Friday, January 6, 2012

Butcher Block Counters

My hope/wish is to be able to start a little work on our kitchen this year.

On my list of musts:
~new counters
~new stove - switch to gas!!
~new farmhouse sink
~remove upper cabinets + add open shelves

On my list of wishes:
~replace lower cabinets + pantry doors
~new lighting
~redesign the island
~painted horizontal planks on walls, but would be happy with subway tile too
~new corner casement window {ours is painted shut!}

While a major renovation would be ideal, there's that pesky little 6 letter word that always gets in the way.  {budget}  I will likely stretch this project out over a couple years and change my mind umpteen million times. That's fine too.  I will strive to enjoy the process!

Starting with counters....I love, adore, drool over butcher block counters.  Especially, dark walnut butcher block.  mmmmm... I'd love to add them to our island but I need to know about practicality.
Because I really, really, REALLLY spend a lot of time in the kitchen it is more about function than frills.  I need a hardworking space.  So, do any of you have butcher block on your counters?  How does it hold up to wear and tear?  What does it look like after 5, 10 years of use?  How do you clean it? Do you love it or hate it?  Give me the skinny....

Source: via Tessa on Pinterest


  1. I have had cherry wood countertops for about 10 or 11 years. I do love them. But you gotta be ok with some imperfections. That's exactly what I wanted; a scrape here and there and a mark here and there. We are in a 1940s cape cod and I felt the warm look of wood suited our home much better than granite. I oil mine every few months (probably twice a year now) with mineral oil after cleaning them. They always look fantastic after that. I get lots of compliments on them. Good luck! donna

  2. I love the first kitchen, absolutely love it! I also love butcher block counter tops and have a craftsman who makes me kitchen islands for my shop out of salvaged butcher block.

    It's classic and beautiful!


  3. This gal has done three kitchens in three years. The latest one has the butcher block. I too adore it. Ifyou haven't alredy check it out here:

  4. Finished kitchen reno 2.5 years ago. Hated custom oak cabinets but kept because they were too expensive to paint. Added black granite counters. Wanted to add a black island with stone counter. The stone guy talked me out of it saying it would look like a patch work quilt. He suggested wood counters to echo the wood cabinets.He was right. LOVE them! The oak cabinets now look rich (new, contrasting paint on walls helps) and the wood counter is so forgiving--I'm okay with dings. My two year old drew on it w/perm marker. We sanded it off and oiled. You would love a wood counter. Everyone I know wants the white kitchen from "As Good As It Gets." But they rave when they see our kitchen; so warm we never leave it. Good luck. Check out counters at IKEA and Home Depot for comparison to higher end stores.

    And great blog. I love checking in to see what you're writing about and have stolen some bday party inspiration. Thanks!

  5. Hello,

    How exciting! I love kitchen transformations. I agree that the first picture is beautiful! Love everything. I have butcher countertops for the laundry room and the kids desks/craft table when we did the basement over. It's held up very well with all of their crafts and banging going on their workspace. We did choose a poly that is used for wooden bars. One application equal 20 coats. My boys can't bang enough to make a dent. Have fun! It's exciting and worth the wait!

  6. Exciting!! I love butchers blocks, had one in my old house, it was a feast for the eyes evey time I walked in my kitchen. They are a beautiful way to warm up any kitchen...good luck!

  7. We put in Ikea butcher block counters a year and a half ago or so. I like them, however I must tell you that you have got to do what we didn't do enough: apply protective sealant coats! We got the product Ikea sells for this, but we've been lazy and we didn't apply nearly enough coats, so we've gotten ugly water rings and some areas have even had some warping. so frustrating, now we need to go back through and sand them all down. ugh! your inspiration images sure are pretty though!

  8. OK, this is just too weird that you posted about this. We also need to update our kitchen and I was looking at the kitchen you have shown (pic no 4) in Country Living and saw that she said it was from Ikea. So I wondered if we did this on one side of the kitchen, the one that most resembles an island, then maybe we could splurge for marble on the other. I do kind of fear what a commenter says above about a patch work quilt look - but then I see it look good in so many pics. I know I'd be compulsively oiling it so I'm not worried about that. And I like the idea of nicks and dings...but not warping (hmmmmm). I am so happy to read the feedback so thank you oh, so much for posing this question.

  9. p.s. we would also need new kitchen floors and i honestly have no clue what to do.

  10. I love the gray cabinets and the wood in the second photo! It is beautifully warm (but it is too "clean" for our house - would add some photos and accessories!)Sent you a lengthy email late last night about my love for wood on countertops...hope it comes through to your inbox. Good luck as you start this project..the amount of inspiration available on the internet is amazing (and sometimes overwhelming!)

  11. We redid our kitchen a year ago (still aren't done:/) and used Ikea's oak butcherblock for the perimeter cabinets. We have an all white kitchen so having the wood counters really warms up the space. We love the look and receive my compliments from people. I'm in no way an anal cleaner upper and they're holding up great for us so far. I did accidentally leave a bag of onions on the counter for a while and they rotted, leaving a stain. But all you have to do is sand and reapply sealant. Make sure you use the right sealant though--very important. We used Waterlox since we heard it was the best for the job. I'll include a link where we were working on them. Also, you can see a updated pic of our kitchen under the "house tours" button at the top of my blog. Check it out. I think you'll love them. Plus they're the most inexpensive option out there (always a bonus in my book!). Good luck with all your projects--we have our own huge list too;)

  12. We did Ikea butcher block counters in my son's house. I stained them a dark color and used many coats of Waterlox sealer.I also used the pre treat product and did some light sanding with steel wool. Be sure to do both sides as it will prevent warping. Just follow the directions on the sealer and you will have great results. I think they look amazing with his white cabinets and tumbled stone backsplash. Next new floors to replace the nasty vinyl.

  13. We did Ikea butcher block counters in my son's house. I stained them a dark color and used many coats of Waterlox sealer.I also used the pre treat product and did some light sanding with steel wool. Be sure to do both sides as it will prevent warping. Just follow the directions on the sealer and you will have great results. I think they look amazing with his white cabinets and tumbled stone backsplash. Next new floors to replace the nasty vinyl.

  14. Gosh, I'm smitten with that first imgae! I'm not sure if I've repinned it or not, but I love following you on pinterest. I can't wait to hear what you decide in making these kitchen renovations. What a fun project that will be so rewarding since you spend a great deal of time in the kitchen.

  15. We're in the middle of "cosmetic" renovations in our kitchen. The oak cabinets are being painted, new counters, tile...We have a small butler's pantry in the hall to the dining room and we put IKEA butcher block there with a dark stain and it looks terrific. I think we bought oak for durability and then stained it really dark like walnut. I saw somewhere (maybe on gardenweb) where someone had used IKEA butcher block on their island, but had a cabinet shop router the edges to give it a higher end look, similar to photo #7. I'll see if I can dig that one up and forward looked very pretty. Must find some of that Waterlox sealer...sounds really good. Good luck! I'm sure your kitchen will turn out as beautiful as the rest of your home!

  16. absolutely stunning! If there is ONE thing I would LOVE in my future home it would be a butcher block island in my kitchen! I LOVE the window in the last photos! oh my gosh such great inspiration out there...I wish I was rich! haha


    p.s. come check out my blog design giveaway on

  17. p.s. I am your newest follower....can't wait to see what more you have in store for the new year!

  18. thank you all sooooo much, this is incredibly helpful!! blog readers are THE BEST!! xo, tessa

  19. Tessa - We have butcher block in our current house and in our old house... I LOVE IT. I'm very tough on my kitchens and both times it has held up beautifully. I ordered mine from very inexpensively - maybe $250 for the entire thing.

    Here is a link to the photos from our old house :

    I am new to your blog after seeing your comments on mine and receiving so much traffic from your post about my monkey bread! Thanks!! Your blog is terrific - we have so much in common : ) I look forward to keeping up with you!

    Jenny Steffens Hobick

    1. I couldn't find a "".... is that the correct website?

  20. I LOVE our butcher block countertops. They were already in our cottage when we moved in last year and I think I have oiled them 3 times since then. I really like them and am very happy. I will say there are a few spots that could use a tiny bit of sanding (to remove a stain or two) but overall I love them! Just make sure to be diligent about wiping up around the sink..that seems to ware the most. Excited to see what you come up with! Are are planning a min kitchen makeover this winter! I can't wait to get started.

  21. My in-laws have a 1940's brick colonial with butcher block counters - gorgeous and so authentic to the time period. She got us a Boos butcher block high table that we put huge brass casters on and use as an island, breakfast table with stools, etc. Only maintenace required is a good rubbing of beeswax oil which looks and smells wonderful.

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  23. I had butcher block in my last house & loved them! They were cherry purchased at lumber liquidators (for a steal!) and I sealed them with dark walnut watco oil, followed by mineral oil. I used the mineral oil after most cleanings for a few weeks, occasional cleanings for a few months, then just from time to time. I also purchased a beeswax sealant that I used from time to time as a "treat" because I loved the smell. So easy to care for, so economical, so beautiful. LOVE butcher block. Looking forward to the day when we can renovate my current kitchen and incorporate them!

  24. Information on kitchen countertop options is something I was looking for and I found a good site that covers the topic well. Be sure to check this website out before changing up your kitchen countertops.
    granite pittsburgh

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