Add a dash of spice and style to your kitchen

(BPT) – In today’s homes, kitchens serve a multitude of purposes beyond being a space to whip up a meal. They’re the heart of your home; the command center; the family gathering spot. So it’s no wonder why kitchens are where homeowners invest their renovation budget and why homebuyers pay a premium for an updated look. And savvy design professionals agree, spicing up your kitchen with stylish, timeless and natural materials – like cypress – is a recipe for success.

Laying it out

Planning a new or remodeled kitchen can be an exciting, yet overwhelming time. Designer Erika Powell from Urban Grace Interiors in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, says making the process less stressful boils down to ensuring the layout meets your needs.

‘When starting a project, we first like to sit down with our clients in order to get to know them and how they will be using their kitchen,’ she says. ‘If an architect is involved, we also like to work hand-in-hand with them so that any overarching architectural vision they may have is included in the interior design as well.’

Nowadays, homeowners are mostly looking for open concept floorplans with kitchens that open up to living and dining rooms. And because there’s less available wall space, there are fewer upper cabinets. To compensate, modern kitchen layouts feature expansive islands with seating and storage, a pantry for canned and dry goods, and a butler pantry to hide away less frequently used items.

‘Once we determine the layout, then we get to work on selecting building products and finishes,’ Powell says. ‘While there is a wide range of products to choose from, our style focuses on fine materials and classic design elements. Being near the beach, our clients gravitate toward light and natural materials – and products like real wood are just more beautiful. A wood like cypress is stable and durable with unique charm. It’s a fixture in many of our kitchen projects.’

Deciding on cabinets

When it comes to choosing cabinetry, architect Ben Patterson from Bossier City, Louisiana, says it doesn’t take long to notice the difference between cabinetry that’s built with solid wood and what you can find at the big box stores.

‘In my experience, homeowners value the natural character and quality of solid wood cabinets,’ he says. ‘I’m a full-service architect and usually design custom cabinets for the projects I work on. And I like working with local materials, so my cabinet designs usually have a cypress face with a birch box.’

Selecting a finish can be tricky, but Patterson says trends come and go. ‘Painted cabinets seem to be all the rage these days, but a natural wood finish is tasteful and timeless,’ he adds. ‘And that’s another reason I love cypress. Whether new growth, old growth, sinker, or pecky, cypress is simply beautiful.’

Topping it off

If your kitchen feels a little bland, luxury homebuilder Matt Cain from Dallas-based Tatum Brown Custom Homes says what’s overhead is often overlooked.

‘In kitchens, we typically install a wood plank ceiling treatment to add visual texture and aesthetic warmth,’ he says. ‘There are a lot of materials to work with, but I prefer cypress – especially pecky cypress – because it offers such a specific look and homeowners just fall in love with it. In fact, I’ve never painted a cypress ceiling; it’s too beautiful to cover up.’

For more ideas on how to add some spice and style to your kitchen, visit