Walk through any of the historic streets of Charleston, and you will find the shutter dog. Stoically holding back the exterior of a home’s shutter, but with a whimsical swirl that adds curves and grace to the home. I absolutely love shutter dogs, but until recently, I referred to them as “the thing that holds back the shutter”. During one of my many, many strolls through Hughes Lumber and Building Supply on Mary Street, I saw a display of the cast iron shutter dog. Finally a name! It’s only purpose on this display was to show off it’s “S” shape and it’s whimsy. That’s when I got my inspiration to bring the shutter dog, this quietly graceful bit of Charleston charm, from the outside to the inside.
As much as I love exposing the original lead glass windows of the home, I knew we needed to provide our guests with some level of privacy. But I wanted to have the option of bringing in the light and opening up the small space we had designated for the guest bedroom. I ordered some tie backs but wasn’t happy with the look and they extended too far out from the window framing. That’s when I got the idea for the shutter dog. This was the easiest DIY project I have ever attempted and therefore my favorite. I bought one set to test drive the concept. I was worried we would have to extend far beyond the window framing and into the plaster walls to position them to be functional. But not this was not the case. The shutter dogs I selected mounted nicely onto the exterior of the window framing, hugging the trim. Guests can easily pull the curtains shut for privacy and latch the curtains around the shutter dog to bring in the morning light.
You never know where you will find your inspiration!
Interior photography by Gillian Ellis.