Kitchen Trends: "To Shaker, Or Not to Shaker"
The big question is, "Do I go with a shaker style kitchen, or something else?" There is no doubt that over the past several years, the shaker style kitchen has been the hot trend and top selling style with most manufacturers. Talk to any retailer or cabinet maker, and they will attest to the fact that most of their orders are for this particular style of cabinet. So why has this developed into such a hot trend, and how long will it last?
Let's start by tracing back the origins of the shaker cabinet. The term and style are derived from a religious sect dating back to the 18th century commonly known as "Shakers". Shakers beliefs and principles were guided by simplicity, utility, and honesty. They were a self sufficient society that grew their own food, constructed their own buildings, and built their own tools and furniture. In staying true to their principles of simplicity, the shakers built furniture that lacked ornamental elements. They built furniture with clean lines and a simplistic appearance, which in itself, was the attractive aspect of their design. Shakers needed to make the most of their space and cabinets, which is a reflection of their second principle of utility. A true Shaker kitchen will have a lot of thought and planning into the use of every cabinets, shelf, and drawer that goes into the design. I would attribute their durable construction methods with the best hardwoods such as cherry or maple, to their third principle of honesty. They stayed true to that principle in their choice of finishes by constructing furniture that would stand the test of time with no short-cuts getting there.
Given the longstanding duration of the style, today's trend focuses on some of the same principles as the original founders. I believe the movement restarted as a result of the revitalization of our cities. Throughout most of the country, urban development had reached a pinnacle. Growing demand, and less space, called for the redevelopment of buildings previously used for industry. We created loft space, flats, multi-story condo's, rental units, all out of previously abandoned industrial buildings. Row houses, brownstones, and new construction, were also part of the urban sprawl, bringing in a new supply of real estate into the market.
As architect, designers, and builders looked for ways to fuse the rustic classical elements of these building, with a contemporary sleek new feel, they found that there were several styles that worked well in attracting attention, yet avoided the gaudiness of overly ornate styles. The "Shaker" style kitchen was one of those styles that designers new could stand the test of time, and always look current in its element. The white shaker cabinet, by far, became the go to kitchen style.
As the evolution of design is inevitable, and the desire of staying ahead of the trend is always burning at the minds of designers and builders, many different colors and variations of shakers have become available. The line has been blurred between true shaker, simple lines with no ornamental features, and it's hybrid cousin that displays a framing bead trim on the inside edge of the rails and stiles. Along wi
th other variations that include, a beaded panel, the altered versions start to resemble more of an arts & crafts style rather than a true shaker style. Regardless of the differences, I think it's safe to say that "shaker" is here to stay, at least for now.