If you are looking for a classic timeless design for your new kitchen a Shaker Kitchen is the obvious choice. Shaker kitchens will stand the test of time and look at home in contemporary, traditional, town and country homes. Whilst the key look is plain and simple, at Handcrafted Kitchens, leading kitchen designers in Cheshire, we have endless options of colours, door furniture, cornice and beading which allows you to express your own individuality into a Shaker Kitchen. Our bespoke service for every client allows you the choice of any type of cabinets from Kitchen Islands to Larder Cabinets to fit the space in your home whether a country cottage or large townhouse. No piece of furniture is a ‘standard size,’ at Handcrafted Kitchens, everything is unique, made just for you.
If you are wondering ‘what is a shaker kitchen?‘ then read on. Shaker design dates back to The United Society of Believers, known as the Shakers who were a religious group that broke away from the Quakers in the late 18thcentury, so called from the dancing motion used in their worship. They were originally from Manchester and emigrated to America initially settling in New York, before later moving out to the New England region.
The Shakers lived by the principles of honesty, utility and simplicity. They were a largely self-sufficient community who grew their own food and were keen craftspeople who made furniture for themselves and to sell on. They had a reputation for high-quality craftsmanship, their furniture renowned for being simple in style but very durable and functional. Their belief that all things should hold a purpose and be crafted as a testament to God gave them the drive to make their furniture to the highest standards and use only the best materials available.
The main feature of Shaker furniture is the 5 piece door front which as well as being beautiful to look at is incredibly sturdy construction and very practical. By making the front from two rails, two stiles and a central panel there was little wasted wood whilst maintaining a very solid structure. Unlike modern high street kitchen furniture, the door sits within the frame of the furniture, so-called ‘in frame’, rather than the modern ‘lay on’ doors where the door sits on top of the frame. The hinge attaches to the wooden door and the wooden frame, thus securing a very hard wearing mechanism, ensuring the longevity of the furniture.
Shakers believed that furniture should be honest in both construction and appearance and that practices like veneering and applied ornamentation were ‘deceitful’. They did, however, use some decorative features such as the heart or the ‘tree of life’.
Whilst the Shakers loved rich colours for their clothing they generally preferred to make furniture our of local timber such as pine, maple or cherry. Most pieces were originally painted or stained with shades of blue, green, red or yellow to add depth to their open plan homes. They used a variety of natural plants to make paints and dyes which allowed the natural beauty of the furniture to stand out in contrast to the stark white plastered walls, typical in Shaker homes. And of course, they used simple turned wooden knobs as cabinet furniture rather than imported cup handles.
It’s not difficult to understand why Shaker Cabinets are such an attractive choice given the Shakers tradition of quality craftsmanship, the simplicity of style and honest approach to furniture making.
As time has progressed modern interpretations have developed from the original simple shaker style with the introduction of side panels to furniture to emphasise the shaker panelling and glass inserts into doors, which aren’t strictly Shaker but can complement the furniture beautifully. Beading can be applied to doors to make them stand out a little and different kinds of cornice used depending on whether you want to upscale or pair down. It all depends on your personal style and the period of your property. Soft close drawer runners provide a smoother glide to drawer boxes and internal gadgets such as magic corners and pull out larders are popular additions.
Colour can also make a huge impact on the style of your kitchen. For a clean, crisp classic look choose off white cabinets with polished nickel cabinet furniture. If you want something a little softer to the eye choose a pale grey. This gives you the option of introducing richer hues to the walls and accent furnishings. You can also think about using one of these richer colours to accent a kitchen island or larder cabinet. For a more contemporary look try a darker colour such as charcoal grey, denim blue or ocean green with brass or copper cabinet furniture. The beauty of buying hand made bespoke furniture is that you can repaint it if you want to update the look and choose alternative handles.
When it comes to how to design a Shaker Kitchen, the traditional look is pared back. Simple free standing pieces such as a kitchen dresser or larder cabinet and a kitchen island will instantly give the look. At Handcrafted Kitchens, leading kitchen designers in Cheshire, we will help design your shaker kitchen so that it not only gives you the look your desire but that it works beautifully on an individual basis for you and your family whether you live in a country cottage or modern townhouse.
If you would like Handcrafted Kitchens to help you design your dream kitchen then please contact us to book an appointment.
We also make Shaker furniture for all areas of the house such as bedrooms, bathrooms and studies.