Design Notes Archive

Peg Rails

Peg Rails

There was a time in the not-too-distant past, when the words “interior designer” conjured up visions of rooms that were so pristine you’d be afraid to touch anything, let alone sit on the sofa. But today countless designers have embraced a far more livable approach to design and their interiors are all the better for it—just as thoughtful, but with a welcome sense of ease. In bathrooms and kitchens, that ease is resulting in the resurgence of the ever functional, catchall of organization, the Shaker peg rail.


Ubiquitous in country boot rooms, this simple plank of wood lined with pegs has been appearing in all manner of spaces and projects. Former Vogue editor-turned-interior designer Virginia Tupker recently installed one in the powder room of a Manhattan brownstone, left, on the swanky Upper East Side no less. “I had seen a peg rail in a garden room, in a potting shed, with tons of things hanging from the pegs and I loved that Shaker utilitarian spirit for the bathroom,” she says. “Because it’s a powder room, rather than going glam, I wanted to make it chic but still simple.” It’s also a practical choice for the bijou space, allowing one to hang more than just a hand towel at the small floating sink (cue soap-on-a-rope). Fabricated from a French stone, called Campan Vert, the sink offers a modern juxtaposition to the pegs and panelling painted Farrow & Ball Card Room Green. That, along with antique sconces by Audoux Minet and a mirror from Jamb, give the room an old-meets-new air that feels timeless.

Studio Shamshiri designer Ramin Shamshiri also opted to run a Shaker peg rail the entire length of a wall—this one in his own kitchen, centre. That decision, along with the installation of open shelves and a mammoth butcher block island, was geared towards large family gatherings. Having plenty of open storage allows everyone to see what they need, help themselves, and know where things go. It also provides room for growing collections, which is key for hunter-gatherer designer types. Coffee mugs, measuring cups, and all manner of accoutrements can be hung up as the need arises.  

Designer Jenni Kayne took a similar approach in her home, designed by architect Vincent Van Duysen, right. Blending Belgian minimalism with California modernism, her kitchen boasts an open plan shelving system with a sleek, contemporary take on a peg rail, rather than the traditional ball and post silhouette. Try Tom Dixon’s site (not that Tom Dixon) for similar. Based in Devon, he custom makes peg rails out of oak in both slim and Shaker styles. Now is the time to place your order, before summer guests come roaring in.   

Photos © Virginia Tupker; Shade Degges/Studio Shamshiri; Jenni Kayne