A few weeks ago I started a blog series on countertop materials and talked about marble and its pros and cons. Today, it’s time for another favorite – the butcher block. The butcher block, or butcher’s block, is a type of material engineered out of strips of wood laminated (glued) together to form large slabs. A popular trend in kitchen design, butcher blocks have been around for centuries and were used as a chopping surface in meat processing plants and most butcher shops.

There is something very beautiful about butcher block countertops. They feel warm and rustic, and are a great way to tone down the formality of more precious stones, like marble or granite when combined. This gorgeous kitchen below designed by Rita Konig is the perfect example. I tried to cover the island top and see if I like the kitchen just as much without it. The answer is no. The all-white walls and cabinets with the marble countertops look beautiful but slightly cold. How much better it is all warmed up with that vintage block?

Cafe Design | Butcher Block 8

Rita König 

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… the highs and the lows. Homeowners who at one point or another have gone through a kitchen renovation know that choosing the right countertop material is a major decision. A decision that will affect the entire look, feel and functionality of your kitchen, not to mention your budget!

The good news is that the choices available out there are endless.  From 100% naturally occurring stones like granite and marble, to engineered stones like quartz produced in a variety of colors and finishes, to wood, concrete, steel, even laminates – there is something for any need and budget. So I thought that it would be helpful for you (and fun for me) to start a blog series on countertops and their distinctive pros and cons.

So here goes, marble first. My absolute favorite. One of the most beautiful materials known to mankind, marble is a symbol of classic elegance and luxury. It may come with a higher price tag but it will add a lot of equity to your home. Marble has been used for millennia in all decorative arts. Michelangelo’s David is carved in Carrara marble. Marble is soft enough to be carved yet resilient to cracking and shattering, which makes it the perfect material for statuary. Marble was also loved by the Ancient Romans and Greeks, who used it in masonry and in the construction of temples and official buildings.

Fast forward a few thousand years and marble still fascinates many. In contemporary interior design, it is most used in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as a flooring material in formal interiors.

Cafe Design | Marble 21

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Most fashion and interior trends come and go. The majority of new ‘’it’’ elements are temporary and vanish faster than many of us can catch on. There are a few however that become classic staples – pieces that one would wear or decorate with just as easily five years from now. One such interior trend that caught our attention was (and still is!) the zebra hide. It has been overused and abused by many, debated upon, loved or hated but one thing is for sure, it stirs up strong reactions! My husband and I don’t disagree on many things, but zebra hides (any natural hides, really) are one of those things (and the reason why we still don’t have one in our home!). I find that most people either adore it or completely hate it. Which team are you?

Cafe Design | Zebra Hide 6

Wendy Labrum 

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Happy Friday, friends! It’s been a fun week in our little prairie town, the temps are cooling, summer is slowly fading away and we’re enjoying quieter days, stretching time. Also, next week we start kindergarten and we’re still trying to figure it all out, wondering how did this happen?! (So not ready, lol!!!)

One of this week’s highlights, design-wise, was the launch of Schumacher’s latest fabric collection – a collaboration with the fashion world powerhouse – Vogue! Fashion and interiors have forever been organically connected, a passion for one usually accompanies the love for the other so it’s no wonder this collection is absolutely beautiful…

Developed by Dara Caponigro, Schumacher’s Creative Director and her team, along with Hamish Bowles – Vogue’s International Editor at Large, this collection is unique in that it is inspired by some of the most iconic fashion and design tastemakers of the century – Rachel (Bunny) Mellon, Gloria and Mariga Guiness, Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton, Nancy Slim Keith, Millicent Rogers, Mona von Bismarck, Pauline de Rothschild, Talitha Getty to name just a few. Each of the 17 designs is available in two to four color ways, fabric and wallpaper and I can’t wait to use these beauties in my projects!!!

Cafe Design | Blue

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Like I said before, social media is not only a great way to connect with others who share similar interests (which I LOVE!) but a wonderful source of inspiration as well. I can lose myself for hours on Pinterest and Instagram has become my favorite scroll. In fact, I can’t even imagine designing without the visual exposure that the internet has opened us up to. Some of the most beautiful homes, art and design knowledge are only a Google search away.

So for today’s easy Friday post, I want to show you some of my favorite images from my many social feeds as well as some independent searches on the works of Yves Klein and Henri Matisse.

It is all about blue and greens for me this week, like almost every other week. I’ve been studying cottage gardens and the play between colors, texture and ways of achieving bloom-y flower beds throughout the seasons. I’ve been pinning surprisingly many dining rooms, hydrangeas and picket fences. I’ve been admiring John Stefanidis’ Greek island villa on Patmos, a sea of calming blues and whites. Fashion was also at the top of my list, as I’m always looking for ways to simplify my wardrobe. Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate comfort above all and do my best to make the appropriate wardrobe decisions.

Cafe Design | Friday Favorites

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