There is no other style that has stood the test of time like a shaker kitchen.
Shaker kitchen design can suit country cottages, coastal retreats and grand period homes. The timelessless of any Shaker kitchen is achieved by simple, unpretentious design with no fussy decoration.
History of shaker style
Shaker design dates back to the mid-18th century and showcases simplicity, craftmanship and functionality. The lack of decoration and ornamentation and the simplicity of its cabinets is what gives a shaker kitchen its charm. Shaker furniture is a distinctive style that was developed by the United Society of Delivers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as Shakers. They were a religious sect that were guided by the principles of simplicity, utility and honesty all of which were reflected in their furniture which was well-made and had a minimalist design.
Shaker communities were largely self-sufficient and, in their attempt, to separate themselves from the outside world, members grew their own food, constructed their own buildings and created their own furniture and tools.
Each piece of furniture was thoughtfully made, perfectly suited to its purpose. Ornamentation, such as inlays, carvings or veneers, were seen as prideful and as such they developed different solutions to add visual interest. Furniture was typically made of cherry, maple or pine which was stained or painted with colours dictated by the sect, which were typically blue, red, yellow or green.
As well as being beautiful, shaker furniture showcases skill and craftsmanship behind their manufacturing. They believed that all things held a purpose as each piece of furniture that was created was a testament to god, which gave them a drive to refine their process and only pick the best materials.
In today’s modern world we have technology to help us with our manufacturing, but Shakers would have used handmade tools that required precision and patience to refine their furniture and products.
This process is showcased with the creation of their kitchen cabinet doors. Shaker kitchen design uses a five-piece door front which created some of the most beautiful doors which were, of course, immensely practical. By making the kitchen door from two rails, two stiles and a centre panel there was little waste which continued to maintain a solid structure; this became their signature style; the framed panel or Shaker kitchen door.
Traditional shaker designs feature no carvings, as Shakers would have deemed this wasteful and prideful. Colours were kept to a primary palette and whilst most opted for oiling their natural wood kitchen, some chose red, yellow, green or blues to add depth to their open plan houses.
Although historically Shakers would have used Cherry wood and Maple to manufacture their furniture, Oak is now the popular choice as it allows the natural grain to show through, even when painted.
Whilst typically we think shaker style of the look of the kitchen furniture, it is important to note that all shaker households would have had a place for everything, and everything in its place. Common features include peg rails to hang garments, drawers in tables for storing utensils close to hand and even drawers and wardrobes that took up an entire wall- think a variant of the typical English dresser.
Shaker kitchens never date and look great in traditional and contemporary homes. There are a number of ways that you can incorporate Shaker kitchen design into your plans. It has traditional appeal and is timeless in its design, but there a number of ways that you can modernise this look without having to adopt all the principles of shaker kitchen design. Everything from the colour you choose, from neutral ivory a more modern cobble grey, to the type of worktops and handles you choose, your local symphony kitchen stockist will be able to help you.
Although it goes against the Shaker beliefs, why not be a rebel and add a little interest with your kitchen doors? It’s a great way of personalising your space. So why not think about choosing a raised panel kitchen door, such as our Wexford.
Symphony have lots of different types of shaker style that you can choose from, and there is something at every price point to suit all budgets. Contact your local Symphony kitchen retailer to find out more.