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Cottage Kitchens: Cabinetry & Hardware continued from

Ceramic Tile

The Complete Guide to Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is able to cope with wear, pressure, damage and is hard-wearing and easy to clean. Add to that not too hard on the pocket and you’ve got a great choice for countertops. Because it’s put down a section at a time, it can be done by most able home owners.

Pros: takes hot pans; easy to clean; wide range of price, colour, texture and design.

Cons: counter surface is uneven; tiles can easily chip or crack; grout lines become stained; custom-designed tiles are very costly.


Making Plastic-Laminate Countertops [Paperback]

They’re made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface that’s easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and finished on the ends.

Pros: you can buy laminates in hundreds of colours and patterns; easy to look after; durable; low-cost.

Cons: scratches and chips are almost out of the question to repair; seams show; end finishing and front edge choices can be pricey.

Wood or Butcher Block

Butcher Block Conditioner

Butcher-block counters are enjoyed by many, useful and mature into a good-looking golden tone over the years. Wood has a divine warm look and is found in a wide range of colours and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods and when distressed look time-worn and real.

Pros: easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed; forgiving to fragile glass; great for kneading dough or rolling pastry, and over time gets a golden patina. Patina is the valued change of a surface through age and exposure, over time.

Cons: can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed.

Soapstone Counters

Natural materials like soapstone counters are common in Cottage kitchens. Soapstone is in most cases dark grey in colour and has a smooth feel. It is often seen in historic homes but is also used in modern homes as both a countertop and sink material.

Pros: rich, deep colour; smooth feel; somewhat stain resistant. Soapstone countertops have a smooth, soapy touch as they are made of mineral talc, quartz, and other minerals. Soapstone is softer and less porous than granite, so if gives your kitchen a softer, homier feel while still keeping the means to withstand wear, pressure, or damage. Soapstone is not afraid of heat, so you do not need to worry about it cracking near your cook top, or a pot melting it.

Cons: expensive; requires regular looking after with putting on of mineral oil; may crack and darken over time.


For countertops and backslashes, white Calcutta marble is drawing notice because its brown and yellow tones provide a ready-made patina look. Because of it’s really high price tag, marble is not often seen on the countertops of whole kitchens. To get the luxurious look, I suggest using it on an island or inset at a baking centre. Marble requires constant looking after, as it easily stains. Some new sealers retard staining.

Pros: waterproof; heatproof; beautiful.

Cons: expensive; porous; stains easily unless professionally sealed; can scratch; may need resealing every so often.

Concrete Counters

Concrete Countertops

If you have countertops in unusual shapes, concrete may be a good choice, as they can be cast right in your kitchen.

Pros: heat and scratch resistant; can be colour-tinted; looks exotic and unusual; new treatments take care of cracking; additives reduce the ability for stains to soak in; new finishes are more decorative.

Cons: mid to high range on cost due to custom work; cracking is possible; can look somewhat industrial; porous but can be sealed.

Pulls, Cabinet Hardware

Cup-style drawer pulls, such as those that might have been found in an old-fashioned general store, lend an extra dash of period flavour to your cottage kitchen. Choose a finish with patina, such as oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel. Keep cabinets light and play them up with old-fashioned freezer handles or large wooden knobs. Hardware finishes such as oiled or antique bronze, or even copper complete your millwork.

Open Shelving

Not so long ago, kitchens didn’t have the banks of upper cabinetry that are standard in most homes now. What they had instead was open shelving whitewashed or painted a light colour, with stacks of plates and bowls, tins of dry goods and baskets of fruits and vestibules. And in cottage interiors, what went before is still good today, although nowadays the look is as much fancy as it is useful. Open shelving in Cottage kitchens often goes right on up to the ceiling. Plate racks held up with brackets or corbels express the cottage style. Keep them simple but majestic in manner and look. The open shelves give a fitting place to display your china and antiques, collectables or every day dishes.

Beadboard was often used on walls as wainscoting and it still works well as backing for open shelving.

Needless to say open shelves are not for the for ever topsy-turvy. Dish ware such as ironstone, creamware or basic white porcelain, make ideal additions on your open shelves.

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In your gjConstructs designed home, you live in a world of beauty… beauty that is achieved by grace and line, skillful combining of materials and harmonious blending of colours. “Simple Elegance” is the expression used by customers in describing first impressions their gjConstructs designed home.

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