Are you shaking your head in disbelief at the title? Or are you like me, with old brass chandeliers and brass fixtures from 1985 in your house, making you unintentionally back in style? If you wait long enough, everything comes back in style, and that statement really rings true with brass these days.
However, this is not the brass of the 1980s, nor is it your grandmother’s brass. It is not as shiny, as overpowering, as … “brassy” as it used to be.
According to designer Lee Robinson, of Lee W. Robinson Company, brass is much more understated and luxurious than it used to be. Instead of appearing common, it is an element of the overall design of a room that shows just a hint of luxury. He does contend that many people have an initial negative reaction to the introduction of brass in their homes. Namely, this reaction stems from the fact that most people just finished extricating from their homes all of the remnant 1980s brass and replacing it with brushed nickel or stainless steel. The thought of putting brass back into their homes gives people visions of an Aaron Spelling show. Adjust your perspective on brass, ladies, and see all of the beauty it has to offer.
Robinson suggests treating brass as an accessory. Just like jewelry trends that have transitioned from sterling silver to now gold, the decor aesthetic has transitioned from stainless steel and nickel to brass. Decorating trends are going more reflective and shiny, with Lucite and brass coming to the forefront.
Robinson particularly recommends two designers of note, who are creating beautiful furniture now in brass or with brass accents. Mary McDonald has created a line for Chaddock Furniture and Celerie Kemble has created her own line for Henredon. Examples of their furniture are shown below.
The thing about brass is that, when done in a tasteful manner, it never goes out of style. Robinson references the late famed designer Albert Hadley, who designed Brooke Astor’s library 30 years ago. Her library is still the top tier of taste, with brass trim lining red-lacquered shelves throughout the library.
As with any decorating process, you can do as much or as little as you like. A slower, more gradual introduction might involve just doing some drawer pulls or other fixtures that are smaller, then maybe a pendant light or a coffee table. Here are some different inspirations on how to use brass in your home:
Fixtures are a good way to tiptoe into the brass scene. They’re an easy and relatively inexpensive way to accessorize and update a room.
Pendants and other light fixtures
Light fixtures can make a big statement, or they can offer a small, but just-as-impactful, hit of color in a room.
From bar stools to couches and club chairs, brass is appearing on all types of seating.
Dining tables, everyday tables, side tables and coffee tables have all become favorite brass accent targets for furniture designers.
Brass beds likely conjure up memories of a stay at grandmother’s house, or even your childhood bedroom. Now, they are minimal, sleek and more modern.
If you want a great focal point in your kitchen, think about a brass range hood. What was previously made from the popular stainless steel can be done in brass as well, or it can simply feature a brass lining, as shown below.
Cabinets and other large surfaces
Shelving, countertops and cabinets can be done in all brass. Lee Robinson mentions the hand-hammered brass cabinets shown below as something all the designers in New York are coveting.
Robinson contends that bathrooms are the most difficult place to use brass, because constant water and humidity are hard on it. When you see it, though, it’s usually just in fixtures or faucets … smaller places that are easier to maintain. Stainless steel is still the preferred metal of choice in a bathroom.
Is brass going to become the new stainless steel? Likely not, simply because a little goes a long way. Brass dishwashers and refrigerators don’t seem to be on the forefront of new design. So while people may not be as interested in covering their rooms in wall-to-wall brass, it is well-suited to accent pieces, fixtures, lights and other smaller decor items.
So yes, brass is back. But did it ever really leave in the first place?
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Happy January! Keep reading SB every day to learn about new fitness options, good local food or some great treasures at local businesses. Here’s to 2015!