Conceived by master craftsmen who valued quality and simplicity, the shaker style kitchen has endured for centuries. While in some ways its modern-day adherents have remained true to its original ethos, in others they have bent the rules and provided it with a shot of life.
Shaker style kitchens take their name from the Shakers, a religious group formed in England in the 1700s. An off shoot of the Quakers, most members of the group migrated to the US shortly after establishment and found a home in New England on the US East Coast.
Believers in the second coming of Christ, the Shakers championed the importance of peace and valued a simple lifestyle. Among other things they also became famous for their handcrafted shaker furniture and in particular their cupboards. Though there are now only few Shakers left alive, the popularity of ‘Shaker style’ has only increased. The Shaker style kitchen is famous the world over.
What is a shaker style kitchen?
To the Shakers excessive ornamentation and decoration were considered pretentious and deceitful, so their designs were simple; even minimalist.
In no way does that mean that Shaker furniture was ever of a low quality. On the contrary, the Shakers were master craftsmen who saw their work as a testament to God. Timeless, simple, repetitive, and versatile, it is of the highest quality.
Never fancy, the Shaker style kitchen features timber cabinets and shaker kitchen doors with recessed panels, along with simple hardware. Though they were known to sometimes use stain or paint on Shaker cabinets, this only involved light finishes.
Development of the Shaker style kitchen
For many years, the only people likely to ever come across Shaker furniture were Shakers themselves. Then, in the 1860s, it started to broaden its appeal. They started to produce long-backed, woven seating chairs for wider public sale.
Today, the Shaker style kitchen is recognised as a quintessential American aesthetic. In large part, the breadth of its popularity comes down to its versatility. It is suitable for everything from Scandi or coastal, to modern, contemporary or the more traditional Hamptons or provincial styles.
To what degree the strict edict of simplicity is followed is a matter for the individual. While some may choose the traditional timber hardware, others use silver, gold or brass for tapware and Shaker kitchen handles. And while, Shakers traditionally worked with pine, maple, and cherry wood, today many opt for more sustainable timbers like oak and birchwood. Others still choose shaker furniture made from artificial materials like Machine Grade Moisture Resistant EO MDF.
Contemporary Shaker style kitchens are also often more ornate and colourful than their traditional counterparts. Elements like fluted columns, corbels and Hampton style kitchen handles are not uncommon and Shaker cabinets and Shaker kitchen doors are sometimes vinyl wrapped and painted in the colour of choice. Deep blues and rich greens are examples. As is the white Shaker kitchen, the grey Shaker kitchen, or kitchens that incorporate darker colours like black and navy blue.
How much does a modern Shaker style kitchen cost?
There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the individual project. As is the case with most kitchen styles, it possible to design a Shaker style kitchen to suit most budgets.
Shaker style kitchen cabinets Australia - some winning Shaker style kitchen ideas
1. Summer Hill House
Part of a new wing added to an old Victorian Cottage by Annabelle Chapman Architect, this beach style l-shaped kitchen features attractive white Shaker cabinets as well as beautiful light hardwood floors, an island and white benchtop.
2. Black shaker style cupboards
Painted in the Porter's Paints colour ‘Black Cockatoo’, the cabinetry in this contemporary farmhouse is paired with brass shaker kitchen handles. The result combines classic shaker style with sophistication.
3. Blue shaker cabinets
Though painted a vibrant blue, these Shaker kitchen doors remain true to the ethic of modesty and simplicity. The choice of wall mounted shelves is inspired.
4. Modern Shaker style kitchen
The medium sized kitchen in this inner-city Sydney terrace is spacious and filled with natural light. The inclusion of bevelled shaker kitchen doors, along with details and deas like v-grooving detail, glass wall cabinets, freestanding cooker provide a nod to the home’s heritage, while the open plan suits the family needs of its occupants.
5. Modern Shaker style kitchen with sandstone flooring
While timber is the traditional choice for shaker style kitchens, as this example illustrates, other natural materials can also effectively complement the style. In this case sandstone pavers are the perfect rustic companion to the Shaker cabinets and grey island.
6. Shaker Cabinets partnered with rustic shelving
Utilitarian yet stylish, the rustic shelving in this kitchen partner with the blue shaker-style base cabinets, timber kitchen table and brickwork to create a winning result. The kitchen is simple, practical, and timelessly beautiful.
7. Bright contemporary Shaker Kitchen
White, bright and beautiful, this kitchen epitomises the timeless quality that is behind the continuing popularity of the Shaker style. The addition of flowers in this photo finishes the scene off perfectly.
8. Chequered floors
The fact that the Shakers favoured simplicity and were averse to decorative flourishes does not mandate these preferences. This modern Shaker style kitchen, which combines shaker cabinets with lively black and white tiles proves the point perfectly.
9. U-shaped kitchen
Though this Melbourne kitchen’s colour palette, quartz benchtops, and multi-coloured splashback represent a clear departure from tradition, its Shaker cabinets and medium hardwood floors mark it unmistakably as a shaker style kitchen.
10. White Shaker kitchen
The white panelled shaker style kitchen cabinetry along with the flooring and walls of this open plan kitchen contrast effectively with the restrained use of timber.