Starting out as a company that repaired metal and wood blinds on government buildings, Decatur Venetian Blind Company was founded by Earl Austin in 1939 in Decatur, Georgia.
Wayne Austin took over for his father over 50 years ago and made the bold decision to change the direction of the business to manufacture shutters and blinds, rather than simply repair existing window coverings. “Historical architecture is my passion. We designed our products to replicate the original designs from the 1800s,” said Austin.
An architect in the classical tradition, Thomas Jefferson designed and created drawings of exactly how he wanted the shutters and blinds in his house to look. All spacings and dimensions were included to minute details. “Many of our country’s founders had wooden blinds and shutters listed in their last wills and testaments,” Austin said, “so we started with Jefferson and things kind of took off from there.”
DeVenco’s products can be found in historic buildings, fabricated to match existing shutters and blinds. They are also prevalent in new homes that imitate the design of 1700s and 1800s historic homes. “A lot of wooden blinds are popped out of molds and imported these days, but not ours,” Austin said. “We make a truly custom shutter or blind from scratch to match the client’s interior.”
Another development that advanced DeVenco was their introduction of pocket shutters as a style that they could produce. Pocket shutters are found primarily found in Brownstones and other older, masonry structures with thick walls in the Northeast. “These homes usually have window pockets that shutters fold and completely disappear into,” Austin explained. “The raised panels then fold out and completely cover the window when needed.” Gaining understanding of this niche product further cemented DeVenco as an historical replicator and helped to expand the business.
Most recently, the Austin family made the decision to retire and sell their business. In 2019, Dubuque Window & Door acquired the business which fit in well with the millwork, windows, doors, storm windows, and storm doors fabricated by Adams Architectural Millwork. Also a family-owned business, the shutters provide another historical product to add to our trade.
We start by working with you to understand your needs – if you are looking for a specific type of shutter or an historic look in a room. We will prepare a quote for you using your window measurements. When you are ready to proceed with an order we ask for a down payment to begin the process.
Our CAD drafter prepares a drawing for you to review and approve which will show your shutters in the exact style you want, scaled to size. It will illustrate the louvers or panels, the tilt control arm (if applicable), rabbeting, hinge mortise locations, and the measurements of each leaf. Once the drawing has been reviewed and approved by the customer, it moves into our production queue.
Once your project is started by our team on the shop floor, all components of the shutter are fabricated, cut to size, CNC work is completed (drilling holes in the stiles for the louver pins), and all materials are primed (if applicable). During this stage, we are watching for defects in the materials and sanding to ensure you will be receiving the exceptional quality you expect. We mortise for hinges as shown in the drawings.
Before the shutter goes to finishing (or ships out the door if no finishing is being done by us), we measure all leafs together with the hardware to ensure the measurements match what you provided. The shutters are then finished in your approved paint color or the stained shutter is varnished. We can also leave them raw for you to finish yourself.
After finishing, hardware is installed and the shutters are measured one last time to ensure accuracy. They are packaged carefully to avoid issues in shipping and once final payment is received, tracking information is provided when the shutters leave for delivery. Installation instructions are available, making the whole process as easy as possible for our customers.