Brass is the metal of the moment, turning up in more than finishes on hardware, furniture legs and lighting. Think textiles, walls and rugs. The gold tones found in brass "amplify the chic factor in rooms, ranging from elegant dining rooms to romantically inspired bedrooms," says Head of the Harbor interior designer Deborah Martin.
Brass can be paired with crisp whites or soft neutrals to achieve a touch of elegance. When mixed with deeply saturated hues like chocolate, gray and purple, it can "create a color palette that is nothing short of decadently luxurious," she says.
NOT YOUR GRANNY'S BRASS
Today's brass is not your "fuddy-duddy grandma's brass" so prevalent in the '90s, says Huntington Station designer Beth Donner. Brass is now being used for "glamorous touches" in such places as a Southampton bedroom Donner designed where a subtle version accents a bed, a chair and lamps.
Brass goes with the current "Art Deco vibe" and can look dramatic with black, Donner says. Though she and other designers have been working with it for the past year or so, "people are seeing it in magazines and are getting used to it," so demand is escalating.
Huntington interior designer Diane Guariglia, the principal of Dyfari Interiors, has designed a line of brass-based furniture that can be custom-ordered. The 12-piece "transitional" collection includes a bed inlaid with brass on the headboard, footboard and posts, bedside table, dining table and chairs, media unit and glass-topped coffee table with a brass trelliswork base.
NEW TECHNOLOGY ADDS OPTIONS
Guariglia credits technology with allowing all sorts of new design possibilities. Take tiles, for instance. "There's now equipment that can water-jet a brass insert into tile," she says. "You couldn't have done that in the past, or it was costly."
Phillips Collection, a North Carolina furnishings manufacturing firm formerly located in Port Washington and known for its metal products, from wall hangings to table bases, has also taken advantage of new technologies. The company is making many of its products in brass, particularly in a new collection, Ohm Sculpture, being introduced in April. "We see an industrywide shift toward warmer tones," says company vice president Jason Phillips. While in the past the trend was for "glitzy brilliant finishes," he says he now sees a move toward "understated elegance," with rose gold tones, achieved by hand-rubbing brass for an "antique feel." This warmer look also better complements the deep brown woods that are now in vogue.
A HOT LOOK FOR CABINETRY
In a Lloyd Harbor kitchen, Huntington designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd just installed a duo of large pendants made of brushed brass, "a more current finish," according to the firm's design director Beth Haridopolos. "It's very hot in kitchen cabinetry, especially in holds and knobs." Putting such hardware on cabinetry can update a kitchen, she says, adding a touch of "sparkle." She says she is also starting to see counter stools, so common in chrome, bronze and wood, now showing up in brass.
Guariglia just designed the interior of a house in Kings Point where brass is in abundance -- on the graceful cabriole legs of a powder room vanity and on the chandelier.