Celebrating 4 Years of BB Co. Brand Custom Countertops

Celebrating 4 Years of BB Co. Brand Custom Countertops

This month, we at Butcher Block Co. are celebrating our four year anniversary of our BB Co. brand counter and island tops! We’ve had so much fun seeing these beautiful tops in your homes and restaurants, and we’re excited to share some of our favorite recent projects. We want you to join in the celebration, so check out our BB Co. brand tops here. Share your photos and you could even be featured in a future blog post!

First up, our customer Tyra put together one of the most creative uses of our butcher block we’ve ever seen. Tyra ordered BB Co. Hickory Plank for her beautiful island top, and individual backsplash pieces to build this amazing range hood. Her contractor did a remarkable job, and this is one of our favorite kitchens to date. Hickory has grown rapidly in popularity over the last couple years, and it is not hard to see why when you look at Tyra’s phenomenal kitchen!

BB Co. brand Hickory Plank

Our happy customer, David, ordered a Red Oak Plank top, and customized it to his liking. He ordered the top unfinished, then stained it and applied six coats of polyurethane for this spectacular island top. Great job, David!

BB Co. Oak Plank Top

Finally, we have this absolute stunner of a tabletop from a new Italian restaurant in San Diego. GTC Design (also in San Diego), ordered a Knotty Alder Plank top at 115”L X 66”W (it’s huge!) for their client, Cardellino. Large enough to seat 18 people, this gorgeous table is perfect for big groups, and graces the private dining room at Cardellino. It was paired with an old industrial workbench base, which gives it the perfect touch of rustic charm. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have something like this in your home?!

BB Co. brand Knotty Alder

We hope you enjoyed our celebration! And, remember – if you are looking to put in a new counter/island/table top, we’re always her to help make your butcher block dreams come true!

Houzz Issues Report on 2020 Kitchen Trends Survey

Houzz Issues Report on 2020 Kitchen Trends Survey

Houzz, Inc., focused on home renovation and design, just published a report summarizing their recent survey of almost 2600 U.S. homeowners who either just completed a kitchen renovation project, or plan to launch one soon. Here are some of their findings that we at the Butcher Block Co. find interesting. We hope you will too.

Nine out of Ten Remodelers Upgrade Their Countertops
Countertops are targeted for upgrading more often than any other feature in the kitchen – 89% of the time. Backsplashes (84%), sinks (83%), and faucets and plumbing fixtures (81%) are also upgraded more than eighty percent of the time.
More often than not, upgraders shift to engineered quartz or granite countertops. Slightly more than one in ten (11%) upgrade to butcher block, plank or wood-slab countertops.

It’s increasingly on-trend for homeowners to top their counters and islands with contrasting materials as they seek diversity in both appearance and utility.

Twenty six percent of those surveyed by Houzz reported using different materials on their island top versus their countertops. While engineered quartz was chosen most often for countertops, butcher block (41%) was chosen most often for the kitchen island.

Island Top Materials

Of the remodelers in the Houzz survey opting for an island top color distinct from their countertops (29%), wood-tone island tops are the most popular option (35%), whether in dark, light or medium wood.

Island Color Top

One in three remodelers reported adding a kitchen island, and 22% upgraded an existing island. Another 5% left their islands intact. All told, 60% of respondents wound up with a kitchen island. More than nine in ten who upgraded islands expanded storage space and added overhead lighting.

$35,000 Was the Median Cost of a Major 2019 Kitchen Remodel
Respondents reported they spent $35,000 on average on their 2019 major remodels. That’s up markedly from 2018, when comparable remodels cost $30,000.

Kitchen Cabinet Replacements and Upgrades Remain Immensely Popular
Two thirds of 2019 remodelers (68%) replaced their kitchen cabinets altogether, and another 27% upgraded theirs. Nearly two thirds (64%) of those who upgraded their kitchens refinished cabinet exteriors. Far and away, white was the preferred cabinet color (45%).

Some Other Interesting Tidbits
• Half of respondents (51%) engaged a contractor for their remodel jobs, and 22% hired a kitchen designer.
• Seven percent chose blue for their kitchen walls, up from 5% last year.
• Hardwood was the most popular flooring material (29%).

Source: 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study

Kitchen Design Trends 2020

Kitchen Design Trends 2020

The U.S. housing market exhibits strong momentum heading into 2020. Interest rates, still at historic lows, helped drive new-home construction to a 13-year high in December. Further fueling supply, tens of thousands of baby boomers will exit the housing market altogether when they transition to senior-living communities. And there’s ample pent-up demand among those hoping to finally break into the homeowner ranks.

Against this backdrop, the consensus among industry experts is that 2020 will see U.S. homeowners continue to invest heavily in home improvements, especially remodels of kitchens – the most popular room targeted for renovation.

According to Houzz, spending on kitchen remodels jumped a whopping 27 percent last year alone!
Exactly what will kitchen remodelers spend big on this year? Key kitchen design trends can be grouped into a handful of themes.

SMART TECH KITCHEN CREEP WILL ACCELERATE
Tech-savvy millennials have come to expect it, and older homeowners will come to rely on it in order to more safely and comfortably age in place. We’re talking about “smart” kitchens with connected “smart-home” appliances and devices that can be activated and controlled via a smart speaker, phone or watch. Some connected devices, such as smart lights and smart TVs, can even learn your personal preferences and habits and adapt accordingly. It’s not a pipe dream. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reports that nearly half of all U.S. homes will include smart home systems by the end of the year.

ONE CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH PANTRY STORAGE OR SPACE FOR GRAZING
Housing-data experts, Meyers Research, recently surveyed more than 25,000 homebuyers about their kitchen needs and preferences. Three out of every ten respondents reported wanting a “super-pantry with ultra-storage,” and half expressed interest in a butler’s pantry for storing serve ware and staging meals.
Half of all respondents indicated they would like a kitchen island, and more than four in ten (43%) expressed interest in both an island and a breakfast bar.
Here are a few other kitchen design trends from this and related research.

  • Stainless-steel remains the preferred appliance finish, but colorful appliances are gaining a foothold.
  • White kitchen cabinets are still homebuyers’ top choice, however walnut remains widely popular.
  • There’s a shift to environmentally friendly natural and organic materials, such as wood, which adds warmth and natural beauty to kitchens.
  • Waterfall ends on kitchen counters and islands are increasingly desirable. (At the end of the countertop, a “waterfall” made of the same material used in the horizontal counter or island top, provides the illusion of a continuous “flow” down to the floor. Soon, Butcher Block Co. will offer waterfall designs in wood counter and island tops.)
  • Trends favor full-wall backsplashes and the use of kitchen art, since the kitchen is no longer just a place for cooking and eating.
  • There’s growing consumer interest in farmhouse sinks and prep sinks, as well as sinks with finishes that are anti-microbial and/or dirt-resistant.

TOMORROW’S KITCHENS WILL LOOK LESS AND LESS LIKE YESTERDAY’S
In 2019, the research arm of the architectural surfacing solutions firm, Cosentino Group, fielded a major market research project. Findings were revealed in a report they titled Global Kitchen: The Kitchen, The Heart of the Home. A key, overarching finding was that the modern kitchen is evolving to host activities that used to take place in other rooms. Essentially, today’s kitchen also serves as a work space, a playroom, and a space for communing with guests. The report observed that, “Practicality and versatility have become the kitchen’s two main assets… New uses have a direct impact on the kitchen’s design, which is open to new materials and colors in order to achieve an increasingly comfortable space, making it possible to safely combine cooking with other activities in a practical way.”

SURFACE SPACE IS THE COIN OF THE REALM
As homeowners use their kitchens for more and more varied activities, there is increased need for more surface space in kitchens. Nowadays used for web-surfing, social networking, and gaming, in addition to old-fashioned food prep, dining, and socializing, any kitchen’s countertops and island tops are its most precious commodity. Consumers want as much surface space as their kitchens can fit.
Designers are responding by incorporating into their designs longer counters, bigger islands, second islands, countertops in pantries, and desks, for example. Plus, they’re recommending material and pattern mixing (i.e., different materials or patterns for tops in different zones of the kitchen) to create a finished space that’s both highly functional and visually pleasing. For example, a designer today might specify edge-grain butcher block for the kitchen’s perimeter counters or desk, and end-grain butcher block – more suitable for chopping – for the kitchen’s main island.

Now that you’re aware of these kitchen design trends, what plans do you have for your 2020 kitchen makeover?

Winter Might Be the Perfect Season to Tackle Kitchen Improvement Projects

Winter Might Be the Perfect Season to Tackle Kitchen Improvement Projects

While it’s true that most homeowners execute kitchen improvement projects during spring and summer, there are a number of good reasons why some choose to schedule maintenance checks, appliance upgrades, and even full kitchen remodels during winter months.

For starters, some folks who worship warm-weather months prefer to reserve them for unfettered activity outdoors and for spending quality time with family and friends, without interruptions from contractors or suppliers concerning home remodel projects underway. Plus, wintertime home improvement projects can wind up costing you less and taking less time to complete, due to the simple law of supply and demand.

During winter, when there’s less demand for contractors and remodelers, homeowners have more leverage so can often negotiate more favorable pricing, closer-in start dates and possibly even shorter overall timelines, since more workers could be dedicated to your kitchen improvement or remodel job.

Also, you might be able to negotiate lower prices from appliance and material suppliers, since they too are not exempt from the supply-demand law and need to keep their inventory turning.

There’s one other often overlooked advantage to tackling home improvement projects over the winter: low humidity. Hotter months bring with them high humidity, which can wreak havoc on paint and floor refinish jobs, which fare better under heated air curing. Similarly, air heated to a nearly constant temperature is preferable for the acclimation of wood counter and island tops to their new environs. But take note: you should not leave new, wood countertops, tables or kitchen carts in cold places, including garages and outdoors, of course.

So Which Kitchen Improvement Projects Will You Tackle this Winter?
Truth be told, winter is as good a season as any for taking on virtually any kitchen maintenance, repair or improvement project. Such projects don’t have to be expensive in order to produce gratifying results. The list below includes projects that range from simple home maintenance to more substantial overhauls.

  1. Check for Air Leaks – Given indoor-outdoor temperature differentials, during winter it’s easier to find openings through which air can pass, adding to your home heating and cooling costs. Re-caulk any problematic seams arounds doors and windows.
  2. Repaint Ceiling and Walls – Giving your kitchen ceiling and walls a fresh coat of paint can be a smart move if it’s been a while since they were painted. Like most contractors, painters are more likely to negotiate pricing during slower winter months. Plus, you might be able to book an individual painter or a crew only one or two weeks out, compared to 3 or more weeks during the summer.
  3. Resurface Countertops – As everyone knows, worn or outdated kitchen counter or island tops can detract from a home’s appearance, as well as its market value. Wood countertops – either butcher block or plank-style – are functional, add warmth, and are virtually timeless. After all, naturally beautiful wood will never go out of style!
  4. Update Kitchen Cabinets – Sometimes all it takes is a good cleaning and application of a wood restorer to renew luster to kitchen cabinets. For tougher jobs, you might need to consider hiring a professional refinisher. If you have painted cabinets, keep in mind that many painters experience a slowdown during winter. Regardless of the finish of your kitchen cabinets, you’ll find that a change of hardware – knobs, handles, and hinges – can make them look almost new.
  5. Refinish Your Kitchen Floor – Humidity can cause floor finishes to cure too fast, leaving an overly glossy or uneven finish. Drier winter air, heated to a narrow range of temperatures, will ensure steadier curing and deliver more satisfactory results.
  6. Miscellaneous — Here are a couple of projects that can make a big impact on the overall appearance of your kitchen, without making too big a dent in your bank account: add crown molding; upgrade lighting.

Our kitchen improvement projects list would not be complete without mentioning two other sure-fire ways to enhance the looks of your kitchen and at the same time increase the value of your home: update kitchen appliances and upgrade kitchen furniture. Of course, we at Butcher Block Co. will always recommend butcher block tables and kitchen carts! They’re functional, affordable, natural, and above all else, beautiful.