Counter Intuitive

A kitchen counter has long been a anchor of kitchen design, and can offer a dramatic focal point, splash of color, textural interest, sense of warmth or visual contrast.

Counter Intuitive Surfacing Material Traits and Trends
Counter Intuitive | Design by Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

Kitchen & Bath Design News magazine recently surveyed over 500 kitchen dealers and designers across the U.S. and Canada. The survey looked at material trends, including most desired surfacing traits, views on the importance of surfacing regarding design and functionality of the kitchen, and what percentage of their kitchen remodeling budgets dealers’ and designers’ clients devote to surfacing.

The growing role of the kitchen has expanded the functional role of countertops from durable food prep surfaces to multi-functional places for cooking, eating, entertaining and more.

77.6% of designers/dealers rate the importance of countertops to the look of the overall kitchen extremely important. 58.3 of designers/dealers rate the importance of countertops to kitchen functionality extremely important.

52% of the kitchen remodeling budget is spent on counters, as they are  increasingly being viewed as a worthwhile investment, particularly if they are beautiful, durable and long lasting.

What adds value to a countertop? The top three desired aspects are durability, beauty and ease of maintenance. Other desired countertop qualities cited included fits with overall design, color pattern options and a classic look that won’t get dated too quickly. Most desired aspects of surfacing materials include:

  • • Durability
  • • Beauty
  • • Low maintenance
  • • Affordability
  • • Fits with overall design
  • • Color/pattern options
  • • Classic look/won’t get dated quickly
  • • Fits with overall kitchen
  • • Unique look
  • • Trendy
  • • Creative fabrication options
  • • Flexibility


Clients’ top concerns with choosing counters:

  • • Price
  • • Damage from stains/scratches/heat/wear and tear
  • • Maintenance requirements
  • • Color/pattern going out of style too quickly
  • • Not getting something that looks unique/personalized
  • • Not looking “real”
  • • Natural imperfections
  • • Fabrication concerns


Wood is Counter Intuitive

Wood is counter intuitive because it contains all of the most desired aspects of surfacing materials including durability, beauty and low maintenance. Wood is trendy and classic at the same time. No matter how old a wood counter is, it looks right in the design. Durata® Finish can be applied to wood counters so no maintenance is required. Each wood countertop is custom made to the clients’ specifications, so each top is something unique and personalized. Visit to learn more about wood counters.

#CounterIntuitive #KitchenBathDesignNews #CustomWoodCountertops #GrothouseThings

How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

Preparing Valentines Day Dinner can be stressful, but with the right food preparation surface and advice your meal can be a success.

How to Prepare for Valentines Day Dinner with Custom Wood Countertops Butcher Blocks
How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

The first step in preparing Valentine’s day dinner is to select the recipes you want to make as an appetizer, entree and dessert. Choose something that you and your date will both enjoy and that you have confidence to make to ease stress.

Allrecipes provides plenty of appetizer inspiration, from crab-stuffed mushrooms to brie cheese fondue. Country Living offers over 40 romantic dinner recipe ideas like butternut squash ravioli, bucatini with winter pesto, pancetta and brussel sprouts linguine and more. The Food Network made a list of decadent chocolate desserts perfect for the holiday, like chocolate raspberry mousse candy cake and chocolate cheesecake.

Once you have selected the recipes you are going to make and purchase all of the ingredients, it is best to ensure that you have all of the tools you need for preparation. The most important tool is the surface that you will be using to prepare the food.

Grothouse solid wood butcher blocks are the surface preferred by top chefs at home and in restaurants. Butcher blocks are very hard surfaces and knives keep their edge far better because the blade slides between the wood fibers much like cutting into a firm brush. Grothouse Original Oil™ Finish is a heavy weight pure mineral oil used for lasting protection that is food safe and  hypoallergenic. It does not contain any Tung oils. You can prepare your meal with no concerns if your date has any nut allergies.

One of the best ways to prepare Valentines day dinner is by cooking together! It is a fun and romantic way to start the evening and enjoy each other’s company. Together, you can start the night by preparing a delicious meal and end it by enjoying it together!

#ValentinesDayDinner #ValentinesDay #ButcherBlocks #GrothouseThings

Exposed Brick Kitchen Designs with Wood Countertops

Gone are the days when brick was carefully and meticulously concealed with more polished, modern finishes. Exposed Brick Kitchen Designs with wood countertops exhibit an architectural feature that enriches and beautifies modern spaces, blending unique textures, patterns, and colors.

Exposed Brick Kitchen Designs with Wood Countertops custom crafted by Grothouse nationwide
Exposed Brick Kitchen Designs with Wood Countertops

Exposed Brick Kitchen Designs

Exposed brick is versatile and suitable for many kitchen styles. It has a cozy, inviting ambiance and can offer a beautiful backdrop that lets various elements in the space shine.

Exposed Brick Kitchen Design by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop
Design by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop

Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop designed a Walnut Pastore™ kitchen island countertop for this white kitchen with an exposed brick backsplash. The parallel wood countertop and brick add warmth to the otherwise all-white kitchen and add textural interest.

Exposed Brick Kitchen Design by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath
Design by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath

This wet bar designed by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath features an exposed brick backsplash with a Peruvian Walnut countertop. The wood and gold cabinetry hardware beautifully accentuate with the warm red tones of the brick.

Exposed brick in kitchen design by Griffey Remodeling with Maple countertops
Design by Griffey Remodeling

Griffey Remodeling designed Maple countertops for this light blue kitchen with an exposed brick wall and white subway tile backsplash.

Exposed Brown Brick in kitchen design with White Oak countertop
Design by KT Highland Inc.

KT Highland Inc. designed a custom White Oak kitchen island countertop to complement the exposed brown brick wall.

Exposed White Brick Kitchen Design by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop with Maple Countertop
Design by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop

Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop also designed the kitchen pictured above. The kitchen island features a Maple countertop with a white brick base, matching the white brick on the wall behind the island.

Want to see more exposed brick kitchen designs? Check out the Grothouse Image Library and like Grothouse on Facebook!

#GrothouseThings #ExposedBrickKitchenDesigns #KitchenDesignTrends #CustomWoodCountertops

Wooden Car Parts

Wooden Car Parts are some of the latest wood innovations to reduce vehicle costs
Wooden Car Parts | Photo via The Japan Times

According to an article written by Robert Dalheim of Woodworking Network on August 17, Japanese car manufacturers are considering substituting wood for steel in order to make vehicles lighter. With wood pulp being 20 percent lighter than the weight of steel and five times as strong, wooden car parts are at the top of Japanese researchers’ considerations for reducing the weight of a vehicle.

As manufacturers move toward churning out electric cars for a mainstream consumer base, reducing the weight of a vehicle will be crucial. Automobile suppliers are hopeful because a reduction in car weight would require fewer batteries, saving costs.

Cellulose nanofibers are currently being used to create various products, such as ink and transparent displays. These fibers are obtained by breaking down wood.

In cars, the chemically treated wood fibers will be kneaded into plastics while simultaneously being broken down into nanofibres, slashing the cost of production to roughly one-fifth that of other processes. This process is referred to as “the Kyoto Process,” named after Japan’s Kyoto University who’s leading the research.

“This is the lowest-cost, highest-performance application for cellulose nanofibers, and that’s why we’re focusing on its use in auto and aircraft parts,” said Hiroaki Yano, professor at Kyoto University who leads the research. Yano’s team is working with several automakers in Japan to complete a prototype car built with cellulose nanofiber parts. They hope to complete it by 2020.

“We’ve been using plastics as a replacement for steel, and we’re hoping that cellulose nanofibers will widen the possibilities toward that goal,” stated Yukihiko Ishino, a spokesman at DaikyoNishikawa, which supplies parts for Toyota and Mazda.

Stay tuned for more wood innovations like wooden car parts by liking Grothouse on Facebook and following @grothouseinc on Instagram!

#GrothouseThings #WoodenCarParts #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodInnovations

Source:  Woodworking Network and The Japan Times

Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub

Is it possible to make a solid wood bathtub out of one three-ton mass of wood, without any glue or epoxy – and can it be done sustainably? The answer is uncovered in an article written by Bill Esler of Woodworking Network on August 7.

Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub one of the latest wood innovations
Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub | Photo via Woodworking Network

Timber Neutral fashioned this three-ton solid wood bathtub, along with other wood tubs, for Amelie & Max, a retailer in Toronto. “The goal was to make a 100% natural object and a reflection of the organic nature of wood and true to the spirit of the tree,” said Fiona French of Timber Neutral.

Timber Neutral states that there is something within the fiber of wood that no other material can capture – the vitality and uniqueness of an organic object. The tubs are said to be the fusion of high-tech craftsmanship and the originality and form of solid wood.

Each tub is made from a solid, single 6,600-pound block of wood that has been painstakingly carved down to create a two-person tub. Each tub is unlike any other, and is sold at retail cost of $34,000 at Amelie & Max.

Harvested in Columbian forests, the trees must be very large to produce such a large block of wood, so Timber Neutral goes to lengths to make the case that the harvesting is sustainable. Each tub is given an individual identification, bearing the personalized name of a tree, reflecting both the personality of the bath and its exotic origin.

While Timber Neutral has no plans to continue making these massive wood tubs, a few of the limited collection are available in North America and sold exclusively through

Stay tuned for more wood innovations like this solid wood bathtub by liking Grothouse on Facebook and following @grothouseinc on Instagram!

#GrothouseThings #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodInnovations

Source: Woodworking Network

Custom Wood Surfaces for Small Spaces

Custom wood surfaces for small spaces are always a genius idea. Wood surfaces can be designed to include a multitude of features that add function and value to a small space. Most wood surfaces can be used for food preparation as well as a dining area, depending on the construction style of the wood and the finish you choose for the surface. Wood also helps to quiet down a space. Keep reading for some design inspiration of small spaces with custom wood surfaces by Grothouse.

Custom Wood Surfaces for Small Spaces | Design Inspiration

Custom Wood Surfaces designed by Griffey Remodeling for a small kitchen
Design by Griffey Remodeling

These Maple wood countertops were designed by Griffey Remodeling for this small kitchen in Columbus, Ohio. The piece to the right of the stove features a drop leaf extension with hidden hardware.

Custom Wood Surfaces with Drop Leaf Extension
Drop Leaf Extension. Design by Griffey Remodeling

When the drop leaf is in the up position, it allows for additional counter space. When it is down, it allows for more kitchen space. Custom wood surfaces including a drop leaf feature are perfect for small spaces.

Custom wood surfaces in a small space designed by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop
Design by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop

This space in Boston, Massachusetts was designed by Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop. This space includes a custom maple wood countertop along the very back wall with an undermount sink. The space also includes a matching maple Pastore™ table. The countertop along the back wall provides extra counter space for food preparation. The Pastore™ table provides more counter space, for laundry or food preparation. It can also serve as a dining area if desired.

Custom wood surfaces designed by Stefan Hurray of Architect Design
Design by Stefan Hurray of Architect Design

The entry way pictured above was designed by Stefan Hurray of Architect Design. Stefan designed custom walnut wood countertops for this space with distressing to level 4. The wood countertops help to quiet down the small area, while also adding character and warmth.

To see more designs of custom wood surfaces for small spaces, visit our Houzz or Pinterest profiles.

Build Ambiance with Commercial Wood Surfaces

Build Ambiance with Commercial Wood Surfaces for Restaurants and Bars
Build Ambiance with Commercial Wood Surfaces

Grothouse commercial wood surfaces are the perfect addition for evoking comfort and building ambiance at any bar or restaurant.  Wood surfaces are a naturally warm material – much warmer than plastic, metal, or stone surfaces. Wood also absorbs sound and helps quiet a room full of guests, creating a more intimate atmosphere. Its forgiving nature avoids accidental chips to fine china and stemware, and its beauty helps you spare the expense of weekly linen service.

Commercial Wood Surfaces

Most Grothouse Commercial Wood Surfaces for restaurants and bars are finished with Durata® Waterproof Permanent Finish, a proven finish that withstands the wear and tear of commercial environments. It’s maintenance free finish leaves treated surfaces completely waterproof. Water left on the surface dries with no water rings. Red wine, vinegar, alcohol, soaps and coffee will not affect the finish.  Want to see our Durata® finish in action?  Perilla Restaurant, 9 Jones Street New York features Grothouse tables with Durata® finish that have been used continuously since 2007.

Catelli Duo is a restaurant and wine bar in Voorhees, New Jersey that features Grothouse Live Edge and Walnut Wood Tables. According to Catelli Duo, their restaurant offers a contemporary concept in fine dining – inviting, approachable and intimate. They offer a place where people can gather in an elegant yet vibrant atmosphere and interact freely with great food and one another. The wood surfaces they designed for their restaurant fit perfectly with the atmosphere in their restaurant. Below are images of the restaurant. Click here to learn more about the commercial wood surfaces.

Restaurant Wood Tables at Catelli Duo
Catelli Duo Restaurant with Wood Surfaces
Commercial Wood Surfaces at Catelli Duo
Catelli Duo Restaurant with Wood Surfaces
Restaurant Wood Tables at Catelli Duo
Catelli Duo Restaurant with Wood Surfaces

The Brittingham’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania has an immaculate custom Ash Elephant Bar Top produced by Grothouse. Brittingham’s mission is to create a place where guests stay long, enjoy fully, and leave reluctantly. The bar top cohesively fits into their mission. Grothouse crated custom ash dowels to fit in the brass elephant hooks. You can learn more information about this commercial bar top here and you can see images of the bar below.

Restaurant Wood Bar Top
Brittingham’s Irish Pub & Restaurant Wood Bar Top
Restaurant Wood Bar Top
Brittingham’s Irish Pub & Restaurant Wood Bar Top
Commercial Wood Surfaces for a Restaurant
Brittingham’s Irish Pub & Restaurant Wood Bar Top

The New Continental Tavern is a pub in Yardley, Pennsylvania that has a Sapele Mahogany Wood Bar Top. The bar top includes Chicago Bar Rail and a 4 inch drink rail. The Continental offers the finest in Tavern Fare and Sumptuous Spirits, in an atmosphere that is comfortable, inviting and reminiscent of bygone days when hospitality was paramount. The custom wood bar top crafted for The Continental adds to its warmth and charm.

Commercial Wood Bar Top
The New Continental Tavern Wood Bar Top
Commercial Wood surfaces in Pennsylvania
The New Continental Tavern Wood Bar Top

You can view more restaurants and bars with Grothouse Commercial Wood Surfaces in our Countertop Image Library.