Saturday, January 29, 2011

So....Is Brass Coming Back?

"So, is brass coming back?", the contractor on this recent bathroom remodel asked me this past week. We were in the midst of a photo session and homeowner, contractor, photographer, and I were discussing the project and the materials I used. My answer was not a succinct yes or no, it was one of those, "It depends."

First I want to say that this photo above is just my shot with my Iphone. The pro shots will make that brass sing! Frankly, I don't think anything really goes "out", it just becomes so badly and cheaply repeated that we tire of it and shun it for a while.

Cheap, shiny brass faucets, hardware, and lighting used in a lot of homes built in the 1990's should never have happened anyway. Something about when a cheap product is bright and polished, it catches the eye and just screams, "Hey, look how cheap I am!"

Faceted plastic knobs also do a little screaming.

Quality, however, is not a trend and will never go out of style. The faucets and fixtures we used in that brass bathroom remodel will last as long as the homeowners will live there and have a timeless look that fits with their personality and style of the home.

Bathrooms and kitchens are a different type of design challenge than other rooms in the home. They must serve their functional purpose first and are therefore less decorated and furnished than other spaces. A metal finish is a key design statement in a bath and kitchen. Fixtures and hardware are the jewelry and play a more substantial role in the design. The bathroom above needed the definition that a dark bronze finish gave to the curves of the sconces and faucets.

The dark bronze in this bathroom provided a masculine look the client wanted and relates to the dark mahogany used for trimwork and cabinetry.

Dark bronze here works well with the dark emperador marble tops and adds interest, especially in the chandelier, to an otherwise neutral space.

The copper sink and faucet used in this kitchen remodel added lovely color and a French look that the homeowner desired.

The black faucet, sink, and hardware repeat the black in the tile backsplash and relate it to the black kitchen island in this space.

When I toured this home at the beginning of the job, I noticed all the brass. There were beautiful, heavy, antique brass candlesticks, chandeliers, and door hardware throughout. None of it was cheap and it spoke to the traditional feel and the warm, cozy atmosphere created there. I didn't want this bathroom to feel out of place just because brass wasn't "in" now. I chose an antique brass look because I thought it caught up with the other metal finishes and had the same subtle, warm feel that was the look of this home. It also enhanced the other finishes used, especially the onyx mosaic tile, with its warm undertones. Can you imagine if I'd gone with chrome? It would've all gone flat.

So, is brass coming back? I really think it depends. It depends on the homeowner, the home, the other finishes to be used, the overall design statement. What do you think?

If you would like help deciding what metal finishes would work best for your home, contact Aston Design Studio today!

If you have a design related question or need some advice on any aspect of interior design, e-mail me HERE. I might feature your question in a special Q and A blog post!


Shirley said...

Interesting Carla. I have always loved the sparkle and richness of brass so I am glad to see it used in bathrooms and as accent pieces such as candlesticks. I especially like it paired with aqua blue and other shades of blue. Your blog is great and always contains a variety of interesting subjects !! Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Carla,
I think you're right....
...I'm seeing it on coffee tables, candle holders and's showing up with lighter, brighter colors...let's hope it's here for a while

alison giese Interiors said...

This is such an honest assessment of a (sorta) trend. I guess anything done with taste and a look towards classicism will stand the test of time.

Kellie Collis said...

I'm loving brass! They've got that old world charm especially when the details were put together wonderfully. Have a gorgeous day, Kellie xx

The enchanted home said...

I am a fan of brass, always have been so hope its here to stay. I have seen it more than ever both at the NY gift show and the Paris Maison and Objet show...great blog. I am new and glad I found you!
Please stop by and visit my new blog about the building of our new dream home and my love for home decor and design!

Karen said...

Hi Carla, thanks for dropping by my blog. I've been scrolling through yours and loving it.

When I hear the word brass it can take me back to the '80's when shiny brass and glass tables were everywhere. I think you're absolutely right, it's the shininess that I don't love. I recently found two brass vases at a vintage store, not the shiny variety, and I love them.

quintessence said...

I love brass in a bathroom - as in the first. I did it in my formal powder room and also in the pantry. I hope it's making a comeback - I think it's a handsome timeless look.

Rashon Carraway said...

I certainly dont know if it is coming back, but I have loved brass before the trend ever returned. I have had brass in my collection for years. I am amazed at its power and its presence. I love everything about brass. Just enough to make a casual space a little more formal.

Great blog.

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Kathryn said...

This is the way a true designer should look at a project. What is the best product or look for an individual client, keeping in mind how to make it look up to date and timeless.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

jvw home said...

HI Carla,
My client loves the tile in this photo. Do you remember the resource name? I'd definitely give you the credit for the inspiration, on my design blog, if we use it!!
thanks so much!

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