Utopia    Feature 21 Apr 2017

Cool contemporary and rustic, these enchanting kitchens are exposing the magical natural beauty of wood

Kitchens are going au naturel… The homely aesthetic of a country cottage, with a warm wooden kitchen, hand-painted in rose pink or cream, will always hold a certain draw. However, wood can be used to craft a vast variety of looks, from the very traditional,
to Scandinavian-style neutrality, to daring, contemporary schemes.

These cutting-edge designs explore the notion of taking wooden kitchens back to nature – they’re full of character, charm and natural beauty. It’s all about the tactile, earthy elements. “Wood can entirely re-invent a kitchen,” said custom furniture and architectural features designer, John Houshmand of New York. “From live edge countertops and sculpted elements, to tactile shelving and panelling. In collaboration with Nicole Hollis, we once even built an enormous 40 foot dining table with an engineered tree trunk of the same size running centrally through the entire structure – it was monumental.”

“The natural patterns and tactile nature of wood, will add a multitude of visual dimensions to your kitchen space – it’s a perfect choice,” he added. Unlike most materials used in the kitchen, raw and reclaimed woods won’t appear ‘perfect’, but instead hold a rustic and quirky edge that is unique to the material.

“If you use old retrieved wood you need to be aware that it might stain. But this is also part of the charm,” said Rob Landeweerd, designer and managing director of design company, Special Umbria. A reclaimed wood worktop could absorb stains from cooking, prep, even the accidental rings from
a glass. Usually these incidences are considered inconvenient; but imagine the beautiful aged aesthetic these ‘stains’ will produce when combined with the marks and discolouring gained from its original home. Not only will your worktop exude rustic charm, but it will also tell a story. Though, equally, finding the correct finish for your wooden kitchen is integral; it will affect both the durability of the material and the aesthetic, equally. Opting for a simple, practical and transparent coating will allow the natural knots and graining to show through; giving a gorgeous rough luxe appeal.

Finally, placement (as always) is integral. The difference in aesthetic between a kitchen with a large tree trunk acting as the central island, will differ dramatically from a scheme with reclaimed wood cabinetry and stark surroundings. Also, consider how much light the material will receive – a mass influx of natural light will mean darker wood is an option, but light will also affect how wood wears – years bathed in a mass of sunlight can easily bleach and age the wood.

With a natural material like wood, there are a multitude of practical considerations, but the important thing is not to forget the primary element of these designs: fun! Character, quirkiness and originality are packed into every inch of these spaces.

Special Umbria | specialumbria.com
Published in Utopia Kitchen & Bathroom Magazine