Designing the Perfect Kitchen Island

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.

Designing the Perfect Kitchen Island with Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks
Design by Kelly Bailey of Coastal Cabinet Works

1. Function

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.

Kitchen Island Design by Paul Bentham of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen Bath includes Wood Countertop
Design by Paul Bentham of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

2. Size

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.

3. Style

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.

Kitchen Island Design by Pine Street Carpenters features a Tigerwood Countertop
Design by Pine Street Carpenters, Inc.

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.

Kitchen Island Design by Karen Kassen of Kitchens Unlimited features a Waterfall Countertop
Design by Karen Kassen, CMKBD, ASID, of Kitchens Unlimited

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.

Kitchen Island Design by Denise Quade of Denise Quade Design features a Wood Countertop
Design by Denise Quade, CMKBD, of Denise Quade 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.

Visit the Countertop Image Library to see more perfect kitchen island designs.

#CustomWoodCountertops #KitchenIsland #ButcherBlocks

Subway Tile Backsplash with Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks

According to Houzz, subway tile backsplash is one of the best options to pair with wood countertops – and we couldn’t agree more.

Subway Tile Backsplash with Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks
Subway Tile Backsplash with Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks

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.

White Subway Tile with Maple Countertops
White Subway Tile with Maple Countertops

Griffey Remodeling designed this small farmhouse industrial style kitchen to include a white subway tile backsplash and maple wood countertops.

White Subway Tile with a Reclaimed Oak Countertop
White Subway Tile with a Reclaimed Oak Countertop

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 with Reclaimed Chestnut Bar Top
White Subway Tile with Reclaimed Chestnut Bar Top

Designed by Shawna Dillon of Studio Snaidero D.C. Metro, this transitional/modern kitchen won the Kitchen & Bath Business magazine’s Showroom of the Year 2016 Award. This award winning kitchen features walls of white subway tile and a Reclaimed Chestnut kitchen bar top.

Gray Subway Tile with Walnut Wood Kitchen Island Countertop
Gray Subway Tile with Walnut Countertop

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.

Blue Subway Tile with Wenge Butcher Block Countertop
Blue Subway Tile with Wenge Butcher Block

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.

Tan Subway Tile with Sapele Mahogany Counter for a Wet Bar
Tan Subway Tile with Sapele Mahogany Counter

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.

#CustomWoodCountertops #SubwayTileBacksplash #KitchenDesignTrends

1 in 4 Homeowners Combine Kitchen Countertop Materials

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.

Combining Zinc and White Oak Wood Kitchen Countertop Materials
Zinc and Zebrawood Kitchen Countertops

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.

Combining Persa Avorio Leathered Granite and Wenge Wood Kitchen Countertop Materials
Persa Avorio Leathered Granite and Wenge Kitchen Countertops

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.

Combining Polished Marble and Zebrawood Kitchen Countertop Materials
Polished Marble and Zebrawood Kitchen Countertops

A kitchen designed by Karen Kassen, CMKBD, ASID, of Kitchens Unlimited features a Zebrawood Pastore™ Waterfall Countertop. Polished Marble countertops flank the perimeter of the kitchen.

Combining Quartzite Tempesta and Reclaimed Chestnut Wood Kitchen Countertop Materials
Quartzite Tempesta and Reclaimed Chestnut Kitchen Countertops

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.

#KitchenCountertops #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodCountertops #MetalCountertops #StoneCountertops #KitchenIslandCountertops

Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens

Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes a Wenge and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Andy Foster of Foster Custom Kitchens.

Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens
Andy Foster of Foster Custom Kitchens

About the Designer: Andy Foster, an accomplished kitchen and bath designer, has been a cabinetmaker for over 40 years. He began woodworking as a hobby shortly after college, and it soon became a passion and a profession. In 1987, after over a decade of commercial woodworking in several venues, he founded Foster Custom Kitchens. What stands out about Andy is his knowledge of and experience in all phases of project development, including design, fabrication, installation, giving him a unique perspective of the process involved in creating a new or remodeled space.

A Tip from Andy: The downstairs of this home has Douglas fir walls, ceilings and beams. The owners chose beautiful rustic cherry for the surrounding cabinetry, and wanted a wooden countertop for their distressed, black, painted cherry island. We were concerned that adding a planked wood grain to the mix would be a little over the top. Choosing a contrasting, end-grain checkerboard pattern of Wenge and Cherry made the island “pop” and tied the painted and natural woods together.

Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens
Wenge and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens

Design Details

Cabinet Manufacturer: Kitchen Island by Foster Custom Woodworks. Surrounding cabinetry by Kountry Kraft.

Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs

Flooring: Porcelain (existing)

Countertops: Kitchen Island – Wenge and Cherry Wood Checkerboard Butcher Block by Grothouse; Perimeter Countertops – Soapstone

Backsplash: Soapstone

Wall Color: Douglas Fir paneling

Stove: Viking

Dishwasher: Bosch

Other Appliances: Liebherr refrigerator

Wood Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens
Checkerboard Butcher Block designed by Foster Custom Kitchens for a Rustic style kitchen
Rustic kitchen with a Wenge and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block
Rustic kitchen with a Wenge and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block
Black Kitchen Island with Checkerboard Butcher Block Countertop
Black Kitchen Island with Checkerboard Butcher Block Countertop
Checkerboard Butcher Block Kitchen Island Countertop
Checkerboard Butcher Block Kitchen Island Countertop

View additional designs by Foster Custom Kitchens on their website, Facebook, and Houzz. Other kitchen designs including a Checkerboard Butcher Block can be seen on the Grothouse Countertop Image Library. See the latest Grothouse news and announcements by liking our Facebook page.

#CustomWoodCountertops #WoodCountertops #ButcherBlockCountertops #ButcherBlocks #CustomButcherBlocks

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens

Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes a Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens.

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens
Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens

About the Designer: Kate Connolly is an interior designer, mother of 2 little girls, aspiring yogi and art lover. She has been designing kitchens professionally for 20 years, collaborating with clients in suburban New England. Kate loves piecing together client’s wish lists into functional spaces making their everyday life easier; playing with colors and textures creating a cohesive space that her clients feel at home in. Kate and her husband, Kevin, opened their business, Homestead Kitchens, twelve years ago. They work together with wonderful employees in a beautiful 1904 house where every room is filled with inspirational kitchens.

A Tip from Kate: Think about how you want the room to feel whether it’s formal/fancy, clean/uncluttered, fresh/modern/trendy or warm/comfortable. Then create a focal point by letting one or two items stand out (in this kitchen it is the tile backsplash and the Wenge butcher block).

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens

Design Details

Cabinet Manufacturer: Signature Custom Cabinetry

Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs

Flooring: Oak Hardwood

Countertops: Persa Avorio Leathered Granite and 2 1/2″ thick Wenge Wood Butcher Block

Faucet: Moen

Sink: Kraus

Backsplash: Cobblestone 3×12 Gloss Glass Tile

Wall Color: By homeowner

Stove: Thermador

Dishwasher: Thermador

Other Appliances: Imperial hood

Additional Comments and Advice: The clients wanted to omit the kitchen table and have a large island with seating for informal family meals and entertaining. To avoid a seam on the island, we opted for a gorgeous Grothouse Wenge butcher block top at one end. It was not only practical (the perfect spot for food prep), but adds another layer of texture and interest to this mostly monotone kitchen.

Wenge Butcher Block Countertop designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block Countertop designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly
Wenge Wood Butcher Block for a Kitchen Island
Wenge Wood Butcher Block for a Kitchen Island
Design by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens
Design by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens

View additional projects by Homestead Kitchens on their website, Houzz, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. To see more designs including a Wenge Butcher Block, visit the Grothouse Countertop Image Library. Stay up to date with Grothouse news and announcements by liking our page on Facebook.

#ButcherBlock #ButcherBlockCountertop #KitchenDesignInspiration #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodCountertops

Grothouse Butcher Blocks featured on Angie’s List

Grothouse butcher blocks were featured in an article on Angie’s List, “How Much Do Butcher Block’s Cost?” The article summarizes the definition of a butcher block, the pros and the cons, and also the cost of a butcher block.

The article states that butcher blocks consist of strips of glued hardwood. It’s been utilized for chopping blocks and cutting boards for years, and more recently, as a popular material for kitchen countertops, tables and islands.

The Grothouse definition of a butcher block is a wood surface crafted in end
grain construction. End grain construction is the construction style recommended for direct food preparation.

End grain construction consists of small wood pieces standing vertically to show only the ends of the wood. This style of butcher block is significantly harder to manufacture than other construction styles. It requires a level of skill and craftsmanship not found with most commercial suppliers. The pieces are generally random sized, although sizes will vary depending on the species and sizes of wood available at the time of manufacturing.

The Featured Grothouse Butcher Blocks

Grothouse Butcher Blocks featured on Angie's List
Zebrawood Butcher Block featured on Angie’s List

This Zebrawood Butcher Block was designed by Lisa Martin of Signature Custom Cabinetry and was on display at the on display at the 2015 Signature Custom Cabinetry Conference. It is 2-1/2″ thick and features a 1/8″ Roundover edge profile.

Grothouse Butcher Blocks featured on Angies List
Walnut, Maple, and White Oak Butcher Block featured on Angie’s List

This butcher block features an interlocked pattern of Walnut, Maple, and White Oak. It was designed by a homeowner in New York and is 3″ thick.

Grothouse Butcher Blocks featured on Angie's List
Teak Butcher Block featured on Angie’s List

Old Town Woodworking designed this 2-1/2″ thick Teak butcher block with a 1/4″ Roundover edge profile.

To see more designs with butcher blocks visit our Countertop Image Library. Angie’s List also featured Grothouse Butcher Blocks in a photo gallery. Click here to read the full article on Angie’s List.

Family Sized Butcher Block in the New York Times

A Family Sized Butcher Block custom crafted by Grothouse was featured in a New York Times article, “The Closed Kitchen Makes a Comeback.” The butcher block is pictured showing Jennifer McAllister-Nevins and her family in their TriBeCa loft’s enclosed kitchen.

Family Sized Butcher Block in the New York Times
Family Sized Butcher Block in the New York Times (photo via New York Times)

During a New Year’s Eve dinner party several years ago, the pipes in Jennifer McAllister-Nevins’ kitchen were suddenly blocked. All of the guests got to witness each chaotic moment as the pipes for the sink backed up because she lived in a TriBeCa apartment with an open kitchen. Because of this instance, Ms. McAllister-Nevins, who loves to entertain, now lives in a different TriBeCa loft, one with an enclosed kitchen.

Family Sized Butcher Block Designs

Overtime we have seen butcher blocks used for kitchens used by families. Butcher blocks permit areas for seating and food preparation. Butcher Blocks often become the center of the kitchen, creating a central meeting place for the whole family to enjoy.

Large Butcher Block for Kitchen Island
Butcher Block designed by John Troxell, Director of Design, Wood-Mode Inc.

John Troxell, Director of Design, Wood-Mode Inc. designed this large butcher block with three tiers. The butcher block is made of Cherry wood on the inside, a Wenge wood stripe, and a Walnut wood border. The tiers on either side of the butcher block are made of Walnut wood. There is plenty of space for the whole family to enjoy around this butcher block.

Family Sized Butcher Block designed by Plain & Fancy Cabinetry
Butcher Block designed by Plain & Fancy Cabinetry

Plain & Fancy Cabinetry designed this Sapele Mahogany Butcher Block. This large kitchen island has plenty of space for food preparation and storage underneath. Chairs could be pulled up to the overhang to create a seating area. This space was designed with family, and convenience, in mind.

Family Sized Butcher Block designed by Home Supply Inc.
Butcher Block designed by Home Supply Inc.

Home Supply Inc. designed this American Black Walnut Butcher Block for this large kitchen island. This kitchen island has an area for seating. By leaving some space open on the butcher block across from the oven, it creates a space for food preparation and serving.

To read the New York Times article featuring a family sized butcher block, click here. To see more designs including large butcher blocks, visit our Countertop Image Library.

Types of Sinks in Wood Countertops

Types of Sinks in Wood Countertops
Sinks in Wood Countertops

The types of sinks that can be included in Grothouse wood countertops and butcher blocks are limitless. Sinks can be made in any style – from vessel sinks to apron sinks, single or double bowl, and made out of any material – from stainless steel to cast iron.

Types of Sinks

Vessel Sink in Wenge Wood Countertop
Vessel Sink in a Wenge Wood Countertop

This bathroom designed by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath includes a Wenge wood countertop with a Vessel sink.

Apron Sink in a Walnut and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block
Apron Sink in a Walnut and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block

Showcase Kitchens designed this Walnut and Cherry Checkerboard Butcher Block with a Walnut Border to include an Apron sink.

Farmhouse Sink in Wenge Countertop
Farmhouse Sink in a Wenge Countertop

The Shadowlight Group designed this Wenge wood countertop to include a Farmhouse sink.

Double Bowl Undermount Sink in Teak Wood Countertop
Double Bowl Undermount Sink in a Teak Wood Countertop

The most common sink included in wood countertops is an undermount sink. Blanco designed this Teak wood countertop to incorporate a Blanco Niagara Double Bowl #440160 undermount sink.

Overmount Sink in Sapele Mahogany Butcher Block Countertop
Overmount Sink in a Sapele Mahogany Butcher Block

Plain & Fancy Cabinetry designed this Sapele Mahogany butcher block countertop to include an overmount Kohler Sink model Brinx K3674 in Stainless Steel.

Types of Faucets

Grothouse wood countertops and butcher blocks can also accommodate any type of faucet. Other accessories can also be included, like soap dispensers and sprayers.

To view more designs of wood countertops and butcher blocks with sinks, visit the Countertop Image Library on our website.

The History of Butcher Blocks

At Grothouse, we refer to wood surfaces crafted in End Grain construction as Butcher Blocks. According to Wikipedia, Butcher block, or butcher’s block, is a style of assembled wood used as heavy duty chopping blocks, table tops, and cutting boards.

The Evolution of Butcher Blocks

Antique Butcher Blocks
Antique Butcher Block

The history of wood butcher blocks is not defined. Some say the use of a butcher block first originated in China. Others say that wood has been used in the preparation of food since the prehistoric ages. Butchers used tree rounds to carve meat on. The rounds were often too soft and they rapidly became unsanitary.

Throughout the centuries, mankind evolved and started creating machines. When the circular saw was invented, nicer, cleaner slabs of wood were cut and used as cutting boards. Since soft wood was the most available type of wood at the time, it was the material of choice to be used for cutting boards.

The boards were made smaller since the slab of wood could now be cut to any desired size. Since they were made smaller, they were also used to eat off of and some people referred to them as trenchers. Trenchers were originally pieces of stale hard bread that were used as substitute plates. Wood trenchers quickly became the replacements of the eatable dinnerware.

Hard wood butcher blocks were the preferred choice of the butcher industry. They were made to be extremely thick and durable, so durable in fact, that a butcher could use the same block for almost his entire career.

One fact remains true, butcher blocks have been used in butcher shops for centuries, and still are in many European countries today, as well as in homes for the use of food preparation.

Visit our website to learn about butcher blocks manufactured today.

 

Sources Used:

http://www.cuttingboardusa.com/news/quick-history-of-the-cutting-board-47.aspx

http://www.cuttingboard.com/blog/butcher-blocks-vs-cutting-boards-whats-the-difference/

Wood Countertops with Blue Cabinetry

A popular design trend we have seen over time is wood countertops with blue cabinetry. The warm tones in wood countertops compliment the cooler tones in shades of blue.

Wood Countertops with Blue Cabinetry

Design by Art Davidson and Chris Ingram
Design by Art Davidson and Chris Ingram

Art Davidson and Chris Ingram designed this Cherry wood butcher block countertop for this blue kitchen in Moorestown, New Jersey. The warm red tones in the butcher block countertop stand out and act as the focal point of the kitchen, along with the brick hood.

Wood countertops with blue cabinetry design by Griffey Remodeling
Design by Griffey Remodeling

Griffey Remodeling designed these Maple wood countertops for these light blue cabinets in Columbus, Ohio. The eye is immediately drawn to this area of the kitchen because of the pop of the light colors.

Design by Echelon Custom Homes
Design by Echelon Custom Homes

Echelon Custom Homes designed a Sapele Mahogany wood counter for this blue kitchen island end in Henelopen Acres, Delaware. The soft blue color of the kitchen island is complimented by the darker, red color of the Sapele Mahogany.

Wood countertop with blue cabinetry design by Jack Rosen Kitchens
Design by Jack Rosen Kitchens

Jack Rosen Kitchens designed this Walnut 100% Heartwood countertop for this large blue kitchen island in Bethesda, Maryland. The soft appearance of the Walnut wood sits beautifully with the traditional cabinetry of the island, creating a natural focal point.

Design by House Captains, Inc.
Design by House Captains, Inc.

House Captains, Inc. designed Maple wood countertops for their own personal kitchen with light blue cabinets in Boca Raton, Florida. The light tones in the wood and the cabinetry sets the tone for a beach-like feel.

Blue Cabinetry design by Page & Pio Construction
Design by Page & Pio Construction

Page & Pio Construction designed the Burmese Teak butcher block countertop for this large light blue kitchen island in Palo Alto, California. The light blue, although subtle, creates a great centerpiece of the kitchen.

To see more designs of wood countertops and blue cabinetry, visit our Pinterest profile.