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Shaker Cabinets

Shaker Style

“Shaker style” describes furnishings and interiors that are both warm and simple, centered on unpretentious wooden chairs, tables and cabinets without ornament or embellishment. The term derives from the popular name for an all-but-vanished American religious sect, whose members crafted honest, modest household furniture and objects as part of their belief in purposeful living and simplicity in all things.


Members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing — called Shakers, derisively, because they writhed and danced in religious ecstasy during worship — arrived in the United States from England in 1774. Within 50 years, the sect had established 19 self-sufficient communities from Maine to Kentucky, where they lived pure, humble and industrious lives..The furniture and objects the Shakers made reflected their strict rules of behavior. Pieces such as ladder– and slat-back chairs and trestle tables were painstakingly crafted from native woods like maple and cherry, using traditional methods such as mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joinery and lathe turning. They employed strong, straight lines and symmetrical proportions, and decoration of any kind — carving, veneers, inlays — was prohibited, as it would encourage the sins of pride and vanity. The Shakers movement included some 6,000 members at its peak in the 1860s, but the group practiced celibacy and could attempt to sustain their flock only by recruiting new adherents. Modernity proved too alluring. Today only one tiny Shaker community, in Maine, still exists, though the sect’s heritage is preserved at several historical sites.


Genuine Shaker antiques are hard to come by, but not exceedingly rare — to support their communities, the Shakers sold furniture to outsiders, who appreciated its superb quality. While the “Shaker style” label is today given to many plain, simple wooden pieces, it should also denote superior construction and solid materials. As elements in interior design, Shaker furnishings work best in a quiet decor. Modest pieces such as these can become lost among more ornate works. The style is most suitable to a country home — although a Shaker chair or cabinet can make a striking counterpoint in a modernist, urban setting. As you will see on these pages, Shaker furniture and objects have a deep appeal for their warmth, honesty and graceful simplicity, which make them welcome almost anywhere.

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Jim Rose Half Housetop Gee's Inspired Quilt Cupboard, Steel Art Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
This totally functional modern industrial cabinet is created from recycled hot-rolled steel. The monochromatic quilt pattern in the doors and on the sides of the piece are inspired b...
Category

2010s Shaker Cabinets

Materials

Steel

Jim Rose Two-Door Multicolor Block Quilt Cupboard, Steel Art Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

2010s American Shaker Cabinets

Materials

Steel

Jim Rose Legacy Collection - Tall Cabinet, Shaker Inspired Steel Cupboard
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

Early 2000s American Shaker Cabinets

Materials

Steel

Jim Rose Steel Furniture - Cabinet and Case of Drawers, Modern Functional Art
Located in Chicago, IL
This is a totally functional industrial modern cabinet and case of seven drawers. There are two interior shelves inside the cabinet. It created from hot-rolled steel and found painte...
Category

2010s American Shaker Cabinets

Materials

Steel

Early Kittinger 'Labelled' Oak Sideboard/ Cabinet
Located in East Hampton, NY
With two large drawers for storage and many wonderful details such as butterfly inlay to top, spindle legs and stretchers. This beauty is a very early Kittinger creation.
Category

1930s American Vintage Shaker Cabinets

Materials

Oak

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