With a revived interest in rustic furniture, bespoke kitchens styled according to Shaker kitchen design principles are hot commodity.
Let's look at these principles and find out how they came about and how we can use this interesting historic tradition in modern minimalist kitchens.
Who were the Shakers?
First, the name. What does it actually mean? The style was named after a Christian religious group called Shaking Quakers or Shakers for short. The group was founded in the late 1770s in Manchester, England by Jane Wardley who allegedly had a vision and then went on to devote her life to spreading the word about the return of Christ.
Although the religious movement didn't quite take on in England, a large number of the sect members emigrated to USA.
So, it turns out the Shaker kitchen designs come with a bit of American flavour.
At the centre of Shakers' belief system was simplicity, pacifism and celibacy. During the religious service they tended to express their spirituality in a rather frenetic fashion, hence the name - Shakers.
Decluttering the design to a bare minimum
Less is more. Since they had to lead a simple life and be fully self-sufficient, they made all things, including furniture, by hand. Similarly, to better-known Amish people whose craftsmanship is world-renowned.
Although driven by the same motives, the furniture produced by Shakers and Amish are in fact very different. The only common trait is the rustic origin and the obvious handmade feel. Amish kitchens, at least the ones that are now sold in the USA are opulent and coloured.
Shaker Kitchens are minimalist, slightly stern and displaying a limited colour palette.
What Shaker Kitchens can and can't have?
The biggest no-no was metallic embellishments and ironmongery. Today you will come cross so-called Shaker Kitchens with nice metallic handles. Although looking good, they're not purely Shaker. If you want to go for an authentic handmade look, you will choose round wooden handles.
Following their beliefs, they were not allowed to use any decoration or any paint apart from certain darker hues of colours - red, blue, green and yellow
Also forbidden were veneering, bevels, mouldings, beading and other decorations.
Most Shaker cabinets will be sold as painted kitchens, however, it's ok to keep the natural wood grain on display and not use any paint.
Shakers were a sort of early eco warriors. As the USA become richer, furniture makers imported exotic woods from abroad. Shakers didn't want to hear about it - they only made furniture using local timber and traditional woodworking methods.
Best Features of Shaker Kitchens
At its purest, Shaker furniture design is unpretentious, simple yet functional. If they were to make a thing, the resource usage had to be justified. You couldn't simply make things for the sake of making things or for the sake of making your living place cosier. Otherwise it was considered pride which was certainly frowned upon.
It's something that some modern industrial designers have to keep at the back of their minds - make things that people can use; not make things that look beautiful and then try to figure out the use of it.
Shaker Kitchens are convenient, cosy and functional.
Is this Kitchen Style Suited your Lifestyle?
Shaker Kitchens is a good solution for people who want a minimalist kitchen design but don't want to go down the industrial design or glossy modern minimalist routes.
It's obvious where they're coming from - for example, an English cottage with a glossy German kitchen would look disjointed. We would probably suggest a more traditional rustic design, however if the customer wasn't too keen on that style, then the next best bet would be a Shaker kitchen.
You don't necessarily need to lead a Shaker lifestyle to enjoy. Rustic minimalist design.
It will look good both with understated interior elements and more ostentatious items. If ostentatious is your thing, Shaker kitchen might be a good choice as you will be able to afford go wild with decoration - it will stand out more because of the quietness of the backdrop.
At Classic Kitchens Designs we offer a beautiful choice of Shaker kitchen cabinets. Click here to check our extensive range.