Hey, it’s Doug, I hope everyone is doing well today. Having grown up in the 80’s, I have to admit the idea of using brass in an interior doesn’t immediately appeal to me. It seems that every renovation project I’ve completed for the past few years we’ve removed brass fixtures and fittings and replaced them with nickel or bronze. Lately, brass is making a comeback, though thankfully in a modified form from the shininess that defined the finish 25 years ago.
Unlacquered brass lacks the slick top layer that keeps the brass finish of the 1980’s looking bright forever. Instead, unlacquered brass weathers over time and takes on a beautiful and warm patina. The first time I was exposed to this finish was at a client’s suggestion a couple of years ago. When we were designing the architectural interiors for the 11 Bonita project, our client kept insisting on “living finishes” which I was all for — until he asked for brass! After some convincing I came around to his vision of brass faucets and door hardware that would weather naturally over time — with more tarnish in the areas that were touched the most and bits of shininess left around the edges.
The potfiller above the Lacanche Sully range in the 11 Bonita kitchen is of unlacquered brass. I had the rivets on the custom steel rangehood we designed made from unlacquered brass as well to accentuate the detail. Our client ordered the range with unlacquered knobs and pulls as well to complete the look.
You can see more unlacquered brass in the Pantry this same home — this time on the bridge faucet at the sink. [photos by Colleen Duffley]
I mentioned last week in our post about Hamilton Sinkler’s return air grill that I specified for a home here in Mountain Brook we’re helping to renovate, that we were also replacing door hardware throughout the home. The original 1920’s hardware is unlacquered brass and thankfully we’re able to replicate this finish for the replacement knobs we’ve selected. Sometimes when the finish can’t be readily acquired, our very talented friends at Brandino Brass will have standard brass fixtures ‘dipped’ to strip the top layer of the finish away.
Speaking of unlacquered brass door hardware, check out this beautiful interior set–the Coleman from Rejuvenation. Imagine how good it would look after a couple of years’ worth of use.
Waterworks has recently debuted a new collection called Henry and there are some wonderful unlacquered brass fixtures available in it.
Isn’t that good looking? Besides the finish, this collection is such a great blend of tradition and clean lines.
Construction is about to begin on a bar that we designed in Chattanooga…we’ve designed an unlacquered brass shelving system which will run along the back bar and hold bottles of liquor. It fits perfectly with the warm vintage feel we’re creating for this project — we’ll be sure to share photos of this feature when it’s installed.
So what do you think? Are you ready to embrace brass again–albeit in a different feel from the slick look of the 80’s–or is it too soon for you to go back to the look? We always love hearing what you think.