Saturday, September 4, 2010


When I go to Europe I love to look at the doors and windows. Not just because they are old and different, but because they seem to tell a story. Take a look at some of the great windows and doors I saw while in France earlier in the summer.

This beautiful shutter is shiny and looks like it is freshly lacquered; yet the building is old. What does this tell you about the people who live here?
Contrast that with this set of shutters. They have not seen a fresh coat of paint in awhile. They look tired and worn, yet if you look at the curtains inside, you know that someone lives in the house and takes care of it. And, you have to ask, how many storms these shutters have seen? When were they last painted? Is paint necessary?

Most windows have window boxes filled with flowers. Most windows have shutters, but this set of windows also had awnings, which was not too common. I like how the center shutters overlap, something you never see in the US, mainly because shutters are decorative as opposed to useful.

Upon closer inspection, the shutters are worn, but still retaining their sea blue paint. Notice how the shutter is held down, and how the shutters were made to overlap one another. What is the purpose of these shutters? Since there is an awning, they are not to keep the home cool. I guess they protect home from storms? Or, are they just pretty? The stories the blue shutters could tell...
Then there are doorways. Most Europeans do not have a front lawn like Americans. Houses are built on the street and they might have a planter or flower box or a set of vases beside the front door. These doors were unusual because they had glass in them. Most doors are wood, albeit carved, and they create the front decoration of the house. Now, take a close look at the windows. See the reflection?
The window in the doors reflects what is across the this is the view that you see from the front doors. It’s no wonder that the door has glass panels instead of carved wood panels. The scene is the inner harbor in Honfleur which is absolutely gorgeous.
I have a bunch  more windows and doors in  my collection, but I like this street scene. I took this picture in Caudebec, France, a few miles from Honfleur. It’s an ancient village that boasts a Templar House from the 12th century and a 14th century cathedral (called Notre Dame, of course). Here you see the shutters are closed to protect the home from the heat of the day, the colorful flower box in lieu of a front lawn, and the pretty arched doorway into the home.  This is not a new structure as it probably dates to the 14-16th century, yet the shutters are tidy and neat. There seems to be a sense of pride here. The present owner is taking care of this beautiful home for the next generation.

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