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How to Build a Functional Timber Frame Kitchen

Large or small, open-concept or gallery style—every timber home kitchen shares the same five fundamental elements. Here's what to consider when planning your space.

Photography by Roger Wade


 Photo by Roger Wade


1. Kitchen Cabinets/Storage 

Cabinets are one of the pricier propositions when balancing your kitchen’s budget. Fortunately, there are a variety of stylish ways to keep that cost in check. Open shelving is a hot (and cheap) trend that can infuse your kitchen with easy-access charm. Also, keep in mind that designing oversized pantry — even a butler’s pantry — can shave thousands off your cabinetry bill. Just talk to your designer about it early in the floor plan stage so you don’t have costly change orders down the road.


2. Kitchen Countertops

In a high-end home like a timber home, you probably assume you want to avoid the lower-end options like laminate. However, laminate counters have come a long way in their look and performance, and they are without a doubt the most budget friendly. That said, quartz tops the list as the most requested countertop material (yes, it’s surpassed granite) and with good reason. The look is as diverse and beautiful as any stone on the market, and it’s tough as nails. You really can’t scratch, stain or scorch it. Another advantage — it’s virtually maintenance free and doesn’t require periodical sealing like granite does.


See also 22 Budget-Saving Kitchen Tips


3. Kitchen Flooring

Except for carpet, there’s really no wrong answer here. Tile remains a top option — particularly tile that mimics the look of wood so closely it’s hard to tell the difference. Hand-painted concrete tile is a hot trend, but keep in mind that it requires sealant to keep the look intact. Wood floors are resilient and a bit softer underfoot (not to mention under fallen dishware) than tile. Each material comes in a wide range of price points to fit any budget.


4. Kitchen Lighting

This may be the most vital kitchen-design essential for one very important reason — safety. Inadequate lighting can lead to accidents and no one wants that. Begin with overhead ambient lighting — either from recessed lights or drop-fixtures like chandeliers and lighted ceiling fans. Then layer in bright task lighting mounted under the cabinets. Finally, you can add decorative lighting in the form of pendants and lamps — which conveniently also serve as supplemental task lighting. For added drama, consider LED rope lighting above upper cabinetry or in the toe-kick of your lower bank of cabinets. (They even come in a rainbow of colors you can control with an app.)


See also 10 Unique Timber-Home Bathrooms


5. Kitchen Appliances

Before you plunge head first into expensive pro-grade appliances, take a good hard look at your cooking style. If you love to entertain, keep a lot of farmer’s market produce and organic groceries around the house or simply love to experiment with food, then a serious suite of high-end appliances can be well worth the cost. But if you have a hectic lifestyle where the microwave is the appliance that gets the most use or you just love takeout, then think long and hard about what kind of appliances you really need. There are a bevy of very attractive-yet-affordable options on the market that will let you save money, all while giving you a kitchen space you’ll savor.

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