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Marion Kitchen Design

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Sapele Wood Countertops

We’ve seen a growing trend in recent years of clients choosing man-made countertops such as quartz in their remodeling projects.  Quartz is very durable and non-porous which makes it an easy pick for clients, but there are still lots of great natural products that can be just as beautiful and durable if properly cared for. 

We feature a lovely hutch here in our showroom that has a show-stopping sapele wood countertop.    It’s a true stand-out piece and its classic, refined look has been duplicated in many of our clients’ homes.   We often get questions about the species of wood as well as the durability of the countertops, and we are always excited to share this information!

We source our wood countertops from a company called CraftArt.  They are known for their remarkable craftsmanship and durability.  The specific wood that our hutch features is sapele (pronounced sah-pelly) and is considered an exotic wood.   It’s slightly harder than maple yet softer than hickory.  Its strength is comparable to oak.  Contrary to popular belief, sapele is actually NOT mahogany, but is extremely similar and from the same family.  It is actually more durable than true mahoganies.

Sapele’s grain is what makes it so unique – it is interlocked and changes directions in frequent, irregular intervals.  Prior to WWI, the principal demand for the wood came from Germany where it was used for decorative cabinetry.  It is currently one of Europe’s most desired woods in the making of doors, windows and hardwood flooring.  Sapele has a wide variety of applications and is popular as a decorative surface for high-grade furniture such as book cases and cabinetry.

The sapele tree grows in Africa – specifically from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward through the Congo to Uganda.  The trees grow approximately 100-150 feet tall with a width of 3-5 feet.

Some fun facts on sapele:  

·         It was found in the propeller blades of German Zeppelins

·         The rich wood is currently used in the interiors of Cadillacs

·         Sapele is used to make many types of musical instruments such as guitars, ukuleles and harps

The wooden countertops we specify from CraftArt are finished with Waterlox which consists of tung-oil that is modified with a phenolic resin to provide chemical and water resistance as well as making them food safe.  Because the wood pores are sealed, the countertops are extremely stain resistant and can be maintained with just a mild cleanser.

Visit CraftArts website for more FAQ’s and information or stop by our showroom to view our beautiful sapele countertop!

Blog content courtesy of our lovely Showroom Manager and Project Coordinator, Lauren Katz.

goodspeed bar
yarmouth hutch
parker bar top
hutch sapele

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Allen's Point Castle-Like Kitchen

I have just completed a project in Marion that began with a torn page from a magazine and the wish for a “castle-like” atmosphere. My Clients fell in love with the grand mantle piece in their inspiration photo (see below) and had to have it in their home. Here’s where my job begins! I needed to bring their dream kitchen, shown in the magazine photo, to life.

First step: Identification

I did a bit of research and the inspiration kitchen featured a deep stained cherry cabinetry with a heavily-detailed, traditional-style, raised panel door.  As for the countertop, the display kitchen appears to have used a green marble (which we all know is not rated for use in a kitchen, right?).

Second step: Product Selection

While touring the Client’s beautiful, waterfront home, I discovered that there were existing mahogany built-ins and architectural details in other areas of the home.  This guided me to the obvious choice of suggesting a richly stained mahogany (from our custom Plain & Fancy line) in the new kitchen to keep with the style of the home. The mahogany definitely lends the same “feel” as the cherry in the inspiration picture, but creates a uniqueness that sets their kitchen apart.  The clients and I also poured over a ba-zillion granite samples trying to find one that would create the same drama as the green marble, without the maintenance nightmare. We stumbled upon Kerala Green, which worked perfectly!

Third step: The Details

Creating a grand kitchen space is ALL about the details. For example, I custom designed the 7ft. mantle to imitate the design from the inspiration kitchen. This mantle is not only a show-stopper visually, but also discreetly houses the super-powerful ventilation system and pull-out spice storage. I also specified several custom hand carved decorative pieces (placed strategically throughout the kitchen), beveled glass cabinetry, paneled appliances, and beautifully curved countertops.

Finally: Voila!

A phenomenal space fit for any castle and (in my opinion) more breathtaking than the inspiration! Our clients are in the process of moving into their newly re-modeled home and we hope to visit them again for a professional photo shoot.  More photos to come!


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A Fabulous Alternative to Marble Countertops

Marble countertops... GORGEOUS!!! Marble countertops in a kitchen, not such a good idea. So many times I have clients come in and just completely fall in love with the look of marble. And, of course, I can't blame them. It is a beautiful natural stone. The colors and movement are exquisite. But, the maintenance and cautiousness that it takes to keep the stone looking up to its full potential is immense. Each time I have the countertop conversation with a client, I try to make one point as clear as I can. Marble is not for a home or a family that doesn't want to consciously have their countertop's "well-being" in mind at all times. (Please don't think I'm saying "no" to marble all together. In the right application, in the right home, it is superb!)

A few months ago I started a project in Marion for a couple with young kids. The wife adored Carera Marble and so badly wanted to make it the countertops in her kitchen. After having the above conversation, we decided the upkeep was not for her nor the rest of her family. With that said, we moved on to other options. In the end, she and her husband agreed on a phenomenal stone called White Zito. It has the graceful, organic movement of marble and the colors couldn't be more perfect. So, we were able to get the look she was after without having to stop all red wine and/or kool-aid drinking in and around the kitchen island! The kitchen was installed last month and my clients are thrilled!

For more articles about putting marble in your kitchen, I found the following website: . It seems to be super helpful and has a wealth of information! Or, stop in at Details to see me and our countertop sample room!


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