Warm Up to Walnut: Add Character with this Unique Wood

Mid Century Modern Walnut Stained Kitchen with IslandWould you be able to identify walnut in a hardwood lineup? It’s okay if walnut is somewhat unfamiliar to you, but once you learn more about this wood, it may quickly become a favorite.

“Wood species are often chosen for their color and grain variances, as well as how their overall appearance changes with age,” says Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD.

Walnut is a beautiful, naturally warm wood in hues of brown, red and gold offering a distinctive grain pattern that has gained a loyal following of fans. “Walnut has a warm undertone; and over time it lightens somewhat while still highlighting the grain,” notes Laura.

walnut cabinetry and wall shelves in modern laundry room Walnut is becoming a top choice for several reasons. “So many people love the modern look but don’t want it to appear cold. Walnut is a rich, warm wood that invites a cozy feel to the modern aesthetic,” says Laura. “Walnut also works well in modern mid-century looks that have continued to increase in popularity.”

The grain pattern of walnut is so interesting on its own, it’s perfect for a flat style door that you so commonly find in more modern applications. The uninterrupted wood grain pattern can really shine on a simple slab door.

There are some considerations to be aware of before selecting walnut for your project. Before choosing this wood for your home, Laura reminds us, “Walnut will shift in color as it ages, so you should understand that if you get a sample of a new door, it will look different in another year or so. Being okay with that change is important before making that final decision on walnut.”  If you want to minimize the appearance of aging on your walnut doors or cabinets, choosing a tinted stain can keep the coloring more consistent with time.

pass through above half wall in chicago condo kitchen Walnut is a luxury wood, since these hardwood trees are slow growing, making them more of a rarity, but we’ve found that lovers of walnut are more than happy to work the cost in to their project to get the unique look they adore.

If you are ready to discuss your remodeling project, whether walnut is an option or not, set up an appointment with Laura. She’d be happy to help your vision come to life. If you’re still deciding on a look and feel, find some inspiration from our galleries on Instagram and Facebook.

Flat panel cabinets in a medium wood tone stain and a contrasting light colored countertopTraditional hutch in walnut woodWalnut slab cabinets and shaker style white kitchen cabinets


Once in a Blue Mudroom: Adding Color in Small Spaces

Mudroom with blue painted cubbiesMost people play it safe when it comes to adding color to a room. But let’s be honest, how many variations of white, cream, and beige can you use without it looking tired? Normandy Designer Jackie Jensen says if you want to dip your toe in the color pool, start with blue in your mudroom.

“If you’re thinking about adding color, start small,” Jackie suggests. An entire kitchen painted in a bold color, for instance, can be overwhelming, but your mudroom, which is really just a pass-through, is a safe way to introduce color.

Mudrooms are generally only used by your family to dump their dusty ball mitts, kick off muddy shoes, and store gardening tools. It’s a workhorse of a room. Why not make it look bright and pretty?

“Since mudrooms are usually adjacent to kitchens, but closed off, and they can handle a bolder color, like blue,” Jackie says.

Mudroom with cubbies and a space for a dog crate

Why the color blue, you may ask? Blue is a perennial favorite. “We are naturally drawn to the color blue because of its profound use in nature—just look at the sky and oceans,” Jackie says. Blue is a soft, soothing color and pairs nicely with neutrals, such as grays, creams and taupes. Blue also complements both cool and warm finishes of hardware like brass, silver, chrome, and gold.

“The beautiful benefit to blue in your mudroom is that it pairs nicely with wood tones, making it easy to mix and match stain and paint in different areas,” Jackie says. Carpenter-built mudrooms, where the cabinetry is painted in your home after they are installed, are ideal. “Keep in mind that painted surfaces are more delicate and can get dinged up more easily, so you want to be thoughtful about which areas are painted versus stained,” cautions Jackie.

blue painted mudroom with hooks, shelves, cabinets and cubbies

Stain is the way to go, especially on mudroom benches, which get a lot of wear and tear with boots, bags, and sporting equipment being tossed around. So, if you’re looking for low maintenance, think about mixing and matching paint with stain.

“Blue is also lovely on tiled floors, walls, cubbies, or even a single door in a small space,” Jackie adds.

If there’s ever a place to play with color, mudrooms are a great testing ground. You can get a good sense of gauging your tolerance for all over color.

Would you consider adding a little color to your next remodeling project? Contact Jackie to discuss your ideas and glean her expert advice. Be sure to check us out on Instagram and Facebook to see examples of how we’ve helped our clients create new spaces they love.


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