The Beautiful Simplicity of Shaker Style

Originating from England in the 1700’s, a radical group of religious settlers known as the ‘Shaking Quakers’ emigrated to, and put down roots on the colonial Northeastern Seaboard of the United States.


When they arrived in the ‘New Country’ the Shakers built their homes in nineteen remote communities which spanned from New York State to Kentucky. They preferred to live far away from what they considered to be the ‘sin’ and ‘corruption’ of the big cities and it was in this isolation that they developed their unique tooling and manufacturing processes, which led to a style of furniture that is still well respected today.


The Shakers built their furniture with woods harvested from their own land, and adhered to the guiding principles of their religion…simplicity, utility and honesty. Their beliefs were reflected in their well crafted furniture, which remained un-ornamented and minimalist in design. Characterized by clean lines, tapered legs, hand turned knobs the Shaker style is simple – down to the very last detail. Their utilitarian designs were light and delicate enough for the women of the household to lift, as it was customary in a Shaker household to hang the chairs from wooden pegs on the wall. Shaker furniture has an appealing honesty with clean lines and a well developed sense of sustainability. The Shaker’s organizational skills and strong work ethics helped them become among the first Americans to try their hand at mass production.


Today, Ercol’s ‘Teramo’ Collection encaptures the crispness of the Shaker style in both its living and bedroom ranges. Created from solid oak and real oak veneer, with an almost invisible matt lacquer finish, the thin tapered turned legs, hand turned mushroom drawer pulls and curved profiles speak everything Shaker.  Even the drawers have layouts typical of this unique style. Teramo has an unfussy natural feel that can only be described as fresh, clean and beautifully elegant. We just love the Teramo dressing table with its stunningly simple circular mirror contrasting perfectly with the distinctive triple wardrobe which exudes elegance.

And so the DNA of the Shaker style lives on in many modern furniture collections, irrespective of the fact that only two members of the Shaker community exist today, a man and a woman living in the last remaining Shaker village at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. It has been suggested the demise of the Shaker community was largely due to their religion’s commitment to celibacy and the cessation of the custom of adopting homeless  children into their community.


“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Clare Boothe Luce

30th June 2021

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