Mahogany or other wood countertops
I am beginning to gather ideas for a kitchen renovation that we will begin in a year or so. I grew up among older houses in the Boston area and my favorite kitchens are classic original kitchens from the Victorian through pre-war eras. My house is a modest house from the 1930s and has its original layout and most of its original detail intact (e.g. original white subway and hex tile in bathrooms, original wood shingles, original floors, doors and windows). My ideal would be a kitchen that looks like a butler's pantry: pale painted wood cabinets with some glass fronts, wood countertops. I'd love a big square zinc sink, but that may not be practical or affordable. I would like the kitchen to look as original to the house as possible--beautiful, timeless materials but nothing too grand or ostentatious. We're lucky that we already have hardwood floors in the kitchen.
I have in mind two particular wood countertops that I remember from friends' homes growing up (one was a house from the 1870s or so and one a butler's pantry from about 1910). When I look at pictures of counters online, mahogany is the closest thing.
My question is: despite my specific design tastes, we are a normal family with kids who does not want fussy or hard to maintain materials. I can live with some patina but not constant vigilance or high maintenance. Should I get the idea of wood countertops out of my head? Are they totally impractical? Would a mahogany counter treated with waterlox be a pain to maintain, or require impractical protective measures while doing food prep/washing dishes? Would it be unappealing for eventual resale? Cost is an issue as well, though our kitchen is quite small so there wouldn't be miles of counters.
I am a purist but also a realist. I realize that the materials I love most (wood, soapstone, marble) can also require the most work to keep looking nice. So I want to get my head screwed on straight before I get too carried away with my dreams.