It’s no secret that brass is back. From hardware to lighting and decorative accessories, this luxurious leaning metal has gained a firm foothold amongst design enthusiasts everywhere during the last 5 years. Regardless of which side of the fence you happen to stand on in regards to this trend, there can be no doubting the brass loving design sprawl that has taken place. It seems to have enamored everyone from your neo-trad trend setters to your vintage loving mid century connoisseurs. Those of you paying attention may have noticed that more permanent fixtures in the home have made their way onto the latest list of things to don a brassy finish.
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Given the somewhat close proximity of our last go around with this phenomenon, I must admit it’s not entirely surprising that this option hasn’t been leaping off the shelves in droves, just yet. Many of us are still fresh from the experience of ridding our homes of the last remaining vestiges of those 90’s builder grade fixtures and trimmings, with all the orangey gold shine you could hope for. Not to worry, this most recent and modern take on this recurring brass theme doesn’t have much in common with our last gold laden fling. In fact, they are hardly recognizable as being related when you take finish and context into account.
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That’s right — this go around hearkens back to the more Victorian variety of brass fixture adoration, with more muted, almost antique tones, and a definite nod to antiquity in terms of shape and style, yet with a decidedly modern manifestation of these traits. Many of the brands touting a brass finish for their fixture product lines have gone with a matte or brushed finish in similar fashion to how we have seen stainless or nickel most recently. It’s not as bright, certainly not as garish, and happens to have the absolutely modern added benefit of being much less apt to collect fingerprints and hard water stains.
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The modern accessibility and functionality of these pieces gets my vote right out of the gate, but is it risky to choose a definitive color for such a permanent fixture in your home? I suppose the shades of silver found in the abundance of stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel fixtures are more common today, are also a specific color, yet somehow over the last many years of society adopting this finish as a general standard, we have rendered this particular metallic a neutral. Will brass fixtures be the next neutral, and will they follow suit by expanding into high end appliances? Or is brass perhaps destined to be kept at arm’s length, and remain solely in the world of hardware and decor with merely a momentary dalliance into fixtures for the kitchen and bath?
Brass, walnut and glass, oh my! Just three simple ingredients and you have a modern coffee or side table that fits in with any decor. The sculptural Helix tables by Chris Hardy for Design Within Reach have an odd number of legs, so the gorgeous brass castings are easily seen from any angle. What do you think, would these classy tables work in your home?
Plus: Vern Yip’s Tips for Finding the Perfect Coffee or Side Table>>
It took me a long time to understand the allure of metallic home accessories. I’ve always been a silver girl myself, never going towards the glittery gold or brass hues, feeling they were a little to brash. However, over the last few years tones like gold, brass, copper and silver have exploded in home decor. I’ve finally come over to the metallic side of things, having my own little Kelly Wearstler moment at home. I’ve tuned into the ability of metallic hues to lift and energize a space. In my own beige interior, golden tones have been making an appearance to spice up the boring paint palette (beige was my landlord’s choice, not mine). And paired with today’s most exciting hues like navy blue, purple and pink, metallics can make a real design statement at home.
Here are some of my favorite metallic pieces. You can explore the rest on my Pinterest board.
I’m a fan of antique brass pieces for their vintage feel. The Meurice Mirror by Jonathan Adler is so sophisticated. The bamboo metal would look stunning against a dark black or navy wall.
Accessories like this Globo di Luce Pendant show how beautiful modern copper pieces can be. In a simple neutral interior, this bold light fixture is sure to illuminate with great flair.
Awesome guess, Heather, you’re spot on. This week’s “What the…?” is a streamlined-modern desk lamp. This item would make a sweet addition to any contemporary office design. (I love the two slits in the visor, so a hint of light escapes from the top.)
Now that you know brass it back, I guarantee you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Antique stores, craigslist and 1stdibs are all great places to score some on-trend brass accessories for your home or office.
And if you happen to find a mysterious item you think would make a great “What the…?”, be sure to email it to us at email@example.com.
Designing for a designer is like massaging a masseuse. You know they are here because you can do something for them that they can’t, but at the same time you are acutely aware that they can and will have strong opinions about how you do them. Or maybe it’s all in your head. Joy is a graphic designer and blogger and she’s kinda big time. But she was intensely sweet and incredibly grateful, making the whole process so much easier. So while i thought that i would be more self-conscious, i actually wasn’t. It’s probably because i LOVED that final room and both their styles, so it made me feel confident. (You’ll see later in the season how when i don’t love a particular style, it’s harder but in some ways more interesting. But to start, if you missed this show, you can still watch the whole episode of Single Malt Nouveau: Secrets From a Stylist).
The before: Cute, but not quite there.
I thought i had Joy pegged. She’s a graphic designer, super feminine, playful and on trend. She likes things that make her happy and, well yes, joyful. Bob is harder (the men are either super hard (picky because they know what they don’t like but can’t put a finger on what they do) or easy (as long as it’s comfy and looks put together, they’re happy). Bob wanted masculine, sleek, large scale and modern. He showed me the chrome and wood chair that he loves, and i took a lot of input from that. OK, so he loves chrome…i can too when it’s right. He loves modern shapes, i can too when it’s right. But besides that, it is so hard to find furniture and accessories that get men really excited.
See My 2 Cheery Afters