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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Down to Brass Tacks

A few weeks ago, I had a disappointing experience at an antiques store here in Charlotte, Southend Exchange.   I was browsing and asked the unfriendly owner about a pair of brass lamps, to which he responded (in a very rude way, as if to insult my taste), "Brass is so out of style.  No one wants it.  We can't give that stuff away fast enough." 

The lawyer in me started to argue with him that brass can be very stylish, but I decided just to leave the store (and blog about my bad experience, touche).  And hey, if he wants to "give that stuff away," it's fine by me!

But if I did argue with him, here are the cases that would support my argument:

You might hear "glass topped brass coffee table" and cringe.  But how perfectly glamorous is this brass coffee table in this living room?!  It's all about context.  In the wrong room, it could look outdated, but in this modern room, it is perfect.

Photo courtesy of Material Girls

Would you think "shell shaped brass sconces" could be stylish?  Yet they are so fabulous in this striped hallway.  Very Hollywood Regency!

You can't beat a brass lamp with a black shade.  A modern black shade is such an easy way to update a seemingly outdated brass lamp.

Kelly Wearstler might be the person to thank for the revival of brass.  She uses it throughout her designs, and it is so stylish and modern. 

A brass chandelier is the perfect accessory to warm up this House Beautiful dining room.  While a brass chandelier can seem outdated, once again, context is everything.  When you use it with a modern trellis rug and updated dining room chairs, it looks fabulous, even when the rest of the room is quite traditional.

House Beautiful

We are obsessed with this brass lamp and its accompanying brass shade.  Such a glamorous touch!

Photo courtesy of The Peak of Chic

Another Kelly Wearstler design...  We aren't in love with the wallpaper, but the brass light fixture, sunburst mirror, and bedside lamp bring just the right richness and warmth to this bedroom.

Kelly Wearstler Designs

1st Dibs has its finger on the pulse of what is stylish in home decor.  While most of its pieces are too rich for our blood, it is a fantastic source of inspiration.  Take, for example, this pair of brass lamps.  They are priced at $2,800 at 1st Dibs.  You could easily find a similar pair on Craigslist or eBay, add some drum shades (we like, and voila, 1st Dibs style at a fraction of the price.

For example, a quick eBay search yielded this pair of ginger jar brass lamps for $80.  Add some black or white shades, and you are good to go.  In fact, if you search a little more you can probably find a pair for even cheaper.

If you prefer to buy something new, this Art Nouveau Brass Table lamp is so elegant.  The lines are eyecatching, and the lotus flower styling is unlike anything we've seen elsewhere.

As we mentioned before, a perfect way to make brass modern is to add a brass shade. 

Pendant lights are all the rage.  We love the Moroccan details on this fixture- you really could use it to warm up any room!

A brass apothecary lamp, whether a floor lamp or table lamp, is a classic for any sitting room, library, or study. 

Brass isn't just for lamps!  1st Dibs has quite an assortment of brass occasional tables, like this brass-and-glass end table.  We would also love it with mirrors in place of the glass!

If you can't swing the 1st Dibs price, how about this gorgeous modern brass table from Jonathan Adler?  This is the perfect way to show off your fabulous collection of coffee table books (stay tuned for some exciting new additions to the MoS Store, like David Hicks's On Decoration- with Fabrics)!

Another perfect way to add brass into your home is with a brass bar cart. 

This 1st Dibs bar cart is beautiful, but the price is steep at $3,650.

So how about this eBay steal?!  I think I might even like it better than the 1st Dibs one!

So are you convinced?  Do you think brass can find a place in your home? 


Betsy said...

Great post! I definitely don't think brass should be written off. It's a classic, and as you said, can look very nice in many settings. Thanks for all the examples!

Alaina @ Live Creating Yourself said...

Loving all the images you posted! And the items you found. Exceeeept the Kelly Wearstler room. I just can't get myself to like her designs.


Chic Geek said...

Ugh what a horrible experience! I hate when that happens. I absolutely swore off a certain needlepoint store that was rude to me not once, but twice! Great post.

Miss Wendy said...

Talk about terrible customer service.. and I'm sorry but Brass is not so out of style. It can work when done right. Your photos are wonderful examples of that.

Roseanne said...

Girlfriend, I can't believe you were treated so rudely! He must not have heard of
Baldwin Brass or Virginia Metalcrafters ???
What does he know, right?
Enjoy reading your blog everyday, just makes me smile!

Lacquered Life said...

Brass is fabulous, whoever that salesperson was, he is out of style! And I absolutely love love love a brass lampshade. Great post.

sanctuaryhome said...

He is clearly out of touch. I have been noticing more and more brass used in design in the past few years. As with everything in design, metal finishes are cyclical. I think brass will at least not be "out" very soon.

Ysabella said...

I hope to find that one brass table lamp that will literally standout in my home. I just want it to be a centerpiece of my abode.

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