french style country kitchen

There’s nothing quite like the wonderful smell of back-home food cooking in the kitchen. Whether you grew up in the country or would like to experience what a country-styled kitchen can bring to the table, there are several country kitchen design ideas that are sure to make you feel as though you’re walking into a true country kitchen.

One of the easiest ways to really start off the look correctly is to have a wood-themed kitchen. Although modern designs are simple and elegant, there’s just something about wooden cabinets, beautiful table tops and wicker baskets filled with fruits, jams and jellies that can set the heart right.

white wood oven country kitchen

Kitchen Ideas: Butcher Block Countertops

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I first came across a true butcher block counter top at a dear friend’s home. He had just installed the new countertop in his kitchen, and I marveled at how simple and beautiful it looked. It was a material I had not considered as being usable for kitchen counters, but here it was, and it looked and worked so well.

What is butcher block? Simply put, it is put together from straight cuts of wood which are fastened together into thick slabs with glue. The resulting block of wood is especially sturdy and provides a perfect work surface in a kitchen environment. Taken care of properly, butcher block will age beautifully as it’s used and will look more and more beautiful as it gets worn. The idea is that you can cut on it, as well, so your counters will have a very rustic, well-used and warm look.

If you decide to use butcher block for your kitchen counters, keep in mind that it’s important to use unsealed, oil-finished wood. The reason for this is that sealed countertops are not ideal for preparing food, and that would be completely counter-productive for what you’re going to be using it as.

I’ve collected a gallery of images to inspire you if you’re thinking of doing some remodeling in your kitchen and are interested in how this kind of counter top will look in your home.

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Unique and Amazing Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

backsplash with marble

Gone are the days of the plain wall behind the sink in the kitchen. The backsplash has become an absolute must for people redesigning their kitchens. The great news is, there are so many options out there for backsplash designs and so many materials that can be used to tile that area.

A backsplash serves a very practical purpose, they are there to protect kitchen walls because they create a mess and splatter-proof surface. Because there are so many options for colors and materials, your new backsplash can also make a wonderful design statement in your kitchen.

The materials you choose for your backsplash to enhance the wall space between the countertop and cabinets and above sink and the oven range. You should try and highlight the existing colors and theme of your kitchen, whether that is rustic or contemporary or the classic country kitchen.

I’ve collected a bunch of images from around the web to show you what options you have, and hopefully inspire you when it comes to picking out your new back splash!

You’ll find everything in this backsplash idea gallery, from glass tiles, to beautiful brushed steel, to the corks from wine bottles!

backsplash with marble

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Examples of Eco-Friendly Glass Countertops

Simple Ideas To Change Your Kitchen With Glass

Aside from being a recyclable product, glass is finding its way into many homes now as a countertop material for a number of reasons beyond its inate eco-friendliness! There are a lot of pros to using glass – some of which you may not even realize!  Glass is a cinch to keep clean because it is non-porous and super hygenic.  It doesn’t stain, so don’t fret when you leave merlot rings on it from glasses left out from the party the night before.

Glass is also a very strong material when it is specifically used for countertops, with some manufacturers even saying its as hard as granite. It can also take the heat, so don’t worry about putting that hot frying pan on it straight from the stovetop!

Glass Countertop - Brooks

Glass countertops in the kitchen or bathroom are not only eco-friendly and durable, they look absolutely gorgeous, giving your space an elegant and refined look that will last for years.

Five Tips to Help You Organize Your Pantry

organizing your pantry

Place Rarely Used Items Up High

This may seem obvious, but when many people first move into a home they are more concerned with getting unpacked than placing items on the shelves in the most organized fashion possible. When setting up your pantry, put items you only use once in awhile, such as the baking goods and tools that you only use around Christmas and Thanksgiving, on the very top shelf, and save the lower shelves for every day items.

Store Dry Goods in Square Containers

You will make better use of your pantry space if you transfer bags of rice, flour, and other dry goods into tightly sealed square containers which can be stacked on top of each other. Keep the containers with the goods you use most often on top so they are the easiest to get to. Square containers take up less space than large bags that lean up against each other, and putting clear labels on each container will ensure that you are never confused about what is what. Keeping dry goods in containers will also help them last longer and prevent infestation by bugs or mice.

Keep Spices on a Lazy Susan

If you love to cook, you probably keep a large variety of spices and herbs in your pantry. A good way of doing this is to put your spices on a revolving circular platform, also known as a “Lazy Susan.” A good Lazy Susan will save you a lot of time in getting to that rarely used yet ultra-tasty spice blend, since you won’t have to dig through a bunch of other bottles to find it in the back.

Place Heavier Canned Goods On The Bottom Shelf

A good place for canned goods is on the lower shelves, beneath the counter. This way, you can stack your cans on top of one another without worrying about them knocking over and rolling off the shelf. No one wants an avalanche of heavy canned goods to come crashing down on their head, so place these items down below and save the higher shelves for harmless items, such as bags of potato chips.

Place Perishable Items in Their Own Place

When your pantry is very full, it can become easy for perishable items to accidentally get pushed to the back and forgotten about. Although most perishable items are kept in the fridge, there are things like cookies, energy bars, and other items which may go stale if lost behind a wall of canned foods. Keeping perishable items in their own special place will ensure that nothing ever goes to waste.

What’s the Best Lighting For the Kitchen?

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The kitchen is the heart of the home. Besides a place where meals are prepared, the kitchen is central to many utilitarian activities. It’s also one of the most popular places in the home to entertain guests. People gather in the kitchen to mingle, nibble on food and relax during social gatherings. Kids work on their school projects on the kitchen counter, too. For these reasons, it is essential that the kitchen’s lighting is versatile.

Begin with the available natural light in the home’s kitchen. Effectively using natural light is an excellent way to reduce energy usage and brighten up the kitchen at the same time. Consider installing two or more large windows in the kitchen to allow daylight to pour into the home. Another way to let natural light into the kitchen is by installing a skylight. Skylights provide an open feel to the kitchen as well as letting in plenty of daylight. A less expensive alternative to a traditional skylight is a light tube. These tubes, or light pipes, are designed to transport light from one area to another by using advanced optics. Some light tubes even have a built-in shutter controlled by a traditional light switch.

Main kitchen lights are typically installed in panels above the center of the kitchen. Traditional florescent tubes or cold-cathode florescent lamps should be used due to their much greater efficiency over incandescent bulbs. Several color temperatures are available to suit personal tastes. Decorative panels are available to hide the main kitchen lamps and diffuse the light.

A separate light source above the kitchen sink should also be installed. Usually, a single lamp on its own switch is sufficient. This lamp’s color temperature should be warmer than the main kitchen lights to add contrast. Be sure that the sink’s light is very bright.

Accent lighting above the kitchen table and counter provide even more versatility. Lamps that hang down from the ceiling are ideal. The lamp shades offer another opportunity to add flare to the kitchen’s decor. These lamps should be configured on a dimmer switch with compatible bulbs to allow variation in their brightness.

Under-cabinet lighting adds the final touch to the kitchen’s lighting system. These lamps should be on two or three highly localized switches. Under-cabinet lights configured this way can throw light upon specific areas of the kitchen and pleasantly complete the kitchen’s lighting system.

Starfrit Eco-Chef Recycled Frying Pan

recycled frying pan

We love this Starfrit Eco-Chef Recycled Frying Pan! What a great idea for aluminum waste. The surface is made of ceramic powder which is 100% from natural source on top of 99% recycled aluminum. It has an easy to hold bamboo handle. It’s non-stick surface is durable and easy to clean and the recycled cookware’s satin finish brushed exterior with clear coating prevents stains.

Napa Kitchen Island Cart

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This Napa Kitchen Island Cart is the perfect addition for people who have an older model kitchen that has the space for an island, but you are looking for something more portable and more affordable. Kitchen islands increase working and food preparation real estate in your kitchen by at least double workable space. This fabulous kitchen island cart has two drawers, three storage shelves, a spice rack, towel bar, and a paper towel holder. It also features 4 casters for mobility when you want it and a sturdy cutting surface when you need it. The casters are robust and lockable, and it’s manufacture is solid wood with a natural finish.

Cuisinart Greenware Eco-Friendly Cookware

cuisinart greenware

Because of the Cuisinart Ceramica ceramic-based non-stick technology, your cookware will be petroleum free and is applied at a temperature one-half that of conventional non-sticks. Non-stick surface is also PTFE- and PFOA-free for healthier cooking. The aluminum pan construction provides superior heat conductivity which requires less energy to achieve desired cooking temperature. The riveted stainless stick handles stay cool on the stovetop and are made of 70% recycled stainless steel.

Alessi Michael Graves Coffee Press

alessi michael graves coffee press

This stainless steel modern coffee press is perfect for every host or hostess. The Alessi Michael Graves Coffee Press is both classic and functional. In a simply elegant stainless steel silver finish, this coffee maker will last you for many years! Also in this collection look for the Alessi Michael Graves MGMUG as a perfect compliment to the coffee press.