repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

Repurposed Plantation Shutters

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These repurposed plantation shutters have a new home far from any window, and they’re the perfect creative solution for a master closet makeover problem.

Apparently my babes isn’t the spring chicken she once was.

Though she’s probably not quite ready for prune juice and green pastures yet, some little tasks around the house are getting just a wee bit more difficult for her…*ahem* maturing…bones.

Take our laundry chute, for example.

laundry chute

A simple affair. Really nothing more than a box with a hole in the bottom and a lid made from MDF.

Ahhhhhh, but that lid.

That lid.

Though it may not look it, MDF is much heavier than a like-sized piece of pine or plywood. And as our laundry chute is big enough to fit several people and their soiled linens and smelly smallclothes in its gaping maw, the lid is big and rather heavier than it would appear at first glance.

Now, for a rippling specimen of rock-hard muscle like me [lololol, since when did you start writing fantasy?? ??? -Handan], that laundry chute lid presents no more challenge than a piece of tissue paper. But for my poor, withering babes, lifting that lid each morning is like lifting a manhole cover.

And besides her…oldification, I’m pretty sure my babes harbors a secret fear that someday in the far far far future, when I start to get a little weak in the legs, I may accidentally lose my balance, fall into the chute, and end up a twisted, broken wreck at the bottom.

My babes has an active imagination when it comes to my safety…or danger.

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So as part of our master closet makeover, she wanted to replace that big, heavy lid with something lighter. Moreover, she wanted the new lid to be a bi-fold job. Her reasoning was that it would be easier just to lift half a lid to deposit her rose-scented socks, but I know she really wants a half lid so I don’t lose my balance and fall to my death someday when I start reaching my late middle-age years sometime around or after 2072.

Regardless of her reasoning, if my babes wants a bi-fold laundry chute lid, my babes is gonna get a bi-fold laundry chute lid!

I was already working out the details in my mind – what kind of wood (3/4 inch plywood?), what color stain (special walnut?) and what hardware I’d need – when my babes informed me that she wanted to make the lid from an old plantation shutter we had in the basement.

Now, this was one of the countless times that I’ve listened to one her ideas and then immediately reached for my phone to dial up the men in white coats with butterfly nets. The idea of using a shutter as a laundry chute lid was so…so… ludicrous, I couldn’t even laugh at it. All I could do was widen my eyes in shock and slowly back away from the person who uttered such fantastical nonsense.

But then I stopped dialing and had a second think on the matter. I thought back to all the times she had ideas that I considered battier than a belfry or loonier than a Canadian dollar. In every one of those instances, it turned out that her idea wasn’t so wackadoodle after all. In fact, every time I envisioned the padded walls for my beloved babes, she turned out to be right, and I was proven wrong!

So with this in mind, I said to her, “My babes, I’m just gonna put this out there. I’m very skeptical of this, but every time I’ve doubted your ideas, I’ve been wrong, so I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Who says you can’t teach an old walrus new tricks?

I went to the basement and retrieved one half of the pair of bi-fold, louvered plantation shutters Handan had picked up from the Put & Take so many years ago. I brought it upstairs and saw that it fit the opening almost perfectly. I’d just need to cut a small board for the back. I started to see that my babes might be onto something with this idea.

I took the plantation shutter back to the basement and removed the hardware.

removing hardware from a plantation shutter

On a side note – when I started this post, I had no idea what these shutters were called. A quick search revealed they were called bi-fold, louvered plantation shutters, and ones exactly like those we got for free are selling on eBay for upwards of $100! Gotta love the Put & Take. It’s too bad we don’t have one here in Georgia.

After removing the old handle and latch, I also removed the hinges. In order for this to fold in the way Handan wanted, I’d have to move the hinges from the back to the front.

installing hinges on a plantation shutter

Handan gave me a nicer-looking knob to install. It had a thicker screw, so I drilled out a bigger hole for it.

installing a new knob on a plantation shutter
installing a new knob on a plantation shutter

As usual, my babes managed to capture my enormous head in all its bulbous glory.

man with big head

Okay, so Handan wanted the shutter to remain its original color – I only cleaned it with mineral spirits. I did have to cut and color-match a piece of pine, shown in the picture below. I used a combination of two penetrating stains and a topcoat of gel stain to get a pretty good match.

When the pine piece was dry, I placed it on the back of the chute and then measured to make sure I had the shutter properly lined up.

installing a repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

Then I secured the pine piece with brad nails. I didn’t use construction adhesive just in case my babes ever changes her mind about this lid.

installing a repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid
installing a repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

I marked where the hinges would attached with a punch.

installing a repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

And then I screwed the shutter in place.

installing a repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

Here it is in action.

repurposed plantation shutter laundry chute lid

I always admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong to doubt Handan’s idea. The shutter makes a perfect laundry chute lid, and it’s light and easy to open.

But there was just one more thing…

I noticed that the chute was still wearing paint from the original owners. It clashed with the clean new look of the master closet. I grabbed a pole and some ultra pure white and got to work.

painting a laundry chute
painting a laundry chute

When I finished painting, I went down to the laundry room to inspect my work from the ground floor. It was then that I realized I’d painted it the wrong color. When I painted the bottom of the chute during our laundry chute makeover, I used Bohemian Lace, not ultra pure white. Back up I went with the right paint and corrected my work.

Now we have a fully finished laundry chute with a beautiful new lid made from an old plantation shutter. It’s amazing what Handan’s brain comes up with for upcycles and repurposes!

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

I thought it would look weird and awkward, but I think it totally works!

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -
Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

And I modified one of our laundry room printables to better-suit the chute.

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

I know the whole area looks a little plain at the moment, but once we finish our master closet makeover, things will be spiced up a bit!

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

The knob looks great, and it matches some other hardware you’ll soon see in other parts of the closet.

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

And my babes feels better leaving a small opening like this, instead of the full gaping maw when the old lid was raised.

Repurposed Plantation Shutters -

The master closet makeover is in full swing now, and next week I’ll show you how we put our IKEA BRIMNES to work. Stay tuned!

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  1. Another original, wonderfully functional idea executed magnificently! How’s that for a compliment??!! lol!!

  2. Nope. Those are plain old shutters. Plantation Shutters are the full-window ones with big louvers.
    Nice job, though. 🙂

  3. I always wanted a laundry chute in my dream house. It would sure beat hauling laundry down two flights of stairs to the basement. It’s one house feature I wish they would bring back!

    And never doubt Handan’s clever and inventive mind. The shutter not only works well, it gives the box more character.

      1. LOL Some of my walls are the old style plaster not wallboard–that stuff is like cement to cut. But demo with a Sawzall is fun!

  4. Hi Greg & Handan,
    What a great idea! The shudder worked perfectly! I love the clever sign as well! Now if you can invent one that drops the clothes directly into the washer & just like “The Jetson’s” wash, dry & fold. ?

  5. Good idea, but those are not plantation shutters. Plantation shutters are bigger, beefier and lots more $$ than regular shutters.

  6. Not only are you wildly creative, handy and productive… you are one very funny and entertaining writer.
    I love these projects… just to read how this goes in your head. ?

  7. Good work Greg! Now..maybe you can make something like a dumb waiter of sorts to put the clean laundry in to bring it back up instead of having to carry it! I think the little woman might appreciate that! ?

  8. Awesome project!!
    I have been after my hubs to make a shoot for recyclables. Our house sits above our garage and that is our entrance.
    Your wife is soooo lucky!

  9. Love this idea! You never disappoint. Just to let you know, we had these same shutters with same white china knobs in our kitchen windows in the early 1970’s. Guessing my dad bought them at the hardware store. I remember he had a devil of a time getting them to fit the windows..

  10. Nicely done! And glad to see you wearing your ear protection – good job! Haven’t heard any updates on your ears recently… hoping there has been some improvement with time…?

    1. Thanks, Julie! Well, my hearing is mostly back, and I only have sensitivity to certain loud sounds in certain frequency ranges, so that’s good. Ringing is still there, but that’s okay. I’m just happy I can hear properly again! 🙂