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Let’s Shake Things Up

Shaker-style cabinetry has been a go-to for cabinet makers and kitchen designers for years – with its effortlessly classical look and instant ability to make any space chic and sophisticated, it’s no wonder why. Kirrily Ireland chats with Nathan Bulner, managing director of Westside Cabinets, to find out more about this iconic style of cabinetry, and how homeowners can incorporate it into a sleek and modern kitchen.

Westside Cabinets
Westside Cabinets
Westside Cabinets

Found in homes across the country in various forms, colours, materials and detail, the shaker style is certainly a popular one. Bulner attests to this fact, stating, “Shaker-style kitchens are extremely popular at the moment, we are currently working on at least one at all times.” Whether you’re working within the parameters of an older home with traditional aesthetics, or something more contemporary, shaker-style cabinetry can accommodate all.

Although garnering ample attention now, the shaker style has actually been a bit of a commodity since the 18th century. “It was developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing,” Bulner explains, “commonly known as Shakers.” Shaker communities often lived independently from the rest of the world, and as such would grow their own food and build their own homes and furniture; from this craftsmanship, the shaker-style was born, and has served interior design ever since.

Nowadays, it makes regular appearances in kitchen cabinetry, vanities, chests of drawers and more, and is most commonly recognised in door panelling. The kitchen builder describes shaker-style cabinets as having “a distinctly minimal design consisting of a fourpiece frame and a recessed panel”. “There are several types of styles of shaker cabinetry,” Bulner adds, “some are clean and simple while others have decorative detailing.”

While there’s not much to the design, it makes quite an impression, adding a small yet effective amount of detail to plainer, smoother styles. When used well, it is often associated with fashionable, luxury kitchens, making it an appealing choice for many homeowners.

Westside Cabinets

Whether you’re amid making plans with your kitchen designer for a brand-new home, or considering a renovation to rejuvenate a tired and old space, there is an array of ways to implement the shaker style, and some considerations to be made before you do, the most important of which is making sure “it can tie in with the rest of the house”. “Consider which shaker door profile suits you,” Bulner advises. “Create a mood board to refine your ideas, which will highlight what you’re drawn to.” Having a conversation with an expert like Bulner and the Westside Cabinets team is a great starting point – having built so many kitchens with this style, they’ll know what will and won’t work for you.

Westside Cabinets

Shaker-style cabinetry can be utilised in a vast variety of ways, however it does of course lend itself to some overarching themes and expressions more than others, another thing to take into consideration. Bulner says that the shaker style is a “staple in coastal, Hamptons, provincial or farmhouse designs”, creating a warm, often country-esque feel, particularly when done in white.

This is not to say that a modern dwelling can’t benefit from this style as well. “Although the shaker style is a more traditional design, it can be effectively incorporated into a contemporary kitchen by choosing bold or contrasting colour selections, modern handles, and sleek appliances and accessories.” the expert says. Contrast comes into play here, where the shaker-style doors and panelling help to soften the sleeker, bolder elements within the kitchen, allowing homeowners to enjoy the best of both worlds – including the past and the present.

With the current rise in popularity for Hamptons and provincial kitchens, incorporating the shaker style is bound to feel fresh, contemporary and up-to-date regardless. Despite its 300-year-old origins, it has undoubtedly remained timeless and versatile, adapting to up-and-coming designs.

Westside Cabinets

Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry is more than just the panelling itself; there’s a slew of accessories, colour schemes and accompanying features to factor into the design to ensure everything works cohesively.

Unless you’re opting for a finger-pull, handle-less or touch-to-open system, then all cabinetry needs handles or knobs. “To complement the shaker-style cabinet, we would recommend either a classic shell handle or a concentric knob for a more traditional design,” Bulner says. “For a modern take on the shaker kitchen, we would recommend a sleek D handle like those of Dorset’s new Stirling collection.” Matte-black or silver handles and knobs are perfect for a contemporary look, while brassy tones add rustic character.

As for the rest of the space, everything from the benchtops and colour palette to the splashbacks and appliances can help make or break the design. “You can’t go past a classic white shaker kitchen,” Bulner says, “though you can make a statement with your colour selection. [For example] you can go for a featured colour island bench in a bold blue.”

“Skirtings and capping with feature moulding work well with shaker-style to achieve a provincial kitchen design,” the expert continues. “Timber benchtops and shelving also work well in a shaker kitchen, adding warmth to a country farmhouse design.” Alternatively, a smooth stone or marble benchtop will support a sharper aesthetic.

Thanks to its versatility and ability to work in almost any space, the simple yet effective shaker style truly offers something unique for everyone, no matter what your needs are. Those neat and stylish recessed cabinet doors can open up a world of possibility when it comes to kitchen, bathroom and home design. Make sure you speak to your kitchen builder or designer about this fabulous option and don’t miss out on its many wonderful qualities.

Images courtesy of Westside Cabinets