A Guest Post by Adrienne McGuire
The simple, clean look of Shaker design has proven to stand the test of time in many modern homes today, especially in the kitchen. One of the biggest draws of a Shaker-style kitchen is its minimalist beauty that focuses on clean lines, function and order. Everyone loves a kitchen that looks perpetually neat; thus the steady popularity of implementing Shaker design elements into the busiest room of the home.
Where did Shaker style originate?
In the United States, Shaker-style got its start in the mid-1800s along the New England coast. Many Shakers (a branch of Quakerism) set up settlements in the Northeast during that time period. The Shaker community in general is committed to living simple lives that are unobstructed by unnecessary ornateness. They were keen crafters, and made much of their own furniture, cabinetry and buildings. Their simple, modest belief system transferred to their crafting, and the Shaker-style craftsmanship was born.
Today, Medford Design-Build recognizes the stylistic advantages of Shaker style kitchens – as many of our clients request Shaker-style cabinetry. In fact, it is currently our most popular cabinetry style, so that should tell you just how well-loved this design truly is.
We recently renovated a 1940’s home and showcased its transformation on our blog. This redesign took a once overly-crowded, busy kitchen/dining room and turned it into an open space with clean lines and much less clutter. This redesign centered around Shaker style cabinets, which gave the rooms a beautiful yet simple “starting point.”
Beyond Shaker cabinets – simple kitchen design elements
Since the foundation of Shaker design is utterly simple, basic and timeless, you have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to designing the rest of your Shaker kitchen beyond your Shaker cabinets. If you really love the Shaker design, it’s possible to create an entire kitchen around the concept, leaving you with a clean, durable and functional room that will serve you well for many years to come.
When selecting elements for your Shaker kitchen renovation, you’ll want to keep things as simple as possible. Cabinet fixtures and drawer pulls should be knobs, cups or bin handles. Traditional Shaker kitchens utilized wooden countertops, but you can easily integrate modern options like quartz or granite to give your Shaker kitchen a contemporary feel. Well-loved subway tiles or basic bricks painted bright white make for an excellent backsplash material in any Shaker style kitchen.
When it came to organization, the Shakers believed that there was a “place for everything, and everything should be kept in its place.” In order to follow their mantra, be sure to select ample cabinetry and shelving so that your counters and open spaces can be free from any clutter or excess visual distractions.
Window treatments and wall coverings (or paint) should be focused on function and simplicity in order to stay in line with a Shaker design approach. Wooden shutters or blinds that are unpainted fit nicely within the Shaker design scheme. Stick to neutral colors like muted grays, browns, and white if you want to strictly adhere to a Shaker blueprint. However, mixing and matching design approaches is quite acceptable and attractive as well.
To bring a Shaker kitchen into the modern-day era without straying too far from the design’s fundamentals, add minimal pops of color throughout your space using earth tones such as muted reds, blues, and greens. Potted plants are an excellent way to bring color into a Shaker space without creating too much visual stimulation. Dried flowers as a wall hanging can be another beautiful yet simple way to bring just a little color and texture into an area that is primarily decorated with neutrals and clean lines.
As dining rooms are typically extensions of the kitchen, you’ll likely want to carry the Shaker style into your dining table, chairs and décor. Traditional Shaker furniture in this room would be made from reclaimed wood, with upright, straight lines within the table legs and chairs. Pair any ‘country-style’ chair – think Windsor design – with a simple wood-topped main table that isn’t overly adorned with textures or scrollwork.
Additional design elements that will make your Shaker kitchen/dining room look and feel more authentic include handwoven baskets, braided rugs, rustic pottery, colonial-style lighting fixtures and oval “Shaker” boxes. Alternatively, you can move toward making your Shaker-style kitchen more modern by selecting darker gray or deep brown Shaker-style cabinets. Remember, keep it simple and don’t overcrowd your new minimalistic space with clutter.
If you are interested in learning more about shaker kitchens or incorporating shaker-style cabinetry into your kitchen remodel, the Medford Design-Build team would be happy to help! Contact us today for more information!
The Medford Design-Build Team