Rustic Meets Modern Convenience

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Designing, How-To

In many homes, the kitchen is the hub of the action—where we start and end our days, where families gather to reconnect over a meal, and where friends are sure to congregate at any gathering. In a log or timber frame home, it’s the natural place to marry a cozy rustic ambience with modern convenience and function.

“Trends are driven by a number of things including lifestyle and efficiency,” says Elle H-Millard, industry relations manager and trend specialist for the National Kitchen and Bath Association. In log and timber frame homes, a love of the outdoors and a preference for natural materials is often important to homeowners, and that is reflected in their design choices.

Whether you’re looking for the feel of an old farmhouse or an alpine chalet, or just want a hint of history in your décor, here are some great design trends that can deliver your dream kitchen with a rustic spin.

Barn Doors

Barn doors aren’t just for barns anymore! “Interior barn doors are incredibility popular in the kitchen and bath spaces as they are reminiscent of one’s childhood or being outdoors,” says H-Millard. As a bonus, they are universal design friendly. “There is great functionality with barn doors as they provide those with mobility issues less difficulty maneuvering around.” According to the NKBA 2017 Design Trends survey, 68 percent of designers are specifying barn doors for their clients.

Live-Edge Counters

Leaving materials as close to their natural state as possible affords a sense of bringing the outdoors inside. “I recently saw a kitchen designed with a custom wood slab with a live edge as a cantilevered countertop,” says H-Millard. “The grain of the wood provides warmth and a sense of being in the natural environment.”

The term “live edge” refers to the bark side of a piece of wood. The edge is not sawn straight, but instead retains the natural shape of the tree, giving it a stunning organic feel. Live-edge countertops can be more expensive, due to the length of time required for the slab to dry, but you’re guaranteed a one-of-a-kind piece. You can also leave the edges of granite, quartz, or marble counters raw and unpolished to showcase the natural beauty and variation in the stone.

Pioneer Log Homes of B.C./photo by Roger Wade

Reclaimed Materials

Consider using reclaimed materials to give your rustic kitchen a sense of history. Reclaimed materials like wood and tin are not only beautiful, they are eco-friendly as well, keeping used materials out of landfills. Whether you are using barn siding repurposed as countertops or a tin roof used to surround a kitchen island, each imperfection in reclaimed materials tells a story and lends character.


Polished concrete is growing in popularity for both counters and floors in kitchens (and bathrooms), and can give a rustic kitchen a modern industrial spin. It’s valued for its durability and affordability and is an ideal choice if you are installing radiant heat in your floors. If you think “gray” when you think about concrete, think again. Concrete installers are artists now and can acid-stain, paint and apply textures in designs that are limited only by your imagination. Best of all, when sealed properly concrete requires very little maintenance.

Farmhouse Sinks

Farmhouse sinks are a perennial favorite in rustic kitchens, but these days they go beyond porcelain. You can find a farmhouse sink to suit almost any design palette, including hammered copper, granite, marble, and even stainless steel for a more contemporary touch. Try contrasting a refined stone sink with a live edge countertop or a stone counter with a metal sink.

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

Copper Range Hoods

Copper range hoods remain popular because they give your kitchen an instant dose of old-world elegance. Custom copper range hoods are becoming more widely available, so you can design a unique piece that will serve as the centerpiece in your rustic kitchen. A common misperception is that copper will change color over time. In fact, most copper hood manufacturers have a range of tones and textures you can choose from, which they then coat to protect the color and ensure it doesn’t change over the years. Care is easy—just soap and water.

Brick and Brick Tiles

Exposed brick instantly takes you back in time, and there’s no better way to add texture that is a natural complement to log & timber construction. Try using warm red brick for an accent wall or painted bricks for a backsplash. You might also consider using brick-look tiles that share the natural beauty of bricks but are easier to wipe clean.

High-Tech Help

As homeowners are embracing technology as part of their lifestyle, home design trends are increasingly reflecting high-tech solutions, even in the most rustic décor. “Technology has evolved so quickly in kitchen appliances; many homeowners don’t realize the functionality available in the market,” says H-Millard. “Technology is making tedious tasks much more user friendly, such as preheating your oven while at work or while shopping at the grocery store, or viewing items in the refrigerator while not at home.” If you haven’t taken a close look at what’s available recently, you might be surprised by all the ways technology is being used in the kitchen to make life easier.