House Beautiful is celebrating its tenth annual Kitchen of the Year 2017 at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California. This year’s 625-square-foot kitchen was designed by Jon de la Cruz of DLC-ID. This being a 1904 historic home, the kitchen features amazing architectural details: 12-foot ceilings, open pantry shelves, a beautiful mix of new and old materials and many windows.
For the kitchen, de la Cruz focused on beautiful functionality by combining his expertise in cooking with his deep knowledge of design history. The space features multiple stations for cooking, baking, breakfast and family dining — as well as innovative storage and display ideas. This was a necessity for the family of 10 that live in this home.
Featured in the breakfast nook are vertical ceiling-high, open pantry shelves made of American Black Walnut Wood crafted by Grothouse. The Black Walnut Wood Shelves capture the ethos of timeless elegance, serving as a dramatic accent for custom labeled jars and superb pantry organization by Blisshaus – also referred to as The Pantry Detox.
Taking customization even further, the shelves feature laser engraving on the front. Jon de la Cruz’s favorite part of the kitchen is the s’mores section, and we happen to agree!
This dream space was unveiled on April 29, 2017 and was open to the public until May 29, 2017. Click here to take a tour of the kitchen with Jon de la Cruz and House Beautiful’s Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson.
Be sure to pick up the October issue of House Beautiful to see the full kitchen. Join us on Instagram to see more of House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year 2017 and the San Francisco Decorator Showcase home via #HBKOTY and #sfshowcase.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. Today’s featured kitchen was designed by Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath and includes a custom Peruvian Walnut Kitchen Island Top.
About the Designer: Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, founded Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath in Chevy Chase, MD, in 1997 and has established itself as a leader in the greater mid-Atlantic region. Jennifer has designed more than a thousand kitchens during her 30 year career. She is the author of “The Kitchen Bible,” the essential guide for homeowners undertaking kitchen renovations. She is consistently recognized as one of the foremost authorities on kitchen design and her insights on design trends are frequently quoted in print and online.
A Tip from Jennifer: The previous kitchen layout was a cramped U-shape due to a load-bearing wall at one end. The layout was revised to take out that wall, which allowed for a large island as well as continuous traffic flow throughout the kitchen. Taking down the wall required a structural column, so we incorporated it into the corner of the island. The column was clad with Peruvian Walnut to match the island’s countertop. Instead of the column becoming an eye sore in the middle of the room, it became a unique architectural detail.
Sleek, clean lines and simplicity make modern kitchens a popular design choice. Because modern kitchen designs typically have more of a cooler feel, designers choose wood countertops to add warmth. In addition to adding warmth, wood modern kitchen countertops can be custom crafted to feature a sleek and simple edge profile.
Wood Modern Kitchen Countertops
Below are designs by some of the industry’s best featuring wood for modern kitchen countertops.
The kitchen is the heart of the house, and inevitably you find family and friends gathering around the kitchen island. Here are three important elements to consider when designing the perfect kitchen island.
The first step in designing the perfect kitchen island is to decide what the main function is going to be. Some kitchen islands are designed around food preparation, storage, entertaining guests, doing homework and even charging stations for devices. Islands are often designed to be used for a variety of reasons. The functionality of your kitchen island should be designed to fit your family’s daily kitchen activities. In addition to designing around what your family needs today, you also want to plan for the possibilities and create a kitchen island that can evolve as your family evolves.
After choosing the main function of your island, you can then figure out the size of the island. The size of your island should be proportional to the size and design of your kitchen. Professionals on Houzz recommend an island to have a width of 2 to 3 feet. For length, professionals feel that 4 to 7 feet is best, depending on how much storage and how many appliances you plan to incorporate.
If your kitchen already has a lot of cabinetry space, island storage may not be a priority. Designer Steve Justrich explains, “Typically, two 24-inch base cabinets back to back will accommodate most under-island functions,” in this article by Houzz.
If the island will be used as a main food preparation area, a sink and other appliances may have to come first in priority. Should you choose entertaining as the main function of your island, then seating arrangements should be the main priority of your island.
An important factor to keep in mind is the aisle space between the kitchen island and any perimeter cabinets or appliances. According to decoist.com, experts suggest that an ideal aisle space would be 42 inches between the counters. If you have a smaller kitchen, they suggest a minimum of 36 inches.
The next step in designing your island is choosing the style. Style includes the cabinetry finish, countertop material, lighting and seating arrangements. Typically the style of the island follows suit with the style of the rest of the kitchen.
When it comes to cabinetry finish, some choose a paint or stain color that stands out against surrounding kitchen cabinets. Others choose a matching finish to bring the design together.
It’s important to choose the right countertop that best suits the island’s activity. For food preparation, a butcher block countertop is most recommended. Waterfall counters have a sleek look that works for both modern and traditional kitchens. For seating areas, a wood bar top is a warm place to cozy up to.
Lighting above your island is a way to express your personality, while adding to the overall functionality of the space. Some designers choose recessed lighting, others choose pendant lighting. Some also choose to use a combination of both. Designers often use three pendant lights above an island, depending on the light design.
Seating is another way to add to the style of the overall kitchen and island. Some designers choose backless bar stools, while others choose a chair style stool.
White kitchen designs have stood the test of time in beauty and popularity. However, reluctance to embrace a kitchen with white walls and cabinets is common due to the fear that the space will feel too cold. Wood countertops are a great way to create balance by adding warmth and texture into an otherwise all-white kitchen.
Wood in White Kitchen Designs
Starting with this transitional white kitchen design by Stonington Cabinetry & Designs, a Walnut wood countertop matches dark wood flooring. The wood brings warmth, while white cabinets and perimeter countertops keep things bright.
Pine Street Carpenters, Inc. designed this contemporary white kitchen to feature a Peruvian Walnut kitchen island countertop. Matching drawer fronts and cabinet mouldings tie in the dark wood floors and countertop.
A Peruvian Walnut kitchen bar top complements the dark wood floors and provides contrast to this mostly white traditional kitchen. This design by Luxe Kitchens and Interiors was also featured on homebunch.com for interior design ideas.
Paul Bentham of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath designed this contemporary white kitchen to feature a large White Oak parsons table. This kitchen won Second Place Large Kitchen in the NKBA Baltimore/Washington Chapter Design Contest in 2016!
According to Houzz, subway tile backsplash is one of the best options to pair with wood countertops – and we couldn’t agree more.
Designs featuring Subway Tile Backsplash with Wood Countertops
Much like custom wood countertops, the classic look of subway tile is extremely versatile, permitting it to be easily paired with just about any kitchen style.
Farmhouse is one of the most common kitchen styles featuring subway tile and wood counters. Farmhouse style is often mixed with other kitchen styles, such as industrial and modern.
Griffey Remodeling designed this small farmhouse industrial style kitchen to include a white subway tile backsplash and maple wood countertops.
Phoebe Steinhoff-Smith of Coastal Cabinet Works mixed modern and industrial farmhouse style in this white kitchen. A large Reclaimed Oak counter was designed for the kitchen island. The subway tile backsplash is continued all the way to the ceiling, making the room feel larger.
White subway tile is a popular choice, but colored subway tile is often used as well. Stonington Cabinetry & Designs chose a light gray subway tile for this transitional kitchen. The kitchen island includes a large Walnut countertop.
Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens went with a soft, dark blue subway tile backsplash that continues along the wall under the cabinets. Conveniently located across from the range is a Wenge butcher block.
A distressed Sapele Mahogany counter was paired with a tan subway tile for this traditional style wet bar designed by Wood-Mode Inc.
Due to their design versatility, subway tile backsplash and wood countertops make the perfect pair. To see more designs featuring this pair, visit the Grothouse Countertop Image Library.
The Grothouse Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This week, we are featuring a Kaimuki Bungalow kitchen that includes American Beech Wood Countertops designed by Tiare Noelani Pinto, CKD, Allied ASID, CGP, of Archipelago Hawaii.
About the Designer: Tiare is the Co-Founder and President of Archipelago Hawaii. She is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Certified Green Professional (CGP), and holds a certification from the Allied American Society of Interior Designers (Allied ASID). Tiare’s unique background includes kitchen and bath as well as interior design. She has extensive savvy in both ground-up construction and remodeling. Tiare has served as a designer in the fields of graphic design, furniture, fabrics, kitchens, bathrooms, high-end residential and commercial design.
Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes an Oil Finished Walnut Countertopdesigned by Todd Wiley, Senior Designer, TruKitchens.
About the Designer:Todd Wiley, TruKitchen’s Senior Designer, has been working in the industry for the past 25 years. His passion ignited in college when he started working for a builder and cabinet shop owner. Realizing that he had to immerse himself in the industry to learn, he took a job at local shop on the Lake Michigan shoreline. As his passions grew, he moved on to Standard Kitchen Distributors where he continued to master the trade. This experience gave him the exposure to the systems and process that he was searching for. Feeling like there was more to learn on the design-end of the business, Todd then spent 7 years at a Cascade based design shop. For him, this experience gave him what he needed to further pursue his passion and open his own design shop, which is where he is today.
A Tip from Todd: “The client was looking to maximize counter space to accommodate multiple cooks in the kitchen as they like to entertain often. The homeowner had a completely different kitchen design in mind when they first came to us that didn’t take advantage of the space that was occupied by a window seat. By bumping up the window seat to convert it into a bay window, we added a second sink and more prep space. Also to avoid seams in the stone but also allow for a large island, an inverted an L-shaped slab of natural quartzite was paired with a custom L-shaped walnut with oil finish wood countertop.”
Some of the industry’s best have designed Grothouse custom counters to complement decorative backsplashes to create unique and outstanding designs. Whether it be a solid wood surface or an Anvil™ metal countertop, it can be designed to complement even the most drastic backsplash.
Designs featuring Custom Counters and Decorative Backsplashes
Matthew Quinn designed House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year 2016, which included this wet bar. Quinn covered the wall in gold-striped Calacatta marble tiles by AKDO arranged in a sunburst pattern around the window. A White Oak Rift Sawn Blank with Anvil™ Argentum Metal Finish bar top was designed to bring out the gray tones in the marble. Also designed for this space were custom floating shelves to match the bar top.
A Peruvian Walnut countertop and matching shelves stand out against Phillip Jeffrie’s Quartz wall covering made of mica shavings. This kitchen was designed by Steven Miller for the 2014 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase in California. This kitchen also featured an extraordinary backsplash composed of Black and Silver Iridized Chrysalis tiles by Ann Sacks.
This rustically elegant kitchen boasts a myriad of textures and materials. Designed by Peter Cardamone and Lynne Kaltman of Blue Bell Kitchens, a custom Walnut butcher block and leathered quartzite countertops complement the Mediterranean Sea inspired handpainted by Tabarka Backsplash.
According to Houzz, 1 in 4 homeowners combine two or more kitchen countertop materials when renovating their kitchens. Custom wood countertops are often paired with marble, engineered quartz, quartzite, granite and metal countertops. A popular design choice is to include a wood countertop in a food preparation area while using a metal or stone countertop for perimeter countertops. Another design used often is to select a stone, like marble or quartz, for the kitchen island countertop and select a wood countertop for the seating area.
Design Inspiration for Mixing Kitchen Countertop Materials
Taking ques from some of the best designers in the industry, here is some design inspiration for mixing kitchen countertop materials.
For this traditional chef kitchen with two kitchen islands, Venegas and Company, Boston chose a Zinc countertop for the seating area as well as a White Oak wood countertop for the food preparation work space. Photography by Michael J Lee.
Persa Avorio Leathered Granite countertops were chosen for the perimeter countertops and kitchen island. Designer Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens then selected a Wenge butcher block for the kitchen island end. The butcher block creates a perfect food preparation work space and adds a layer of texture to the kitchen.
Alicia Saso, AKBD, of Drury Design Kitchen & Bath Studio chose a Reclaimed Chestnut counter for a raised kitchen bar top. In addition, Quartzite Tempesta was selected for the kitchen island and perimeter countertops.
For more design inspiration, check out the Grothouse Image Library to see how other designers combine kitchen countertop materials.