My sister was over last night and while making dinner we started talking about kitchen countertops. Specifically, we were talking about my butcher block countertops and how out of everything I've done to the house, that change was the one that made the most difference. The funny thing is that out of all my purchases, those countertops were the least expensive project of the bunch and I'm happy to report that after living with them for almost a year, I can say with absolute certainty that I will never have a another kitchen without them.
Before installing, I headed quite a few warnings about high maintenance they would be. Without a gloss sealant (which I didn't want because there would be food on them and I didn't want to add a toxic chemical), I read that they could burn easily if put in contact with something hot. Or stain, if water was left to sit on them. I was also warned not to cut on them, for fear it would knick the wood. Basically the mo was that I should stick with the pricier (uglier) granite that we already had.
The truth is, some 9 months later, all the things I worried about have actually happened. There is a little darkening behind the sink where some water pooled. There is a little burn stain for a chemical that was used to clean the pots to the right of the stove. I've got a few cuts here and there. You know what? Those imperfections are what gives the countertops so much character. Rather than a perfect glossy kitchen, the space actually looks like it is cooked in. Which it is! The best part is that if you aren't a fan of these "mistakes," you can just sand them away, and add another coat of non-toxic sealant and you have brand new countertops again.
Initially, I thought I wanted a darker and glossy finish, but I was told it's better to go lighter because when you use wax to clean and treat them (this is done every two weeks when the kitchen is cleaned) you will get the richer and wax-like finish I was looking for. That suggestion was absolutely right, and my countertops (the ones in the image with the pink rug shown below the day after install) have taken on a carmel like color over time, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the end result. I don't actually cut on mine, rather I use a marble cutting board that lives on top of them, but that's only because I know this won't be our forever home and we have resale to consider. I've heard stories from people who actually have their grandmother's countertops in their own homes, (complete with nicks, and burn-marks) and I think that would be such a lovely tradition and one I hope to adopt for out own family.
Below I've rounded up my favorite kitchens featuring butcher block countertops. As you can see they work in any space from modern/ industrial, to a farm house or beach house. They bring instant warmth to any space for a very low price, and for that reason I am absolutely on the butcher block countertops for life train. Ours came from Lumber Liquidators but you can find them almost anywhere, even at ikea!
What do you all think? Are you a fan of the butcher block countertop? I'd love to hear from any of you who have them in your own kitchen! Do you love them as much as I do?