A kitchen remodel today can easily run into five figures. So it can be tempting to look for ways to cut corners on the remodel itself, or on the kitchen furniture, appliances and accessories that cap it off. But before you cut corners, keep in mind that kitchen upgrades and remodels are among the smartest investments a homeowner can make.
For decades, butcher block has been among the most popular counter and island top materials used in kitchen remodels, and it’s far and away the top pick for kitchen island tables, kitchen carts and cutting boards. Among butcher block manufacturers, none is as renowned as John Boos and Company. Their butcher block products tend to cost more than most, so here again you might be tempted to opt for a lesser brand in order to save a little. Here are some points to consider in deciding whether Boos butcher block is worth the premium.
By a wide margin, John Boos is the industry leader. They’ve had plenty of time to get it exactly right, seeing how they’ve been making butcher blocks since the late 1800s. Basically, Boos & Co. sets the standards for both the foodservice and residential markets. They make more than just butchers’ blocks and countertops, of course. Their butcher block kitchen island tables, carts and cutting boards have won the praise of professional chefs and home cooks alike, and have earned Boos a vast number of awards and celebrity chef endorsements.
In this business, getting it right requires excellence in three key areas: design, material inputs and craftsmanship. As the industry leader with over a century of experience, Boos knows the tastes and expectations of avid cooks and knows how to keep on top of style trends. They use only the finest North American hardwoods: Hard Rock Maple, American Cherry, Appalachian Red Oak and American Black Walnut harvested from well-managed forests – a resource that is sustainable, biodegradable and renewable. To ensure durability and longevity of their products, Boos even dries the wood to exacting standards in their own kilns. And while Boos makes good use of advances in manufacturing technology, the sophisticated machinery they use would be of little value without their highly-trained, seasoned operator-craftsmen.
In buying butcher block, as with anything else, it pretty much comes down to “you get what you pay for,” and high-quality design, materials and craftsmanship do not come cheap. If you’re still hesitant, but at all vain, then weigh the status of the John Boos name itself. It happens to be one of those iconic, American brands that shouts quality and connotes premium. So much so that many of the company’s products feature the Boos brand name emblazoned on them; not so much because of self-promotion, but because their consumers demand it. After all, if you drive a Lamborghini you want people to know it, right?
How is it that so many people are aware of the John Boos name anyway? Decades ago that wasn’t so much the case, but with our increasing interest in cooking and surging popularity of cooking shows on such food-centric networks as the Cooking Channel and Food Network, we’re all paying more attention to what’s in the kitchens of our favorite chefs and food personalities, as well as the kitchens of our friends and neighbors.
Finally, if you’re not persuaded by the vanity argument, let’s complete the circle by returning to the investment thesis. If you’re installing butcher block countertops, keep in mind that high quality counters will give you many years of usefulness and enjoyment, as well as a return on the investment when it comes time to sell your home. If the purchase you’re considering is a butcher block table, island, cart or cutting board, the same principle applies, only in this case you will likely take it with you if you move. Bottom line: you’re sure to get years and years of satisfying use from any John Boos product. And in the end, that’s how you should think about value: quality and longevity for the price.
Mark is the owner of Butcher Block Co., a leading online retailer of premium butcher block tables, kitchen islands, carts, countertops and
cutting boards manufactured by industry leaders John Boos & Co, Catskill Craftsmen, Home Styles and others.