It may seem like just a small detail, but removing handles from Shaker doors has actually given the classic-style kitchen a radical contemporary update. Nicola Hanley takes a look at the latest launches.
Ask any kitchen designer about the most enduring style of kitchen and Shaker will undoubtedly be right up there at the top of the list. It’s a versatile look that continues to win over consumers year after year thanks to its classic, timeless design as well as its unique ability to be reinvented and brought bang up to date with modern twists. Which is where sleek, handleless doors come in.
“Handleless Shaker kitchens have surged in popularity in recent years as more customers want transitional kitchen designs that are stylish, timeless and bridge the gap between traditional and modern,” says Neil Taggart, marketing manager at TKC. “Narrow frame Shaker is especially fast growing because the slimmer 60mm frame pays homage to Shaker’s design principles of classic proportions and elegance but has a more contemporary aesthetic that appeals to a broad church of customers, from young to old.”
Cassie Jones, brand manager at Masterclass Kitchens, agrees. “The trend to mix styles has never been more prominent than with a handleless Shaker kitchen,” she says. It’s an incredibly versatile style with unlimited possibilities believes Ben Jones, project design manager at Omega, who says: “A handleless Shaker-style kitchen offers the best of both worlds and its versatility knows no bounds.”
For Tony McCarthy, commercial director at Crown Imperial, handleless Shaker kitchens perfectly complement another popular and enduring style: open-plan living. “The handleless element adds a modern twist and is ideal for customers looking to create a seamless fusion between kitchen and living spaces,” he says.
Richard Turner, Pronorm’s national sales manager for the UK & Ireland, is in agreement. “Handleless Shaker kitchens have a timeless quality that is very easy to live with and appeal to a wide consumer demographic. They offer the benefit of sleek, unfussy profile characteristics which align with the trend for open-plan living, while offering a design style that appeals to modern and traditional tastes,” he says. “German kitchens are best known for their sleek, contemporary handleless styles. However, recognising that there is a big consumer segment which prefers a more transitional design look, we’ve recently introduced a real wood Shaker door to our X-line handleless furniture range.”
Another style that handleless, Shaker furniture works beautifully with is industrial, claims Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt UK. “I think handleless Shaker furniture gives a new dimension to the constantly evolving industrial-style kitchen so that consumers can now benefit from two tried and tested design schemes, which are in keeping with today’s modern home and lifestyle,” he says. “Discreet yet highly functional, its integrated profile ensures consumers can easily access their kitchen furniture without disturbing the door front with hardware and even unsightly marks left by greasy fingerprints and general use.”
With handleless Shaker-style furniture, designers can really take a tailored approach to cater for consumers’ individual tastes, explains TKC’s Neil Taggart. “With this versatile door style, it is a case of anything goes and it comes down to personal choice when choosing a colour scheme. Add in finishing touches of metal like copper, rose gold and graphite, and the kitchen retains its traditional classic definition and timeless quality, while also taking on a fresh, contemporary character.”