What is a shaker kitchen?

Shaker Kitchens are bespoke cabinetry with clean lines, solid wood construction, and high-quality finishes. Learn more about this modern kitchen style…

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Shaker-style kitchens are a popular, bespoke kitchen design, most commonly found in British and American homes. Nowadays, the Shaker style has become known in countries such as Australia and Scandinavia. Because of the style of the Shaker design, the cabinetry is best suited for older houses with less contemporary or chic decor. But even a household brimming with avant-garde decor can have a Shaker kitchen. Modern Shaker kitchen styles are versatile and can easily be incorporated into kitchen ideas. A shaker-style kitchen is typically one with cabinet doors that have recessed panels – often referred to as “rail and stile” cabinets.

“Shaker furniture has stood the test of time, after initially being introduced in the late 1700s. This is largely a result of the practicality, elegance, and simplicity of the traditional Shaker kitchen”

Shaker furniture has stood the test of time, after initially being introduced in the late 1700s. This is largely a result of the practicality, elegance, and simplicity of the traditional Shaker kitchen. In the intervening time, kitchen designers have updated the colour palette, range of natural materials, and ornamentation of the traditional Shaker style, without straying too far away from the original timeless design which earned it renown.

A Brief History Of The Shaker Style

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing was a religious group based in Manchester in the 18th century. Considered a religious sect, they severed their ties with the Quakers (another Christian denomination) and emigrated to America. The term ‘Shaking Quakers’ was coined from the way the men moved and danced during rituals. One key aspect of the Shakers was their incredible craftsmanship in solid wood furniture.

Religiously, they believed in simplicity and a Shaker’s dream kitchen was made of natural wood, with clean lines, and next to no embellishment. Now we adopt that same aesthetic to create made to measure kitchens which invoke the same sense of unencumbered workmanship.

The Main Elements Of A Shaker Kitchen

It is no wonder that Shaker kitchen design remains en vogue to this day. The high-quality and detailed workmanship of Shaker kitchen cabinets ensures their practicality and ease of maintenance. In fact, in a modern kitchen, the clean lines of the bespoke Shaker cabinetry are not the only selling points. The 21st century Shaker kitchen design now incorporates unique colour schemes and shelving.

There are technological advances that were not available when Shaker cabinets were first created. These give Shaker kitchen design a much-needed modern twist and put it in the league of bespoke luxury kitchens.

What Is Bespoke Cabinetry?

Bespoke cabinetry is carpentry made-to-measure, for a specific household. In technical terms: Traditionally, the shaker door comprises a 5-piece front frame − a four-piece frame (stiles and rails) and a centre panel. The two outside parts of the frame are called the stiles, and the top and bottom parts are called the rails. These 5-piece doors are painted and finished on the inside and outside and are made of solid wood. This emphasises the high-quality of Shaker design. Attached to these sturdy cabinets, you will find simple door handles made of complimentary wood or the same wood used for the bespoke cabinets themselves.

Muted colour palettes were common with the early Shaker kitchen designs. Often, the colours you would encounter would be blue, green, red, or yellow, in their darker and richer hues.

Handmade Woodwork And Detailing

People often contrast Shaker kitchen doors with Mission-style kitchen design because of the similarities in construction. The first major difference between the furniture in Shaker- and Mission-styles is wood. Although Shakers used oak, maple, and cherry, which are local American woods to design their furniture, maple was the wood of choice for most Shaker furniture. Mission-style furniture is made of oak. And Mission-style furniture emphasises straight vertical and horizontal lines and flat planes to highlight the grain of the wood. Also, for its lack of ornamentation, Shaker furniture is concerned with functionality foremost. People could consider Shaker kitchen design all-wood, all the time, but nowadays, even worktops have showroom aesthetics and are made from quartz, granite, or for the truly extravagant, marble.

Why People Love Shaker Kitchens

The Shaker kitchen style is elegant and unassuming. It has outgrown its modest beginnings as a purely functional kitchen design and joined the multitude of modern designer kitchens that inspire homemakers and become focal points in their homes. The precision of the carpentry, the quality of the materials, and the longevity of maintaining Shaker cabinets make them an easy concept to sell.

Stripped bare of the trappings of elaborate embellishments which could easily date the furniture, the simplicity of the Shaker style kitchen makes it a timeless design. A new kitchen built in the Shaker style can look anything from rustic and sturdy such as in a country kitchen, to sleek and more contemporary.

When considering what type of kitchen to design, thinking of the shelving, the worktops, the kitchen island, and the juxtaposition of these aspects with each other and the general lay of the room is important. A bespoke kitchen benefits you because it is completely within your control to shape. Any design ideas can be added or subtracted, cut shorted, or elongated, as you wish. And if there is a general theme to the kitchen, such as the Shaker style, it will certainly bring a holistic vision together.