The Shaker religious sect lived their lives on a very strict and simple lifestyle. These beliefs were and are reflected in the designs of the houses they lived in.
Because they believed in self-sufficiency, and having a separation from the outside world, they went out of their way to build their lifestyle. They based it on growing their own food, building their own homes and designing their own tools for carpentry. Design was purely function and not intended to be particularly pleasing to their eye. This they saw as vanity.
You will find no ornamentation in their style of furniture whether in the living room or kitchen.
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Neither will you find wood carvings or coverings on surfaces. What you will find is finishing of natural materials or painted colour.
Their style today would be called minimalism. If you look at different interpretations of this, you will see the preponderance of straight lines and the use of wood throughout.
By use of modern mass production material and facilities, it is easy to retain the old shaker styling at affordable prices.
So although you see the use of natural woods and melamine in some offerings, all designs take their inspiration and guidance from the early principles of straight lines and functionality.
Shaker kitchens sit well in today’s houses
Counter tops in kitchens following the shaker theme, are granite and other hard stones. Keeping your appliances in a white or cream colour will sit well with the look
One driver of the increase in interest in Shaker furniture, is the push back again modern technology. That includes a move away from mass production where product is churned out of high volume machinery without any intervention of the craftsman’s hand. Now it may be that mass production still applies in the manufacture of these kitchens, but the background image is of a tradesman in his overalls, carefully whittling away at this work. That is the image people associate with these kitchens.
While modern thinking is not in alignment with the Shakers who believed that work they made was a prayer to god, we can appreciate the work ethic and the care given to their creations.
One core advantage they have is tables and chairs are made from natural wood. So much so that you can buy furniture from shaker specialists who focus purely on supplying those items.
One final practical advantage of using wood is that updates can be effectively achieved by painting. Colours are usually white, cream or grey.
So if in 5 years’ time you feel like an update, you can simply change your colour scheme with a paintbrush