That's why I chose wood when I designed the kitchen in my current as well as my previous home. Visit the earliest American homes in colonial days and you'll find that wood was the countertop material of choice. For that reason alone, you never need to be afraid that your wood countertop will look dated like Avocado Green or Harvest Gold appliances do today.
Now, let's talk durability. Surprisingly, wood countertops are more resilient than you might think, especially the countertops manufactured by Craft-Art Elegant Surfaces. I like Craft-Art because it offers dozens of choices of wood species and you can choose among various construction styles, such as having the boards laid out in plank style, which is what I chose for both of my kitchen designs; edge grain, which is more forgiving of scratches, and end grain, which is best used for cutting boards.
You can also choose to have the wood finished with or without hand distressing. I chose to have it distressed for a more aged look. Best of all, contrary to popular belief, wood countertops, especially those from Craft-Art, can be waterproof, so there's no need to be afraid of having it near a sink. When treated with a finish that can be best described as the finish used on wood boats, water just "beads up" on the surface and wipes away.
Yes, the surface is more prone to scratching, but so is soapstone, marble, concrete and any number of other countertop surfaces. To avoid scratches, I simply place felt pads on any item that sits on my wood counters and I always make a point to use trivets to protect the surface from heat. The only real precaution I take is to avoid dragging any unglazed ceramic bowls, bakers or plates across the countertop because that rough, unglazed surface on the bottom of the ceramic piece will cause scratch the wood surface. However, that same action will also scratch almost any other surface as well, so "don't drag but lift" is a good motto to remember if you want to protect any countertop.
I like to mix up my materials a bit. So I chose to use green slate on the island, which houses the sink. I did this, not because of fear of the water, but the kitchen opens to my great room which has a lot of rich, wood accents. I wanted another color and texture, so while, I have Craft-Art's Distressed Black Walnut on the straightaways along the wall, the slate island top provides a nice contrast.
Here is how they look together in my finished kitchen.
|Here you can see the juxtaposition of the green slate island alongside the warm wood countertops. |
Image copyright Norman Sizemore
|We ordered Craft-Art's Distressed Black Walnut with plank construction, so there are various nicks and dents, |
which happily were all intentional. Don't worry about matching your wood countertop to your hardwood floor, if you have one. They don't have to match.
|Another view of the countertop, which may actually give a better view of the plank construction and distressed finish. Notice the floor planks run perpendicular to the countertop planks. By the way, the floor is white quarter sawn oak.|
Here is a makeover of my previous kitchen where I had a turquoise Corian countertop and matching backsplash and replaced them with a Craft-Art wood countertop in distressed American Cherry and topped it off with a stacked stone backsplash.
It really is an amazing before and after.
|Before. I enjoyed the color scheme with the turquoise and I remember it broke my heart a little to replace it.|
|While it may have been a little sad, I really did enjoy the outcome of the makeover. It simply created a warmer kitchen.|
|Here's another corner of the kitchen, before...|