Butcher Block Countertops – How to choose the right one for your kitchen.

Butcher Block Countertops – How to choose the right one for your kitchen.

Perhaps this summer you’re considering a kitchen remodel and upgrading your kitchen countertops or island top.  There are a number of different countertop materials to choose from, each with its own unique benefit. Butcher block countertops are timeless, having been around for generations and remaining extremely popular today.  Many people migrate to the natural wood grain of butcher block because it fits any kitchen décor style, be it traditional, contemporary, or eclectic.  Butcher block is often chosen for kitchen island tops because of its durability and versatility, doubling as both a chopping surface and serving table. Choosing  butcher block countertops can be daunting and involves a significant investment.  But here are some considerations to help make the process easy! 

Perfect butcher block countertops fit your kitchen décor, your space, and your budget. 

butcher-block-countertops-choose-a-wood-species

Think about how light/dark and cool/warm you want your kitchen to look.

  • Hard Rock Maple is very light in color and uniform in appearance.  It can help brighten a kitchen and make it feel light, airy and cool.
  • Red Oak is of medium tone, with a golden, red tint.  It falls in the middle of the wood species selection with regard to light/dark or warm/cool.
  • American Cherry has a warm, red tint and can add both color and warmth to a kitchen.
  • Black Walnut is naturally a chocolate brown color, and can help darken a kitchen or visually warm a kitchen with its rich tone.
You can match, or you can complement other wood grain in your kitchen.
  • Matching the color of an existing wood can be difficult since many woods darken with age.  But matching a species and a grain pattern is much easier.  If you have Maple cabinets now, you can consider Maple countertops as a nice match.
  • Often it is more interesting to mix and match woods.   Differences in textures and colors, in moderation, can work nicely together.  It is easy to complement woods, especially when they are separated, like a wood floor and wood countertop. Or kitchen cabinets and counter tops separated by a tile backsplash.  Just be mindful;  make it look well thought-out, not like an add-on.
butcher-block-countertops-choose-a-grain-style

Three grain-style choices for butcher block countertops: Blended Grain, Edge Grain and End Grain.

  • Blended Grain will give a wide variety of color and grain pattern.  Rails of varying lengths are finger-jointed together showing much visual texture.  Blended grain  can look “busy” so it is  awesome when paired with a simple kitchen design, regardless of your decorating style.  It is the most affordable grain style.
  • Edge Grain is the end result when full-length rails are bonded side by side giving the appearance of a solid tabletop.  There is some  color and grain variation, therefore it is well suited for matching with other woods or natural stone surfaces in your kitchen.  Edge grain is moderately priced.
  • End Grain countertops provide lots of color and texture variation within the checkerboard pattern.  It has a very upscale appearance and is pricier, but it is the traditional butcher block look that shouts professional gourmet chef!
Your final considerations are a bit easier and they include your DIMENSIONS and FINISHING TOUCHES.  Choose your butcher block countertops now!
Create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

As we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day this week, I thought it appropriate to share ways to create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen.  How you design your kitchen and go about your daily kitchen tasks, can make a difference in your home and community.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Designs – Every so often we upgrade or remodel our kitchens.  Next time, consider eco-friendly options which can be stylish and affordable.

  • Recycled Materials – A variety of recycled materials are available to design and decorate with, like recycled glass used in kitchen décor and lighting fixtures.
  • Earth Friendly Products – New appliances approved by EPA Energy star program can use up to 50% less energy or water than older models.
  • Renewable Materials – Hardwood butcher block countertops from sustainably grown and harvested wood add warmth and charm to your kitchen. (Keep your butcher block healthy by following these tips from our previous blog).   Stainless steel countertops are non-porous, naturally antibacterial, and add a contemporary feel to your work space. Cork and bamboo flooring are renewable options with a “wow” appeal.
  • Eco-Inspired Decorating – Incorporate the natural beauty of fruit for added color in your kitchen. (Like lemons in my favorite teak-root bowl featured above).  Bamboo stalks in vases say environmentally friendly.  Small potted plants add style and color to empty spaces and help to purify the air.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Habits – Simple steps, when done consistently over time, can create great habits!

  • Try “green” kitchen cleaners – Look for non-toxic, biodegradable and natural cleaning products.  Or DIY and make a home-mixed cleaner.  Baking soda, vinegar, and lemons are my favorite ingredients and can clean almost anything. Baking soda cleans, deodorizes and scours. White vinegar helps to cut grease, remove odors and some stains. Lemons are acidic with antibacterial effectiveness on surfaces.
  • Use your dishes – It’s just as easy to pull a plate out of the cupboard as it is to grab a paper plate. Cutting down on paper waste will lessen landfill waste.
  • Swap out your sponge – Use a cellulose sponge or eco–cleaning cloth.  Cellulose sponges are biodegradable while many household sponges are made of synthetic materials and are slow to breakdown in landfills.
  • Commit to a reusable sports bottle – Keep one handy and feel good about your decision not to grab a bottled water.
  • Remember your reusable bags – I love that so many people have adopted this habit, but the difficult part is remembering them.  Keep them in your car, handy for  carry-out food, grocery and mall shopping.
  • Buy locally grown food – Locally grown food has not traveled across the country for weeks to get to you.  This means fresher, tastier food and less global–warming pollution.
  • Fix the drippy kitchen faucet – Easy to ignore, dripping water can waste gallons of water a day.
  • Recycle, please – It only takes a few extra seconds.  I am so passionate about recycling. Have a garbage can devoted to recyclables.  I have mine in the laundry room closet, 10 steps from my kitchen.

Make one change now and strive to add another eco-friendly habit once a month.  Keep this in mind when you make daily decisions or when remodeling your kitchen.

Please share with us the steps you have taken to make a more eco-friendly kitchen.

And check out this complete resource for Safe Food Handling.

 

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s time for spring cleaning! The kitchen is a great place to start! As the most used room in many homes, it is important to have a kitchen that is organized in a way that fits your needs. Next time you prepare a meal, take note of where you keep things, and what you reach for most often, and how you use your storage space.

Reorganize to promote a good flow to your kitchen.

Do you find yourself walking across the kitchen to get a knife, or digging through a drawer to find your favorite spatula? Your commonly used kitchen tools should be within reach of the areas in which you use them – knives next to the cutting board, utensils next to the stove, etc. One of my favorite additions has been to add a small magnetic spice rack on the side of my fridge, so I can keep my most-used spices right next to the stove (but I pretty much just throw things in the pan with no rhyme or reason…). Now that is a smart use of storage space!

Found Space.

Trying to maximize storage space and organization in my own small kitchen, I have begun to understand the importance of “found space.” See, I have very little cabinet space, and you’ll remember my struggle with tripping over pans on my kitchen floor. I have a fairly big butcher block table with two drawers and a shelf, but it was a cluttered mess and I couldn’t accept that there was so much open space above the shelf (I can only stack my pans so high!). My solution was to add another shelf – it seems so obvious now, but for some reason it has taken me years to notice the potential in that big open storage space! I also added a pot rack above it, and have now turned an empty wall into functional storage space. (Can’t put holes in your walls? Think about a table/pot rack combo like this) When shopping for storage solutions in your kitchen, take into consideration how to best maximize the footprint of each item you choose – adding shelving, cabinets, or a pot rack will create extra storage space on a piece that takes up the same amount of space.

Country Butcher Block

John Boos Country Butcher Block via butcherblockco.com

 

Hide it when you don’t need it.

If you just need some extra workspace from time to time, I highly recommend a folding kitchen cart. The handy wheels make it easy to get your prep done in the kitchen and then roll your cart out to your party for serving. These fabulous options are easily compacted into a slim little number that will slide into your pantry or that storage space next to the refrigerator! Seriously, how cool is that folding cart shown in the header?!

Speaking of that storage space next to the refrigerator, have you seen these awesome DIY pull-out shelves floating around on Pinterest? Talk about found space! I am cooking up plans to build something similar to this in the very near future!

 

Space Saving

Source: learning-to-b-me.blogspot.com via Butcher Block Co. on Pinterest

 

Have you gotten creative with your kitchen storage space? We would love to hear your ideas!