Why weathered wood has become so fashionable as a special kitchen surface.
Age = character. So when wide-plank wood boards age naturally (which happens on flooring or barn siding) subtle variations in color including amber and gray tones appear. Those coordinate especially well with stone and metals so one logical place to showcase reclaimed wood planks in a kitchen is on the base of an island — where it becomes a focal point. The conventional attitude about barn or weathered wood is that it’s most successful for country looks. But designers, using it like paneling, are mixing it into industrial, traditional and even modern kitchens with great success, I believe.
Vertical oak planks and cross bucks are used to enrich the look of the island in what otherwise would be a classic white old-house kitchen [top] albeit one with an exceptional reclaimed oak floor. Lively brass accents on the cabinet hardware, pendant fixture as well as a luxe brass sink faucet show a yen to be different and a bit trendy here. However, the white cabinets, paneled refrigerator, and Calacatta marble back splash and counters are old-school staples that don’t upstage the island or the flooring.
Popular designer Sarah Richardson gave weathered pine barn boards (from urbantreesalvage.com) a modern push by running them diagonally on three sides of a island with framing that keeps things neat. The theme of the planking pattern is repeated and reinforced by the herringbone pattern of the white Saltillo tiles on the sleekly modern range wall.
Now here’s the cleverest bit: the barn planks disguise the backs of Ikea cabinets. A Blanco sink and faucet and dishwasher are also housed in the island, which is amped up by a Calacatta marble counter. The overhang on the end of the counter provides seating via bar stools (from morba.ca). Weathered wood planks make another appearance as the backing for the open niche centered in a storage wall of 12-inch deep cabinets.
When it’s orphaned, barn wood can be imposing and slightly odd. Or at least that’s how I read the vertical planking on this island which doesn’t relate to much else in this busy kitchen. With Victorian-style bracket detailing on the crown molding, and bead board for the oven cabinet and upper cabinet backs, I could see painted bead board on the island – not barn wood. But others may not agree.
Anyone hankering for a French chateau-style kitchen need look no further. The large-scale limestone block floor, antique arched doors enclosing a bar, the La Cornue with weathered stone checkerboard back splash and unhoned slab counters are old-building elements. Wide vertical planking on the island fits right in, with a clever barn-door cabinet worked into the end.
Mid-century industrial meets modern in this dark-hued Dutch kitchen where aged oak planks are fashioned into cabinet doors, both in the island and on the range wall. What’s interesting is how warm old boards look in combination with tinted concrete used on the counters and with the unusual textured charcoal walls – until you look up at the ceiling and see the logic of the scheme.
In a gut-renovated 1960s beach house on Long Island, interior designer Athena Calderone combined her love-of-the mix in the modest galley kitchen. Mid-century modern stacked sage-colored tile contrasts with the rough-hewn open shelving above the stove. Barn wood used horizontally on the island nods to the shelving and blends with newer flooring that dies into the island base. The simplicity and small scale of this kitchen (the house is 2000 square feet) proves that style is not necessarily limited by space.