Year after year, the hottest home improvement project for American households stays the same: remodeling the kitchen. Nowadays, kitchen makeovers are more ambitious than ever, with homeowners keen to invest larger budgets to upgrade both the aesthetics and the performance of what is, after all, the most used room in the house.
“Most architects, designers and homeowners are setting hardwood as an important part of a kitchen refresh,” notes Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center. “That’s because timber not only offers a vast array of appearances and layout possibilities, in addition, it illustrates the type of material today’s environmentally conscious consumer needs: One that’s renewable, sustainable, ample, durable and easy to use — all of that makes it an superb return on investment”
Replacing tired old kitchen cabinets with stylish new ones is a favorite starting point, however there are several approaches to help maximize their impact. “I like to specify one type of timber for an entire kitchen — cabinetry, furniture, millwork and flooring — but utilize various finishes and stains on each component,” says New York designer Laura Bohn. “That creates visual attention without losing a sense of overall unity.” In one all-walnut kitchen project, for instance, Bohn painted the Shaker-style closets a putty tone for a tranquil backdrop. However she stained the wide-plank flooring a darker shade than the granite-top island so the latter stands out just like a gorgeous piece of furniture.
In a similar vein, a newly completed 1920’s Bungalow home renovation had quarter-sawn white walnut used throughout for floors, interior doors and kitchen cabinets. Though the floorboards were lightly white-washed and given a protective coating to make the appearance of bare wood, the base cabinets, provided by Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry, obtained a slightly darker cerused finish just different enough to differentiate them from the remainder of the woodwork. The oak wall cabinets were painted white to match the kitchen’s shiplap ceiling. “It’s peaceful instead of exciting,” stated the homeowner. “And that is exactly what we wanted.”