Granite and stainless finally have become the design standard for many kitchens. Yet the combination can begin to feel less than avant-garde, especially when designing for your log home. While many log home owners revel in the contrast between the warm surfaces of wood and the cool and shining surfaces of these two materials, some are looking elsewhere for fresh kitchen décor that is more harmonious to the log home setting.

Appliance Options
It’s pretty hard to avoid stainless steel in the major appliance category. But you may want to explore the slightly retro all-black or all-white options for major appliances including refrigerator, stove/oven, and dishwasher. When paired with contrasting cabinets and bright accents, they can create a dramatic and different new approach to your kitchen.  GE’s Profile Kitchen Design Center offers some terrific ideas using black (see right) or white appliances (see below).

Other manufacturers offer even more creative outlets with panel options. Panels can be ordered in wood finishes, or made from most any material 1/8” to 1/16” in thickness. This opens a world of options for the creative designer, including fabric panels, artwork, collages of photographs laminated together— the possibilities are endless.

One company, Frigo Design, offers sheets of fabrication materials that can be cut to fit on the front panels of appliances. These sheets can be made of copper, acrylics in many colors, brass alloy, mirrored acrylics or chalkboard. Several of these sheets also offer a quilt or embossed surface option. Sheet goods may also be used for accents, backsplashes or counter surfaces.

Counter Intuitive
After appliances, countertops can add the most visual impact just by the sheer surface area alone. They also get the most use and abuse, which is why granite and other stone options are so appealing.

Concrete is one option that offers durability and an amazing array of design possibilities. Colors can be made and custom mixed with integral pigments, ranging from soft neutral grays and greens to bold cranberry and cerulean blue. Add aggregate materials from crushed recycled glass or pebbles to create a more textured approach. One natural look from Concrete Countertops involves mixing several different pigment colors to create a look of burled wood or stratified stone (left). Other personalized looks can include inlays of found objects, such as stones, shells or other materials. A great source for ideas is the Concrete Exchange.

For another fresh option in countertops, see our Green Tip for August for a unique use for recycled US currency.