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What is a Shaker kitchen?

A Shaker kitchen is a term heavily mentioned when we discuss kitchen design, but what does it mean, where does the name come from and most importantly, is it a style you want in your home?


Well, let’s start with explaining a Shaker-style kitchen. The Shaker kitchen style is a simple and clean design with minimal features. For what could be a simple one-piece cabinet door, Shaker kitchens using a five-piece construction for each door and drawer front. The cabinetry features a flat recessed panel in the centre with a four-piece frame around the edge. Most commonly used are Dovetail joints, giving each piece a beautiful handcrafted beautiful feel. All cabinet and drawer are symmetrical in design, allowing the materials and craftsmanship to take the main focus. As a rule; Shaker-style kitchens feature little or no detailing or ornamentation keeping to the styles humble beginnings.




Where did the style originate? The Shaker style has been used for furniture design for centuries, originating from an English religious sect, The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearance. During 1783, the group named ‘The Shakers’ stems from “Shaking Quakers” about their restless worship style. Shortly after this, the group was persecuted and fled to America. Due to their faith, they believe in the communal ownership of property, and that beauty rests in utility. Every item should serve a useful purpose, be functional and above all, practical. Opposed to the idea of lavish living, Shakers grew their food, designed and produced their furniture and built everything to last. As a group, they avoided anything unnecessary, believing ornate and decorative pieces are self-indulgent. Their minimalist view on life and design gives the Shaker style a clean and simple look, that is just as stylish from the front, as it is from the back.



Today, machines assist with the kitchen design and manufacturing process; however, Shaker artisans would have designed, measured, cut and built every piece by hand. Being profoundly religious, they believed each piece created was a testament to their belief in God. Only the most excellent materials and tools were used, with great attention to detail applied to every item built. Colours Despite their simple way of life, Shakers preferred primary and natural colours, often choosing to oil their wood, allowing the natural beauty of the material to be seen. Maple and Cherry woods were most commonly used, with their vibrant colours providing a beautiful contrast to their plain white home interiors. Shakers used locally sourced Maple and Cherry woods, however in modern times, Oak is now most commonly used. The visual effect is similar, as this style of wood shows a strong grain pattern that is still visible once painted over.


The shaker kitchen is a popular style with our clients, with most requesting a two-tone hand-painted finish. Opting for two paint colours is a big trend for 2020 and is set to be hugely popular in 2021/2022. The timeless style of the Shaker kitchen, fits perfectly with the contemporary idea of a two-tone kitchen, serving as a beautiful mix of traditional and modern design. If you are looking for Shaker-style kitchen inspiration, click here. To discuss your kitchen project with our team, please get in touch here.