Who doesn’t want a kitchen that’s well-designed and hard-wearing but also looks beautiful and welcoming? There is one material—hardwood—that incorporates all these qualities. “Professional kitchen designers love working with Real American Hardwood™ products because they're adaptable and durable, answering all their practical and aesthetic needs,” says Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “Homeowners respond to the natural warmth of oak, maple, walnut, and other classic species, which adds character and personality to any kitchen, whether traditional or contemporary in style.” Here are five kitchens that prove Linda’s point.
This traditional kitchen by Whitten Architects in Portland, Maine showcases two strong contemporary design trends: all-hardwood cabinetry and the use of natural or light-hued finishes. Here, a colorless stain was applied to the handsome hickory millwork, giving the wood a tawny glow that’s a perfect complement to the cool green of the soapstone counters and backsplashes.
Hardwood works just as well in modern, minimalist kitchens as it does in more traditional ones. MYD Studio gets maximum impact out of clean-lined maple cabinetry by surrounding it with a limited number of materials—stainless-steel appliances, quartz countertops, white-painted walls—in this remodeled Orange County, California kitchen. And thanks to the clever use wood slats, the large custom island looks as light and airy as the rest of the space.
SA-DA Architecture installed this simple but elegant one-wall kitchen in the great room of a turn-of-the-century mansion they renovated in Brooklyn, New York. The flat-panel walnut cabinets strike a discreetly modern note while integrating smoothly into the imposing space, which features original exposed joists and new oak floors. Aesthetically, the white undercounter cabinets form a solid compositional block that’s pleasingly substantial without being overbearing.
In the kitchen of an Orange County, California house by Gonterman Custom Homes, designer Laura Brophy sets up a Mediterranean vibe by juxtaposing clear-stained, solid-walnut cabinets and open shelving with elements in different shades of gray: dark charcoal for the granite countertops; subtle smokey striations for the island’s marble slab; and palest mist for the glossy backsplash tile. It’s a winning recipe that’s both sophisticated and easy.
Shaker style gets a masterful update with the custom maple cabinetry in this Buffalo, New York kitchen designed by Julie Deuble of Sierra Unlimited Construction. No stain color was applied to the wood, so its natural beauty shines through, while its light hue and fine texture are counterbalanced by the darker shades of the glossy tile backsplash, the polished Fantasy Brown granite countertops, and the gleaming stainless-steel appliances.
Real American Hardwood is a trademark of the Real American Hardwood Coalition.