Wood brings warmth and texture to any space. That makes the material especially effective in kitchens, where shiny metal appliances and fixtures can have a chilly effect. Use a little here and there to balance white walls and cabinetry, or go full monty for a rustic cabin feel. Here are three kitchens that show a range of what wood can do.
Architect: Don Harris
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 160 square feet (14.9 square meters); 10 by 16 feet
Homeowners’ request: An open plan kitchen with an island big enough for their three boys
Use of wood: Architect Don Harris says one goal for this project was to limit the material palette. He stuck to white walls, white cabinets and polished concrete floors throughout the ground level, and white walls and wood floors throughout the upper level and staircase. To tie the kitchen to the wood staircase, seen on the right, he carried over white oak with a natural satin finish to the island and refrigerator wall.
Other special features: A refrigerator and pantry wall on one side and open shelving for dishes and cookbooks on the other allow the back wall to remain uncluttered and the backsplash to play a bigger role.
Designer secret: Interior designer Ann Edgerton came up with a steel shelf that sits above the range to display some of the homeowners’ sentimental collectibles as well as kitchen tools like a mortar and pestle and salt and pepper shakers.
Also on the team: Matt Davenport (construction); Paul Bardagjy (photography)
2. Top to Bottom
Designer: Troy Dyer of Veritas Fine Homes
Location: Durango, Colorado
Size: 203 square feet (18.9 square meters); 14½ by 14 feet
Homeowners’ request: A kitchen with finishes that blend old-world and western design with modern, easy-to-clean materials. (Overall, they wanted the new house to have an old hay-barn look and feel that pays homage to the surrounding land. A preserved homestead cabin sits on the 40-acre property; it is said to have once been used as a writing retreat by western author Louis L’Amour.)
Use of wood: Structural Douglas fir posts and ceiling beams set the tone for a stain-matched two-by-six pine tongue-and-groove ceiling. Knotty alder floating shelves and wall cabinets have a natural finish with a chocolate glazing. A solid butcher block counter tops a painted maple island cabinet that also bears chocolate glaze. The floor is prefinished half-inch oak.
Kiln-dried Douglas fir and pine: Alpine Lumber; cabinets: Copenhagen doors in rustic alder with chocolate glazing over natural finish and Cottage doors (island) in maple with chocolate glazing over celadon paint, Mid Continent Cabinetry; back countertop: slate gray porcelain; backsplash tile: Salvage Brown, 6 by 40 inches, Tile Art of Durango; hardwood flooring: Artisan white oak flooring: Fantastic Floor; pendant lights: from owners.
Another special feature: Designer Troy Dyer sought to maximize space, and knowing that a staircase and circulation make up as much as 15 percent of a home’s square footage, he says, he incorporated a space-saving ship ladder that leads to a large loft area.
Designer secret: Wanting the barn board look but the cleanability of a tiled back splash, the designers ran planked porcelain tiles in a random vertical pattern. Additionally, the designers wanted lots of light but didn’t want the focus to leave the pendants over the island. So they used hidden LED strip lighting on the backsplash and track lighting with small heads to give plenty of brightness without the fixtures becoming too noticeable.
Also on the team: Jess Wilton of Interface Architecture; Scott Smith of Imagesmith Photo
3. Cabinets + Accents + Floor
Architect: Vladimir Chernov
Location: Bentleigh East, Victoria, Australia
Size: 304 square feet (28.2 square meters); 19 by 16 feet
Homeowners’ request: A neutral, monochrome space warmed by wood
Use of wood: Oak veneer in a matte finish with natural knots and continuous lines lends a contemporary look to a bank of upper cabinets, the island back and the shelving above a message center niche. The floor is black ash.
Other special features: Handmade fish-scale pattern tile backsplash and a scullery.
Designer secret: Lowering the ceiling in the kitchen helped define the room, while extended bulkheads made areas look more streamlined and appear intentional for downlights over the sink.
Also on the team: Michelle Hart of Bask Interiors (layout and selection of materials, fixtures, fittings and colors); All Craft Kitchens (cabinets); Hart Builders; Suzi Appel Photography
Handmade fish scale tile: Academy Tiles; Frosty Carrina countertop, Caesarstone; stools: Middle of Nowhere; pendant lights: Mud Australia; appliances, fixtures and fittings: E&S; paint: Natural White (walls) and White Duck Quarter (cabinets), both Dulux; oak veneer: George Fethers & Co.; black ash flooring: Wild River Timber Flooring.
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