I guess you’ve heard? Brass is “back”. But was it ever really out?
Maybe this is a better way to say it: Shiny, lacquered, flimsy, Miami Vice-style brass was never a good idea so it fell out of fashion.. But luminous, unlacquered, solid, handsome brass has always been a classic, and thankfully the world remembered this, so it’s everywhere again! Whoop!!
The beauty of brass shines in its cool, strong notes compared to the bright qualities of gold, goldleaf, or copper. Its versatility allows it to work well with almost every other metal, and perform like the phenomenal team player it was meant to be.
Here are my three canons for making the most of brass:
1. Unlacquered brass is best. UNLACQUERED, I say! There is simply nothing quite so sophisticated as the hand-touched depth and glow of polished brass.
An instant and functional hit of unlacquered brass can easily be achieved with andirons. Vintage is best, and what’s better than usable art?!
At 21, I “inherited” andirons in my parent’s divorce. They’re from my mother’s side and I remember thinking, “What am I supposed to do with these?! I don’t even have a fireplace!” I lugged them through nine moves and three states, but now I really appreciate what I was given…. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
P.S. Once a really gross and lecherous older man asked me out on a date and I actually replied, “I can’t. I have to polish my andirons on Saturday nights.” True story.
2. Use brass faucets on the bar, butler’s pantry, or powder room, but rarely in the kitchen.
Why? Because kitchen faucets take a beating by getting cleaned constantly. Many clients grow upset when the brass ages quickly, and most don’t like the ‘worn’ look. Anything less than the most high-end brass faucet will age faster than the rest of your kitchen.
Polished chrome and nickel faucets take the workload so well, so why not leave brass to shine on the hardware or lighting. I adore the look of brass mixed with chrome, nickel and stainless steel . . .
which leads me to my third canon,
3. Mix brass with anything to add a stylish and functional hit wherever you can.
Light switches can instantly be elevated,
door knobs can become a brass hero in a room full of chrome,
and a front door can be instantly elevated with a coat of highest gloss paint and a brass knocker.
A metal that’s so lovely and utilitarian is rare, so take advantage of brass and make it timeless in your house! Below is a selection of some of my favorite brass pieces. For just a hint of brass, start small with elegant pulls or door hardware for touches of cool notes that aren’t overbearing. To up the ante, complete a room with an elegant chandelier or floor lamp for a stronger statement. Now, go bring brass “back”!