Whenever I deliver work, I will often tell clients that the first time they see it completed will be the "worst" that it will look, under the logic that, with time, the color and visual depth of the wood will only improve. If that is true for most woods, cherry stands out as one that takes years (or at least many months) to really develop its full depth. With a good quality oil or wax based finish and no stain, cherry will develop a rich red-burnt brown color on its own. For this kitchen, the client wanted the final color to be less dark than a natural finished cherry, and to be orange without being identifiably orange.
Saylor Painting worked up an array of samples, and we decided on a finish that started with a deep yellow dye-stain, followed by a more orange-brown pigmented stain, and topped with a couple coats of water-based lacquer. This method yielded a bright red, orange-but-not-orange, tone. With the water-based lacquers, which tend to have somewhat less depth of color and luster versus their solvent-based cousins, it is especially difficult to achieve a deeply toned color to the wood; but Saylor really made nice work of it.
The south facing wall of this kitchen is framed by two sets of corner windows that shower the space with natural light; and now that the cabinets have been in place for nearly a year and the color has developed, the wood simply glows. Aside from the stain on the cabinets, I can claim no responsibility for the color scheme in the kitchen; and all that credit goes to the client. The combination of creamy walls with the black granite counters and the black, white, and grey glass tile backsplash allow for the cabinets to really stand out.
A set of three pull-out pantry cabinets were a solution to the problem of limited wall space, as there was no feasible location for a large wall pantry cabinet. (There was little available space for upper cabinets, perhaps the downside of two corner window sets, two passages to adjacent rooms, an outside door, and a pass through, all in a modestly sized kitchen). In base cabinets, items stored towards the back are often forgotten, or at least can be frustrating to access; and, the pull-out pantries bring the storage out into the open for easier access.
The kitchen island (pictured below) functions as a work space, prep area, and central location to mix, pour, and sample a well deserved cocktail. Plus, the storage underneath is perfect for larger cookware that usually clutters a standard sized lower cabinet.
Larry of Nova Woodworks made the butcher block top. He has the machines (most notably, the dual head wide belt sander) to handle a larger, 36" wide top; and besides the basic dimensions, my only instructions to Larry were that the client wanted a maple butcher block with a cherry "rally" stripe. She was thrilled with the top, especially with the matching cutting board that Larry made (for fun) with some of the off-cuts. Butchen block counter tops are another one of those things that get better with age, and it is all the spills, stains, scratches, and scuffs that create a patina and improve the appearence.
Much like the rug in The Big Lebowski that "really tied the room together", this breakfast bar unites the kitchen with the living room and outside spaces. Viewed from the kitchen, the big leaf maple breakfast bar glows with the abundant natural light that spills through the living room windows from the surrounding forest. Even on a typically grey, rainy December day in Eugene, the natural light in this home provide a surprising amount of warmth, (even if that warmth is in the form of light, rather than sensible heat). Live edges on the bar top and corbels with the highly figured grain show off the natural beauty of the wood. Really, I just cut it to fit the space, the wood is the real star on this project.
Installation of the mixed Paperstone and maple butcher-block counters only took a couple days, but during the preceding several months, the old faucet had progressively declined until it only provided a mere trickle. The original counters were tile that still looked and functioned great, despite decades of wear; but the original cast iron undermount sink had been the victim of an unfortunate resurfacing job, and its time had finally come. Because of the age of the tile, it would have been near impossible to replace the sink and patch the tile so that it would look like a plausible match. (A few years previous I added a new section of matching cabinets to the kitchen, and because it was located on an opposite wall we were able to get away with using an imperfect match for the backsplash tile; but it would be nowhere near close enough for a side-by-side patch). In addition to all of that, the space behind the sink was too narrow to allow a faucet to fully function; so the old tile counters had to go.
We chose Paperstone for the sink section because of its resistance to water, durability, and sustainability; and maple butcher block for the "wing" sections because it matched existing butcher block in another section of the kitchen, and it balanced the muted, black texture of the Paperstone. The asymetric shape of the stainless steel undermount sink allowed for the faucet to be placed slightly further forward so that it fully functioned and had plenty of space to operate. Aside from fabricating a couple small tile patches from pieces of the old counter, the tile backsplash was left alone and works quite well with the considerably more modern counters and plumbing fixtures.