Matlow: Bold and brassy finishes are in the spotlight
Brass is making a comeback in a big way. Just ask Tom Verwest, an interior designer with Scott Shuptrine Interiors in Royal Oak, who has seen a resurgence of the warm metal in the realm of home decor.
“Everything is cyclical. What’s old is new again; that’s what the brass movement is all about,” he says. “Besides, people are tired of silver.”
What’s surprising is that shiny brass is becoming more prevalent than it has been in the past. “Before, it was a little more burnished,” says the designer who believes in blending different finishes together.
“I have no problem mixing metals,” he says.
Today’s brass accents include mirrors and trays, while coffee tables and sofa tables are among the current furniture selections. “There’s a lot of glass with brass,” says Verwest.
In one client’s home, the designer incorporated a beautiful table with a brass base. “It makes a big splash when you walk in,” he says. “It looks like a beautiful piece of sculpture. It’s stunning.”
Brass is bound to get a reaction wherever it lands. “It brings a lot of glamour and a lot of glitz. It’s warm and it’s rich,” Verwest says.
“When people see it, they’re surprised because they’re not used to seeing brass again.”
The warm metal never left the category of lighting. “I don’t think brass lighting ever went out of style,” says Verwest. “It’s more typical in light fixtures than in other applications. That’s a case where you don’t mind mixing.”
Brass can also appear on distinctive details throughout the house, from faucets to knobs. “It has a reflective quality. If it’s polished, you can see your face in it,” he says. “There are a lot of bronzes, too.”
It’s a natural accent for the holiday season. “As far as Christmas decor, brass never went out of style. People like to do the tree in gold, and gold is a derivative of brass that never went out of favor,” says Verwest.
In fact, it’s bigger than it has been in some time. “Gold is making a huge comeback, too. It’s the whole gold family, not just brass.”
Brass can often be found in pieces from the past. Judy Frankel Antiques in Troy carries brass furniture, especially pieces with a mid-century feel, and decorative accessories, such as lidded pots shaped like pineapples that are extremely popular. “The bigger ones are often used as ice buckets,” says owner, Judy Frankel.
Architectural pieces, like those that belonged to moldings made from pressed brass, are another collectible along with simplistic mirrors with thin brass frames.
Some forms never lost their audience along the way. “Brass-colored mercury glass has always been in demand,” Frankel says.
A warm patina adds even more character. “On antiques, there’s almost never a finish on it, so it will age,” she says.
No matter what you select, brass adds warmth to your surroundings, says Frankel. “There’s something about brass. I like the mellowness of it.”
For information, go to scottshuptrine.com or judyfrankelantiques.com.
Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.