How to Build a Butcher-Block Counter Island
This handsome and durable prep station is simple to build out of standard lumber or easy to find through kitchen retailers
If you're going for homey and cozy in your kitchen, skip the built-in cabinet-base island and instead make the central work area a furniturelike table with a butcher-block counter. Because these thick wood-slab tops have their edge or end grain exposed, they are stronger than wood laid on the flat. That means they resist warping and nicks better than laminate and almost as well as stone.
With this durability comes an old-fashioned warmth. The trend for wood and furniture in the kitchen is in full swing, and butcher-block islands mimicking 19th-century worktables are perfect for toning down the coldness of stone counters and metal appliances in modern cook spaces. You can bring this classic aesthetic to your kitchen by constructing a prep island from easy-to-buy materials or choosing one of the dozens of styles available through retailers and furniture makers. Whichever path you choose, you'll end up with an island that can be at the center of the cooking action and still take whatever you can dish out.