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Butcher Block Countertops



Contrary to what you might expect, the addition of wood counters in your kitchen does not add Wood Element. However, it does bring Earth Element, which is auspicious in a room with SO much Water Element! Earth “dams” Water and in turn helps maintain balance between the elements. From a design perspective, bringing nature into our living spaces adds warmth and beauty into your kitchen design. Butcher block countertops are a great way to achieve a balanced and beautiful kitchen.


What is a butcher block countertop?

Butcher block is made up of hardwoods glued together to make a surface durable for everyday use in the kitchen. They’re typically made of maple, oak, and even bamboo. Not to be confused with wood countertops that use regular planks of wood and are generally less durable. Butcher block countertops are tough, affordable, and beautiful when taken care of.



The different types of butcher block

A common misconception of butcher block countertops is that they lack variety, which is untrue! Selecting what wood grain you’re using plays a huge role in the aesthetics and functionality of your butcher block. There are three different types of wood grain: edge, face, and end grain. 


Edge grain: This is the most common type of butcher block. Wood planks are turned on their side and then adhered to one another. The result is a natural and rugged look; great for larger scale applications in your kitchen. It was one of the existing features I preserved in my Mid-Century Pied-A-Tier kitchen remodel. Without it, that design would be far too water dominant; the wood counter brings in that grounding Earth.



Face grain: Imagine a hardwood floor, but for your countertops. That’s essentially what face grain is. It looks great, but face grain is the most fragile of the three. I recommend a face grain butcher block for dry bars and kitchen islands. I love this example from DeVos. It’s sleek and also inviting; a combination hard to pull off.



End grain: Made from the ends of planks, end grain butcher blocks are considered more durable and are naturally antibacterial. The application of the wood creates a mosaic appearance, but ends up being the pricier option. The result is worth it though, as you can see fromButcher Block Co and Grothouse.




Pros


  • Adds natural texture and warmth to your kitchen. Butcher blocks are a great example of biophillic design and Earth Element.


  • Easy to repair and will last for many years if maintained properly.


  • If purchasing an off-the-shelf slab it can be very cost effective.


  • Requires minimal steps to clean and maintain.


  • Patinas naturally and nicely over time.


  • They can be customized with trivets, rubbish chutes, and even wireless charging stations. Everything I listed and more can be found at Grothouse.


Cons


  • Can be easily damaged if not sealed properly on a regular schedule.


  • Will develop a patina over time and may show wear and tear from cutlery, dishes,


  • Requires more maintenance than a traditional countertop.


  • Not heat or water-resistant. However, trivets can be installed to remedy this issue.


So should you add a butcher block to your kitchen design? It’s really up to your needs as a home cook! If you can see yourself benefitting from this unique prep station and providing the maintenance it needs, then yes! If not, there are other ways to introduce Earth Element in your kitchen. Check out my past blog, Grounding Your Home with the Earth Element, for more tips!


 

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