A small sink is integrated into the corner of this beech wood countertop that has been customized with drain panels. Photo courtesy of Craft-Art, Inc.
• Add to a desk or eat-in bar. Another creative option is to integrate a wood countertop or butcher block into a raised or lower desk or eat-in bar area. By integrating wood into a granite surface, you break up long lengths of stone and add not just warmth and texture, but a custom feel that won’t look like every other kitchen on the block.
CUSTOMIZE TO THE HOMEOWNER’S LIFESTYLE
A kitchen that is truly a custom creation is one that reflects the homeowner’s lifestyle and personality. If you’re incorporating wood countertops, consider where and how they would best complement your clients’ functional needs.
• For cooks. For instance, a homeowner who loves to cook would benefit from adding a butcher-block portion to the countertop that has been finished with a food-safe penetrating oil. It can be used to prepare food and chop vegetables.
• For wine lovers. Wine enthusiasts may want to replace the granite by their wet bar with wood that uses a penetrating crosslinked tung oil finish. This tough, durable finish will repel wine spills and gives the area a look you’ll find at an upscale winery or a high-end wine cellar.
• For coffee lovers. Similarly, for coffee lovers—whether they have their own cappuccino machine or a single-serve coffee maker—a wood countertop can be used to articulate their own coffee bar and make it stand out.
Once the location of the wood countertop is decided, it’s time to choose the wood species—and there are a lot of choices.
Domestic species abound, ranging from cherry, maple, hickory to black walnut. In addition, woods come in a variety of exotic species, including zebrawood, wenge and teak, all of which will add color, texture and warmth to a kitchen. Can’t decide on just one wood? Consider a checkerboard wood countertop that combines two different species for a unique punch of color.
Like a rustic appearance? Specify a distressed wood top, a process done by hand that adds age and patina to the wood from the get-go. There are also green wood options, like bamboo and lyptus, or reclaimed wood that has been repurposed as a countertop from an old barn, warehouse or home that has been torn down.
Avoid matching your clients’ wood countertops to their wood cabinets, hardwood floor or even an existing granite countertop. Pick a color that will accent the kitchen and coordinate with the other colors. You may also want to keep your use of woods to the same color family by sticking, for example, with browns, red tones, gray-green tones or light woods, such as heart pine or maple.
Here’s an example. In a kitchen with antique heart pine floors that are a pale gold color, you may want to choose cabinets that are stained a dark mahogany and a reclaimed beech wood countertop with an overall golden background and fairly dark knots. This will allow the floor, counter and cabinets blend together nicely.