Shaker cabinetry has a rich history – and its strong, straightforward lines ensure that its present and future are equally vibrant. Incredibly adaptable, Shaker style is as relevant today as it was two centuries ago; it has effortlessly evolved to blend today’s need for streamlined aesthetics with yesterday’s emphasis on quality and durability.
Thin Shaker cabinet doors offer a new take on this old tradition. And they can breathe new life into your design.
Let’s start at the beginning: What are Shakers? In the late 18th century, a community of English Quakers came to what would become America, looking for freedom to practice their religion. They tended to infuse their worship with “ecstatic” movements and dance, leading to their moniker, the “Shaking Quakers” – shortened to “Shakers.”
The self-sufficient Shakers built their own furniture, focusing on practical, simple designs that were built to last. Original Shaker kitchens boasted cabinets created with the wood species that were most accessible then, including birch, pine, maple, oak, and cherry. Cabinets were often stained or painted in a way that reflected the unique identity of the particular community whose hands crafted them.
Appreciation for the quality and durability infused in Shaker style was strong in America’s first days, and it remains highly valued among today’s homeowners.
Traditional Shaker cabinet doors are spare when it comes to detailing, ornamentation, and profiling. Rather, they are known for their symmetry, square edges, simple rails and stiles (i.e. the vertical and horizontal pieces comprising the door), and flat center panels. What does all this mean? Every angle adds up to 90°. Expect no frills – but that’s exactly what makes these cabinet doors so enduring and elegant.
Traditional Shaker cabinet doors have thicker rails and stiles, and thus a smaller (we’d even say “stockier”) center panel. As we mentioned, though, they are adept at evolving with modern trends, and a slimmer profile may be just what you need to complete your aesthetic.
See how Shaker style can create a simple, symmetrical, and sophisticated kitchen with this ACo remodel.
Thin Shaker cabinet doors maintain the same clean lines as traditional iterations with slimmer rails and stiles. This Shelby cabinet by WF Cabinetry offers that updated look while maintaining the original spirit of shaker style.
Thinner still is this Auburn Plains variation. Many people refer to products like this as “skinny shaker,” “slim shaker,” or “micro-shaker,” and given its ultra-thin rails and stiles, it’s easy to see why. Again, the idea is to retain the original “vibe” of shaker cabinetry, if you will, while making it a perfect fit for contemporary, minimal, mid-century modern, boho chic, and modern organic designs.
Noticed something in these images, you eagle-eyed homeowners? Good catch. Technically, the thinnest of thin Shakers (like the Auburn Plains) often have a mitered edge (two edges cut at 45° angles are joined to create the 90° edge) while traditional shakers have 90° cuts. Regardless, this is what we mean when we talk about thin Shaker cabinet doors.
When you opt for products from top manufacturers, like WF Cabinetry, these cabinets are still made with high-quality solid wood (maple in the examples we’ve mentioned). They are also available in a wide variety of stains, including hand-wiped glazes on stain and heirloom stains.
When it’s a timeless classic that can adapt with us! Shaker cabinets are a prime example of a great style that has effortlessly evolved. While original versions are still highly sought-after, many homeowners today value the slimmer lines of the thin shaker cabinet doors. How about you?
Will this trend-that’s-not-a-trend suit your kitchen project? Connect with the ACo team to discuss your vision.