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Object Lessons: Shaker Storage

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Oct 15, 2014 01:14 AM
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by Megan Wilson last modified Oct 14, 2014

Despite their unusually complicated name, the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming were all about simplicity. The group's leader, Mother Ann Lee, proclaimed "there is no dirt in Heaven," but her followers also understood that simple design meant less to dust. Founded in 1774 by a group of rebellious Quakers who left England for the New World, the Shakers (as they became known because of their ecstatic form of worship) believed that making things well was an act of prayer. They set about stripping away embellishment during a very embellished (and undoubtedly dusty) time in domestic history, anticipating the modernist movement by about 150 years. "Less is more," said Mies van de Rohe, and he and his fellow purists freely acknowledged their debt to the Shakers. Though the Shakers themselves lived and worked in graciously proportioned buildings in country villages, the practical aspect of their aesthetic is more relevant than ever, especially for those of us in cramped, urban spaces. Here are some examples of Shaker design that stand ready to restore some order to our lives.  Five to Buy Above: The Shakers devised a storage system within a storage system: wooden boxes that nest within a single box when not in use. A selection of Birdseye Shaker Boxes is available at Canterbury Shaker Village, starting at $42 for the smallest. Above: Shaker pegs provide an economical way to transform a room from cluttered to tidy, and are equally at home in a hallway, dining room, or bedroom.  Cherry Shaker Pegboard is available by the foot from Shaker Workshops, starting at $12.50. See Shaker pegs used to great effect in the  Newly Revamped High Road House in London . Photograph via High Road House. Above: Having devised the peg system, the Shakers then set about creating household objects made to hang. The Shaker Onion Basket  can be suspended high up from the ground, and the open weave allows for good air circulation, which helps to prevent mold. A compact alternative to the root cellar, the basket measures six inches in diameter and is available at Kiosk for $45. Above: UK kitchen specialists Plain English studied classic Shaker detailing and came up with the Williamsburg Kitchen , which makes use of Shaker-favored maple and cherry woods to create a warm, streamlined look. Learn more about Plain English in our post Kitchen Confidential: 10 Ways to Achieve the Plain English Look . And in the US, consider Shaker Workshops' Kentucky Shaker Wall Cupboard ($462.50), which can be used with a Shaker Pegboard ($12.50 per linear foot).   Above: The handmade Shaker Clothes Horse  has canvas hinges and folds up neatly; £130 ($208.87 USD) from DeVol. In the US, the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Towel Rack is $92.50 unassembled and $171.25 assembled from Shaker Workshops. Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and the curator of the Remodelista 100, a collection of essential everyday objects presented in the Remodelista book . Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her Past Lessons on iconic designs, including the Sheila Maid Clothes Airer , Classic Mattress Ticking , and Lodge Cast Ironware . More Stories from Remodelista 12 Architectural Built-Ins for the Bedroom Table of Contents: Genius Storage Solutions Current Obsessions: October Sky






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