    you can read it on my blog… here:


    thanks again…for hosting, Pat

  10. Thanks for the lesson. I am sure you will figure out a way to balance that massive roof mass. I wish I lived close enough to take your roses!

  11. I love this change. And thank GOODNESS your house is already white, right!?! What a blessing that is!

  12. Wow, definitely needed to read this today! We are closing on our first home today! A mid-century beauty with a long road of cosmetic repairs ahead of us. I am beyond excited, but I was stressing less night that we have less money in our reno budget than we initially thought, so some of the improvements have to wait a little while. I concluded with “As time and money and allows, we’ll make the changes we desire.” So yes- this post is completely encouraging. :-)

    This 31 day series in general has been a blessing to me- both as a blogger and a reader!

  13. Did you know that this was the topic of conversation with Melissa and me at the beach. Yep, because I am now all insecure about my green shutters that look just like yours. I showed her your instagram pic and asked her, “Do you think these are pesky?” Then I showed her my new porch and same shutters. HAHA We had a good laugh about my dream, took 17 years to build porch and their pesky shutters.

    It’s more of a classic, colonial look, but I guess it never hurts to experiment with taking one of mine down. ;)

  14. Adorable!!! I love the vision you have for it. And the quote at the bottom is fantastic.

  15. Love your home and love following you progress on your neat home!

  16. I like! It says, uncomplicated, simplicity, real. Love the quote too. I’m writing that one down.

  17. Great! We ordered shutters like these from http://www.exteriorsolutions.com . Makes a big difference!

  18. Just moved into a new house a month ago. You have no idea how much I needed this post.
    Going to rerread this over and over. Thank you!!

  19. I’m curious what you think of your many moves, now looking back from the place of your own home. Did moving frequently uncomplify anything in your heart?

  20. We put a Victorian screen door on the back door of our previous house just like the one you took out. ha We want to install one just like it on our screened porch here. Maybe we could come get yours? ha We don’t live far from you….

  21. Oh, sorry, didn’t read carefully enough- I see now that you just altered the screen door. Anyway, it’s funny how everyone loves different things. I love the Victorian look of the screen door.

  22. Thank you for this. Our house is definitely in a state of transition. This weekend my husband is FINALLY installing the new kitchen floor over the old butter yellow roll vinyl (gag, hork, why is this stuff even sold?!) I’ve been living with a freshly painted kitchen with a hugely damaged floor and no baseboards for 10 months now. But I’m glad we took the step of painting when we did so that this final step of NEW FLOOR and BASEBOARDS can actually happen. Especially since if I hadn’t taken that step my home wouldn’t be getting done anytime soon as I’m 8 months pregnant.

    The front of our house is on pretty bad shape too- but we did take the step of painting the porch to match the gutters (they were two very different blues. Bleh.) We still need to replace the rotting stairs, and put some actual foliage out there, and possibly even some stone accents. But at least we took the step towards removing the mis-matched blue.

    I feel better. Thank you.

  23. I was nodding in agreement as you wrote about the shutters. I want them to either look real and purposeful and make a statement or have none at all. Our new home also has wimpy shutters and it’s time for them to go. I can’t wait to see the house without them and with our new windows in. Yeah! Great words on incompleteness and the goodness of right now and what’s to come. Love that quote.

  24. Hi! I like it much better without the shutters! Like you, I’m a shutter snob. If they can’t be real shutters, then they have to at least LOOK like they’re real and functioning. That means they have to be the right size to cover the windows if they were able to close, and they can’t be place on the outside of the window moldings!!! LOL!

    When you said you were removing the gingerbread molding from your screen door, you broke my heart. But that’s because that’s the kind of door I want!!! But I can see how it’s a too fussy for the style you’re trying to achieve, so well done in removing them!

    I would say the only thing that would make your current change look better, and it would be a quick fix since you said you want to change them anyway, would be to paint the moldings around your side light windows white or whatever color the rest of the trim is. They are the only thing that stands out as off now from your lovely simple design.

  25. I needed this reminder, too.

    I’m living in a house I’m rebuilding alone after a fire. “In Progress” are words of hope, vs. the dead-end, defeating “Good Enough For Now,” which is how I lived with my ex- before the fire.

    I’m a waitress, so every little thing is a huge accomplishment and I can see the end goal. Oddly enough, so can my odd, somewhat crazy neighbor. Sometimes his “looking good!!” encouragements are just enough to help me not cave in and give up.

    I like your home without the shutters. They’re the type and period for your home, but it’s SO visually clean. I live in visual clutter, so I eat UP pictures like yours! Here: “Looking GOOD!”

  26. I so like the house without the shutters. Every one else has shutters so it is nice to see the older home without them. We made the choice to build our new home without shutters, many people asked when we were going to add them. Still glad we made the right choice. I am enjoying your progression on the house and each step as you get the house you love. Have fun with it as hard as it all is. Alaina

  27. We have green roof with green shutters too….but I am the opposite and am actually looking at putting shutters ON the back side of our “builder grade” 2-story house to break up the sheer expanse of light grey siding for more interest and appeal.

  28. Everyone has to “build their own banana split” in life. Different seasons bring a need for different looks too. If this is the look you need for this season, then removing them was the perfect choice. Smiling with you as you enjoy the fresh, clean look. Don’t you just want to let out a great big sigh and relax just a little bit more now that those things are done? That is how I always feel when some “little” big thing is finally accomplished.

  29. “Don’t let the knowledge that something could publicly look worse when it’s in transition to looking better stop you from making a change–remember the goal and acknowledge that you are one step closer.”

    Yes, yes and YES!!!! Your statement and the quote from ‘Choosing Rest’ have just described my (very slow) house renovations (minor renos), and my life!! I’m in the process of ‘updating’ my tired, but very loved, home, and in rebuilding our marriage from divorce. Both parts of my life require patience, a lot of intentional love, and stepping back from the details to seeing the beauty in the process itself, in what is right in front of me. Every project, every conversation, every bit of planning takes us one step closer to achieving the goal – even if we can’t ‘see’ the end goal just yet!!

    Thank-you for your words :-)

  30. I am currently building a home… White two story farmhouse… and we were supposed to have shutters… The wimpy kind put on. But once I saw it without shutters I feel in love with the clean, simple look of it! Yours looks great as well! There’s something simple and beautiful about it!

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