Peg Carmack Short - Photography by Dick Kaplan
on a plateau high above the Kentucky River lies
the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Although
the last Shaker in the village died in 1922, one
can still view the beauty and simplicity of the
Shaker furniture, architecture, and crafts that
still inhabit this peaceful village today. Many
of the original Shaker pieces were removed when
the community was disbanded, others were destroyed
by fire; but enough linger in the rooms of Pleasant
Hill to remind of a gentle, quiet time when Shaker
brothers and sisters trod these stairs and walked
these halls. Golden sunlight from carefully placed
windows suffuses rooms and corners with light.
Simple Shaker implements adorn walls in place
of less useful ornamentation. These necessities
of daily life-hangers for clothing, mirrors, candleholders,
and even chairs could be put neatly away waiting
to be called into use. Built-in shelves, chests,
and freestanding cupboards were made to keep items
stored and well ordered, adhering to their precept
that, "order is Heaven's first law."
The secret of the quality and lasting beauty of
Shaker pieces can be found within the precepts
of the Shaker society. Mother Ann Lee admonished
them to, "Do all your work as though you had a
thousand years to live, and as you would if you
knew you might die tomorrow."
Contemporary Decorating for Shaker Style
Authentic decorating brings a stark beauty
into a room, but most collectors of Shakers pieces
prefer to blend Shaker style with a more comfortable
country look. Here are some step-by-step ideas
to bring the spirit of Shaker living into your
Soften the room by meshing homey accessories
such as quilts and braided or woven rugs.
Combine simple folk art pieces with Shaker furniture
to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
The strong, clean lines of a classic Shaker
chair can easily be blended with a comfortable
sofa and wingback or overstuffed chairs.
Emphasize the grace and understated elegance
of a simple Shaker piece, such as a cupboard,
by making it the focal point of a room.
Add Shaker pegboards as an interesting architectural
detail and display a simple piece such as our
Shaker candle shelf.
Decorate armoires, bookshelves, and desks with
Shaker boxes and baskets.
Old Shaker farm implements and brooms add a
charming touch to a country kitchen.
Silhouette a Shaker chair and tripod table against
a pure white wall for a dramatic interest center.
A brightly patterned Shaker taped seat can be
all the color needed to give vitality to a monochromatic
included here are copyrighted by Peg Carmack Short
and may not be copied in full or part without
written permission of the author.
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