May 2019

Lightening Up With White Oak 

Over the course of the past four years, we’ve used walnut in almost every application imaginable: flooring, cabinetry, consoles and dining tables, just to name a few. And it’s always beautiful.

Perhaps it’s taken a backseat to more conspicuous hardwoods like walnuts and maples over the last decade, but as of late, I’m finding myself more and more drawn to the classic and versatile white oak. 

Unsure if it’s an emerging trend or simply my fatigue with the commonplace, but on a recent trip to Belgium I began to take notice of this timeless species used in multiple applications.

After a cold January afternoon spent roaming the streets of Antwerp, I warmed up with the company of an Old Fashioned and the open fire in the lounge of The Hotel Julien.  Situated in two 16th century properties, the hotel has been lovingly restored, and much like it’s home Antwerp, it perfectly combines old and new. Perhaps this is why the choice of wide plank white oak flooring used in the hotel common spaces felt so appropriate- both forward thinking and classic. 


We’re gearing up for a new design project in the fall that is a home renovation project. While we’d originally specified walnut, I’ve now decided to reconsider. The lighter feel of white oak, along with the grain of the wood make for an ultra sophisticated look, while still feeling humble by nature. It’s especially nice with a white wall color palette—crisp and clean. Imagine these white oak floors finished in a clear polyurethane coat to replace the dark floors of past.


White oak has a timelessness to it that we associate with simplicity and strength, so I’m not hesitant to use this in design projects, confident that it will stand the test of time (and trend). 

To add an additional layer of insight, I recently asked Pat Blake, Founder of B-10, and an expert in his craft (specifically wood) for his thoughts on white oak:

“I have a strong love for white oak over almost anything else. White oak always feels honest to me - its grain profile and color are always so unique from one boar to the next.  It sands nicely with the option to raise the grain, if desired. It's rugged and strong as hell, but it can also be manipulated with stain and cereus better than most other species.”

For more white oak inspiration, visit our Pinterest board