How to Create a Shaker Kitchen
Shaker box maker
Choose a Shaker-inspired kitchen and you’re opting for a design with simplistic charm and heaps of traditional craftsmanship. Shaker oak kitchens don’t necessarily have the intricate details of a Cotswold kitchen, or the flair of a modern kitchen – but they make up for that with an elegant and straightforward design. With panelled doors and solid wood worktops, the craftsmanship can take centre stage without any unnecessary ornamentation – the central philosophy to the Shakers.
Who were the Shakers?
The Shaker design movement has unusual roots that pre-date the modern concept of a kitchen, though their values for simplistic yet well-crafted design have carried on well beyond the influence of the movement itself.
The religious sect ‘United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing’, split from the Quakers in the early 1700’s, though became more universally known as the Shakers due to the eccentric nature of the worshipers’ movements during services. They were – and still are – one of the only religious groups led exclusively by women. This steered them to lead a celibate and communal existence, with emphasis on sexual equality and living a life free of unnecessary lavish extras.
Furniture was designed with attention to detail and diligence, as the Shakers believed that making something with care was in itself an ‘act of prayer’. These humble views on simple living, architecture and furniture have had an impact far beyond the sect’s religious views.
What defines the Shaker style?
Examples of Shaker design
Despite having traditional roots, the design ethos laid out by the Shakers remains incredibly popular to this day, with the style principles continuing to inspire many modern designers. It’s no surprise then that there are in fact more Shaker style kitchens now than ever before.
Shaker kitchens are personified by beautiful practicality – clean lines, a hand-crafted appeal and light colouration make it the perfect choice for a range of traditional and modern interpretations. Originally, Shaker furniture was crafted using maple and pine, though other woods such as oak and walnut are still very suitable for carrying through their design principles.
Kitchen islands, glazed cabinet doors and simple door handles all carry on the Shaker design principles, but it is our solid oak kitchen doors that give a Shaker-inspired kitchen its clean lines. Whereas our traditional doors have a detailed edge profile leading to the centre panel, and wood hand-picked for a characterful grain, Shaker-style doors have 4 clearly defined outer panels that are constructed from timbers selected for a consistent and clear grain pattern.
Once painted in light colours (our ‘Pastels’ range of Farrow & Ball paints would be perfect for this style), combine these doors with our real wood kitchen cabinets and a classic choice from our wooden kitchen worktops collection, such as oak, maple or cherry, for a traditional look; or, alternatively, choose one of our darker worktops – such as iroko or American walnut – for a more modern feel. For a clean, contemporary spin on Shaker, consider the ‘All White’ Farrow & Ball paint with a dark wenge worktop.
Other finishing touches
Storage – in a Shaker-inspired kitchen, everything should have its place. They made great use of peg rails to hang items up around the walls at head height. Traditionally, almost everything would be hung up (including chairs), so as to keep floor space clear. Storage solutions such as chests that double as bench-style seating, and wide usage of wall-mounted cabinets, are both in-keeping with the style.
Fabrics – the Shakers made all of their own fabric, so consider natural fibres such as wool, cotton and silk in lighter colours to keep things authentic. Add detail with checked hand towels and table cloths.
Flooring – to be in-keeping with the Shaker style, sanded solid wood flooring is most suitable, but more modern alternatives such as tiling can still fit very well with the clean lines. Parquet flooring also fits the Shaker style and can be extremely hard wearing.
Lighting – if you are closely following the Shaker design principles, you’d be restricted to little more than simplistic candlesticks and sconces. You can however still find modern electrical equivalents of candlestick lighting, and there are also simplistic lights in a ‘pendant’ style that can be very effective. To keep your kitchen well lit, flush ceiling-mounted LED or halogen lights can bring plenty of light to the space without compromising on design.
If you’d like to see our Shaker cabinet door fronts up close, we sell miniaturised door samples, finished in a variety of styles, including whatever Farrow & Ball shade you’d prefer. They’re available for just £20 inc. VAT and delivery, the cost of which will be deducted from future orders of ten or more doors.