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Smart + Stylish Countertop Choices

Kitchen countertop materials that make a statement.

Written by Suzanna Logan

Once upon a time, kitchen countertops were considered purely utilitarian surfaces, workhorses meant to stand up against the wear and tear of food preparation. Those days are over. Today’s countertops are prized as important design elements that contribute to the overall appearance of your home — and rightfully so. After all, thanks to open-concept design, they’re on display 24/7.
 
While there are countless surface materials and products on the market, log and timber home lovers lean toward a few styles in particular: traditional, rustic or industrial. So whether you’re a traditionalist, with a bent towards elegance; a trendsetter with a love for industrial chic; or a devotee of all things rustic, let us help you find your surface style-match.
 

Stone: Tried and True Tradition


Golden Eagle Log and Timber Homes
 
Natural stone has long been a go-to among log and timber home folks for good reason. From luxurious marble to ubiquitous granite, stone exudes a natural beauty and elegance that pairs perfectly with wood. Patterns range from solid to speckled to streaked, while hues range from red to blue and most every shade in between. For a traditional look with an on-trend twist, skip heavily polished options and choose a honed or leathered finish instead. With the same trusted durability as high-shine varieties, these muted finishes provide a more nature-inspired appearance that’s perfect for a wood home. Plus, they add an extra layer of textural dimension, and they conceal flaws, from scratches to water spots, better than their glossy counterparts.
 
Get the look! Quartzite Celadon countertops from Antolini feature an elegant cascade of gray and white ribbons through natural stone. antolini.com
 

Wood: Rustic Revival

Reaction Photography photo
 
If the saying, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” is how you feel about wood in your log or timber home, reinforcing a rustic look in your kitchen is simple with butcher block countertops. Typically made from hardwoods, like maple, cherry or walnut, and topped with a food-safe finish, they give off rustic warmth and beauty.
 
In terms of design aesthetics, they’re surprisingly versatile, taking on anything from a vintage farmhouse feel to a modern vibe, depending on the other finishes and appliances used in the space. Other perks: butcher block countertops are gentle on breakable dishware and can be refinished to look brand new, as needed.
 
For surfaces less prone to heavy use, such as a bar top, a rustic solid wood slab will serve as a showpiece. Far from creating a one-dimensional look alongside logs or timbers, natural slab surfaces are rich with character, thanks to their widely varying tones, knots and grain patterns. For an even bigger visual splash coupled with an organic feel, choose a slab with an undulating live edge — maybe even with some of the bark left on.
 
Get the look! Northern Hard Rock Maple butcher block countertops from John Boos & Co. are characterized by warmth and natural antimicrobial properties.  johnboos.com
 

Concrete: Industrial Influence


JMLifestyles photo
 
Simple, clean lines and non-fussy materials are the hallmarks of industrial design — a motif popular in contemporary timber homes and log hybrids. Incorporating concrete countertops into your kitchen is a no-brainer way to carry these characteristics easily into your home’s design. Now, if the term “concrete countertops” conjures images of dull gray expanses, it’s time to take another look at the concrete-surface scene. Countertops made of concrete can take on drastically different looks, depending on how they are finished. Metallic finishes, a range of textures and unlimited colors and patterns (they can be made to look identical to wood and even marble) offer flexibility, but don’t be afraid to keep things simple to allow your industrial-themed home’s offerings of wood, metal and glass to shine.
 
Get the look! Concrete waterfall-edge counters paired with concrete wood-look shelves on a concrete Boardformed wall, all from JM Lifestyles, show off the material’s versatility.  jmlifestyles.com