Few wood species have the character and warmth of walnut. Its golden, chocolatey tones have soothed and enchanted people for thousands of years.
Two species of walnut are grown commercially: the common walnut and Eastern Black Walnut. Common walnut is also called English walnut, but despite its name, it's native to Persia. Grown primarily for nuts, its wood is important too. The Eastern Black Walnut is native to North America, and it's from this tree that most furniture, cabinetry, flooring and molding is made. Both species are grown all over the world now, and their appeal is universal.
Natural walnut color ranges from the creamy hue of its sapwood to the brownish black of its heartwood. When it's dried in a kiln, it takes on a more uniform brown color. When it's left to air dry, it turns a purpley brown. Like all woods, walnut's beauty comes from its variability. It's a very dense, very hard wood that manages to deflect attention as quickly as it draws it.
This is one of the most stunning staircase landings I've ever seen. This photograph shows the variability of natural walnut perfectly. It's dark without being monolithic and that's why it looks so fantastic with white.
Whether it's true or not, walnut always says "you've arrived"—but it does so quietly. This fireplace surround and shelf is a fantastic example of the furniture maker's art. The marquetry adds a classic touch, and the informal crown molding keep this exquisite woodwork from being too buttoned down.
This walnut cabinetry's had a dark stain applied to it. These darker stains even out the natural dark tones in the wood. Walnut's usually seen in pretty formal surroundings, but the purple accent wall plays well with the dark walnut here and lightens the mood considerably.
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