If you want a countertop that has a warm, soft, and natural look, think about butcher block.  This traditional surface has a few new twists.  Once though of as only hard maple, butcher block is available in many domestic and exotic hardwoods as well. 

Butcher-block is a natural countertop excellent for chopping and preparing food. Even if there are a scratch or two from knives used in the kitchen, it will add to the eclectic look of the tabletop. However, if not careful, butcher-block can be easily damage by standing water, spills that are not cleaned properly, and hot pots and pans. Since butcher-block is a porous material, it is important that you seal all wood surfaces with mineral oil or a similar protectant on a yearly basis. Additionally, wood should be sanded down and refinished every ten to twenty years, depending on the user traffic.

Even though butcher-block is an excellent surface for chefs needing prep and cut food, the surface is not as durable as natural stones such as marble and granite and does require a certain amount of maintenance. Per square foot, you can expect to pay around $40 to $150, depending on the style and type of wood used.

If you are willing to spend the time and energy to upkeep your butcher-block surfaces, they can be a beautiful addition to your home or office!