Ask the Designer

Brass… It’s Back

 

I’m about to say something I thought I would never say: Brass is back. Now before you grab the smelling salts, know that I’m not referring to the horrible polished brass from the 1980s and before—you know, the cheap, shiny fixtures that were a part of every home built before 1995. Today’s brass has matured and aged (along with the rest of us) in the last 20 years. New brass and gold finishes are warm, rich with patina, and a great compliment to both modern interiors as well as vintage settings. Those appearing now from manufacturers are more sophisticated and can bring a real POW of glamour and richness into your home without being garish or overdone.

By Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, LEED Green and Associate

Photos Courtesy of Global Views

Full PDF here.

 

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Now before you grab the smelling salts, know that I’m not referring to the horrible polished brass from the 1980s and before—you know, the cheap, shiny fixtures that were a part of every home built before 1995. Today’s brass has matured and aged (along with the rest of us) in the last 20 years. New brass and gold finishes are warm, rich with patina, and a great compliment to both modern interiors as well as vintage settings. Those appearing now from manufacturers are more sophisticated and can bring a real POW of glamour and richness into your home without being garish or overdone.

Does this mean the chrome, polish nickel, and brushed nickel finishes are now passé?  No—far from it. We are now seeing that these finishes can mingle and co-exist with the warmer tones of brass and gold.

Truthfully, I believe the new rebirth of warm metal tones has been spurred by the strong popularity in the last few years of cooler colors. With blue and green color schemes as well as the always-popular creams and whites, the use of cool metals like nickel and chrome can make a room too cold for many people. By injecting brass and gold metal accents into a space, you add warmth to the room.

I personally love the look of brass and gold with the cooler color palettes of turquoise, aquas, and other “spa” colors to add depth to the scheme. And brass truly does mix well with other finishes including brushed nickel and chrome. Many manufacturers are introducing new soft brass and gold fixtures for kitchens and baths that can mix with existing chrome and satin nickels. Lighting companies in particular are combining brass with other finishes to create exciting looks.

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In other rooms in your home, adding some brass or gold accents to your decorative accessories can makes a space feel comfortable and inviting. Consider adding an aged brass table into your room to break up the monotony of all wood. This will add a pleasing spark that only metal can deliver.

Brass is also particularly great if you love the look of a more vintage or retro style. Whereas using all chrome can become too modern, brass accents keep the warmth that reflects the design period of the 1960s and ‘70s. You can shop local vintage and consignment shops to find some wonderful pieces to add that retro touch to your home.

So, yes, brass is back. By using it to warm your interiors you can be both stylish and classic at the same time—and that is always a good thing.

 

Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, LEED GREEN ASSOCIATE is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, TN. Visit www.haskellinteriors.com.

 
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