Brass is Back, Baby!

I am a lover of polished brass.  There, I said it…right out loud!

I’m sure you’ve noticed, brass has been getting a bad rap over the last few years.  Its cousins chrome, nickel and oil-rubbed bronze have squeezed it out as the metal of favor. Now granted, I have seen some not-so-great brass in my days, the kind that looks lifeless and dull, or worse, pitted.  But I never really understood why quality brass, in particular, polished brass, came to be so vilified and despised.

My love of beautiful brass started when we were stationed in Charlottesville, VA while my husband was attending the JAG School (Judge Advocate General’s school)  in the early 80’s.

Judge Avocate General's School in Charlottesville, VA

We took trips to Colonial Williamsburg where beautiful brass candlesticks, lanterns,  lamps and sconces were on display everywhere.

Foundry at Colonial Williamsburg

Image from Colonial Williamsburg website

We even took a trip to the Baldwin Brass Factory Outlet where we saw brass items being made.  We were fresh out of college and didn’t have the money to buy any of the beautiful brass pieces we were seeing. The only thing I can remember buying in the Baldwin Brass Factory was a very tiny door knocker measuring around 2 1/2 inches by 4 inches and it was a second. First quality was just not in our budget back then.


Over the next 10-15 years we gradually collected a few quality brass pieces. Good brass was not cheap. The brass manufacturers producing the very best pieces back then were Virginia Metalcrafters and Baldwin. I poured over their catalogs and brochures for hours, carefully planning the pieces I would buy one day.

Virginia Metalcrafters Catalogs and brochures


For many years we had a great brass store named Abernathy’s in the heart of Buckhead in Atlanta. They sold both Virginia Metalcrafters and Baldwin Brass.  Any local folks remember Abernathys?

Occasionally, Abernathy’s would run a sale and the place would be absolutely mobbed. Think wedding dresses and the “running of the brides.” Ha! Okay, maybe not that bad. But seriously, you would think they were giving it away. Women flocked from everywhere, arriving early to get brass candlesticks on sale for 25% off before they were all gone. Can you imagine that happening today, a store selling nothing but brass crawling with folks like an Apple store with a new iPhone?

I was so excited when I was finally able to buy a few pieces of my own.



I took such good care of them, babying them over the years like they were gold instead of brass. I made sure to never use any cleaning or polishing chemicals while dusting them, only a soft, clean cloth.

Christmas Decorations on Double-Bonnet Secretary


To give you a little idea of what good brass cost back in 1994, this Virginia Metalcrafters Empire Torch Hurricane Sconce below…

Empire Torch Hurricane Sconce by Virginia Metacrafters Decorated for Christmas


…was $193 on sale.

Virginia Metalcrafters Empire Torch Hurricane Sconce


Since I initially furnished my home during the high-brass years, (not high in price but high in popularity) all this anti-brass sentiment over the last few years has left me puzzled and a little discouraged at times.  My love of brass has never wavered and I’ve never really understood why it was so disliked.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had folks suggest I paint the white and brass-accented chandelier over my breakfast table.  I remember the day I saw that chandelier in a home in Atlanta. I was so excited when I found one for my own breakfast room. Fast-forward a few years and several folks in RMS land (Rate My Space on HGTV’s website) were suggesting I paint it. Uh…that would be a, No!  Is there such a thing as decorating peer-pressure?  If not, let’s coin a new phrase because I do think it exists.

I like the nickel pulls I’ve seen on some kitchen cabinets. If I ever replace my kitchen cabinet knobs, I may consider a new light fixture/chandelier for the breakfast room.  I would like to replace my wicker furniture in this room.  I bought it before I added on the porch and I chose wicker to satisfy my white-wicker craving.  Now that I have a porch filled with white wicker, I wouldn’t mind something else for the breakfast room, although it does transition to the porch pretty well.  (Table Setting can be viewed here:  Spring Table Setting with Wedgewood.)

Spring or Summer Tablescape Table Setting with Wedgwood


Apparently, brass is on its way back.  Decorators seem to be falling in love with brass all over again. I’m afraid to say that too loudly, lest the decorating powers that be hear me and reverse this recent love-of-brass trend.

This weekend while on the Cathedral Tour of Homes in Atlanta, I saw two large, polished brass chandeliers prominently hanging in a large room in the “Inspiration Home.”  They were placed there by a young, talented designer who was standing there to greet us. As we entered the room, I heard another tour-goer express regret to him that she had replaced the same chandelier in her home a few years before.

I’m not sure when the brass-is-back revolution really began but the first sighting I came across was in June 2010 when Designer, Eddie Ross posted this wonderful thrift store find on his blog, here. The excitement in his “blog voice” was so apparent and so contagious. He was making zero apologies for buying a shiny brass and glass coffee table, he was celebrating it!

Brass and Glass Table


Here’s how the table looked in his gorgeous living room this past Christmas as pictured in Country Living magazine.  And notice the large brass lamp beside his sofa.

Eddie Ross's Home in Country Living


He has a fair amount of brass throughout his home, both polished and antiqued/aged.  You can take the full tour here at the Country Living site.

Eddie Ross's Home in Country Living


As you can tell in this photo taken back around Halloween, I do have silver/chrome accents in some rooms in my home.  I purchased a chrome/silver lamp to coordinate with the burnished silver knobs on the chest in the reading corner of the office.

Office Updates, Scratch-off Bucket List Map


Since the office furniture had silver hardware/pulls on all the drawers, I’m going in the direction of silver/chrome in this space. I’ll probably move the brass lamps back to the other rooms from whence I stole them, once I find replacement lamps I like.

White Upholstered Desk Chair for Home Office


Silver is my metal of choice for the dining room ever since I swapped the gold mirror I had in here for a Venetian glass mirror 15+ years ago.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Tablescape with Hunt Woodland Theme


The old dining room mirror ended up in my bedroom between the windows. I loved it too much to get rid of it.   I need to find a great picture or a grouping to go over the bed, don’t really need two mirrors in here.

Master Bedroom with Crystal Chandelier


Update added April 2015

Take heart brass lovers! Check out the cover of Southern Living magazine for March 2015. In the March issue, they featured the prettiest doors in Charleston, SC and gave all the details on how you can achieve the look for your door. Look what’s on the cover–a beautiful door with a polished brass doorknob, door knocker and mail slot. Use your polished brass with pride!

March 2015 Southern Living Magazine with Polished Brass on a Charleston Door


Have you held onto your brass over the years?  Or, if you’ve never purchased any brass pieces, do you think you will add some brass accents to your decor?

What do you think about the recent surge in using brass again?  Is it just another trend that will soon fall the way of so many others?  Or, is quality brass classic, timeless and always in style?

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  1. Barbara (WA) says

    Excellent questions! I, too, have noticed brass and gold metals showing up and have loved the warmth they bring. That said, we have some old victorian style lighting from the 80’s that looks so out of date. Not sure what to do with that. It’s a trick to not be stuck in a rut on one hand or to be too influenced by modern trends/keeping up. Especially when one is a certain age (and we’ve been in our home 25 years, married 39 years!). Mixed metals may be the way to go.

  2. I have kept some of my brass too . I still really like it in some areas and am glad it’s time has come again. Anytime I felt pressured to replace or paint it all…I’d visit your blog:) and sit tight.

  3. Hi Susan, I’m happy to say that my love of brass has never changed. Of course, as I live in a Georgian style house (and I would move into the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg if they would let me) it is most appropriate here! I am very tired of the “in/out” label on metals, colors and styles!! Stick with what you love and you will be happy, just as you are with your pretty chandelier. And my opinion on brass: Brass is classic and classy. Linda

  4. I think brass is timeless! I absolutely love it, I find it rich and warm and goes beautifully with everything. Not the cheap plated tubular brass of the 80’s and 90’s, but the solid, traditional brass that polishes up with a wonderful patina. I love it! I am glad it’s back so more people can enjoy it, but to me, it never left.

  5. Bad brass – you know the stuff – cheap, lightweight, or worse, the cranked out by the zillions brassy, gold colour, has always been in and out of fashion because, well, it was cheap and everywhere. The great stuff, as that which you splurged on and careful bought, will always be welcome. I still have and use a beautiful pair of Baldwin brass candlesticks that I received as a wedding gift. They dress up a table so nicely and are always beautiful. That aweful, poorly designed stuff from the 80’s, long gone. I love your brass, so beautiful. My sister has a gorgeous brass chandelier that is timeless. Great brass will always be that, much like great design and that wow catch of a coffee table. Beautiful, solid, well crafted pieces that add to a room will always be in fashion. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pieces (wish I had them!). Patty/BC

  6. I, too, am a lover of brass….always have been. Hubby and I love estate sales and since we live in a retirement area, I have found some great brass pieces and they were CHEAP. (Besides, no one else wanted them. Thank goodness!) Brass adds a sophistocation to your decor, don’t you think?

  7. Donna Duncan says

    I think brass is beautiful – antique brass items are so gorgeous & lovely. My 11 yr old daughter was just given a full size antique brass bed that was purchased in the late 70’s by my ex-mother-in-law at an auction & given to one of my older daughters when she was about 8 yrs old. She had that bed in her room until college & after college she moved it to a storage unit until she purchased a home of her own, about 5 yrs ago. She has recently married & is now having a baby this summer, and needed the space in her home for her new husband’s things & for the baby’s. The bed needs polished but it is still beautiful in it’s tarnished state!

  8. Darlene in Poulsbo,WA says

    I was delighted to read your post and see a fellow lover of brass. To me, brass and gold reflect a warm glow by candle light or in low light that I enjoy in the evening while watching TV. Silver can sparkle, but it looks best with black for contrast. Brass looks best to me with crystal or glass and many, many candles. Christmas needs brass. Valentines Day and Thanksgiving need brass. New Years and the 4th of July can have silver, and ‘Easter can be either. (The world according to Darlene, if you will.) I have a lot of beautiful Ethan Allen brass from my Early American life, and I have clung to it over the past 50 years. I mix it in with other things and love it still. I have a brass chandelier and I will not paint over it, either. I am so glad to see others who share my feelings. I have gold fixtures in both bathrooms and brass fixtures in all the rooms that have overhead lighting. I am pushing 80, and I don’t have forever left to live–so I’m surrounding myself with things that make me happy. Thank you so much for being another voice in the wilderness. LOL

  9. When we did our big reno a few years back, I switched all the door knobs to nickel and all the new bathrooms went from the gold of the 80s to the same matted nickel look. Even the knobs in our kitchen cabinets went the “new” way. That said, there are parts of this old painted lady that are still shiny gold leaf (the frieze in our formal dining and living rooms for example) and brass (the base of the waterford crystal lamps that I got as a wedding gift 30 years ago). The chandelier in the dining room is also brass and that’s how she’s staying! My mother brought that back for me as a first year anniversary gift all the way from Austria – I’m not about to spray paint it no matter how “brassy” it looks!

    So, going against all the trends, I kind of just do my own thing here on Lavender Hill. Kind of like that gray velvet camel back sofa in my living room that I bought when we got engaged… a couple of years ago, I was determined that gray was “out” and it had to go…. what do you know? Gray is back and I’m glad my hubby veto’ed getting rid of an Ethan Allen sofa in perfect condition just so I could change things up – lol!

    Thanks for giving us your take on brass. As much as I LOVE perusing the blogs and pinterest, sometimes it’s hard to try to “live up” to all the gorgeous homes I see. Then I try to take a deep breath and remember that the only person I need to keep up with are the crazy guys (hubby and sons) that I live with here on Lavender Hill!


  10. Great design is always in fashion, whether it is brass, silver, wrought iron, pewter or whatever!!! I love my brass chandy and will not change it no matter what style is ‘in’. My lamps are brass, china or pottery and I have some wonderful pieces in iron that are hand forged and I admire them for their authenticity and will not part with them. Stick with the classics I say!!! And mix it up…..its your home………

  11. I like brass in other people’s houses. Same goes for polished nickel…which the previous owner’s of this house were fond of.
    I don’t decorate my home for other people. Don’t get me wrong, I am ECSTATIC if people like what I do but I guess I am too set in my ways to allow other people to influence my choices.
    Your home is beautiful. I wouldn’t change a THING!



  12. I guess I’ve been seduced by Pottery Barn and the like b/c I got rid of most of my brass years ago. I really hated polishing. I only kept a few heavy candlesticks that had some kind of plating (?) that doesn’t tarnish. We had antique brass hardware too, but it just reminded me of the dark builder’s paneling so when the paneling was pulled down, out went the hardware. I’ve got several pieces of Baldwin, but it’s all pewter.

  13. I started reading your post (which was wonderful btw), but got all excited when I saw the JAG school. My dad was a JAG and we spent many years in and out of Charlottesville. We were there in the mid-80’s and it is where I graduated from HS. Thanks for bringing back the memories. I also remember saving up to get some Baldwin brass candlesticks when hubby and I were first married. And, I saved up to buy a Baldwin cut brass Christmas ornament for our Christmas tree for our 5th anniversary.

  14. I, too, fell in love with brass in Colonial Williamsburg. Baldwin Brass candlesticks were always on my wish list for my birthday, Mother’s Day, etc. I’m glad it’s making a “comeback!” Nate Berkus mentioned adding a “touch” of brass for warmth on one of his shows; then I noticed he was not alone. Really bugs me when a blogger calls brass “tacky,” and the picture they are showing is something I’m sure is Baldwin or Virginia Metal Crafters. Worse when they spray in green or turquoise!

  15. Helen Holshouser says

    I too love brass, always have and always will! Unfortunately , I have not always taken good care of my brass, and have had several wonderful pieces just stored away for years! I remember contemplating painting some very tall candlesticks, but thank heavens, I never did! I grew up in Richmond,Va, so went to Williamsburg fairly often. The brass always called to me! I’ve never been a good decorator, so sometimes the neglect was just that I confess, not because I was keeping up with other trends! I always worked, had children, volunteered in a million places, and helped take care of a sick inlaw who lived with us! Until retirement, from heart disease unfortunately, I never took time to slow down and think about my environment that much and what I liked! Aren’t I lucky to find your site and so many wonderful, inspirational ideas, now that I am interested in learning, and doing better! I am glad you love brass, I love it also! Helen

  16. I’m a lover of the shiny metals–gold, silver, brass, chrome. I would hope that one’s decorating metal of choice eventually is free of “fashion”–otherwise there will be a lot of new homeowners bemoaning their kitchens filled with stainless steel appliances from the Twenty-teens! But then what do I know–I also love natural woods and oak is my fav!

  17. Me too! That is why I went to every Goodwill to find some brass lamps last year for our bedroom.. I especially love it with black! 🙂

  18. Me too Susan. I’ve always loved brass, have kept it and still use it. In a few of the bathrooms as we remodel, I’ve changed to polished nickle but in the downstairs bath it is new brass. Traditional finished never go out of style, they may fade back a bit…but never gone for good. Yippeee!
    Happy Wednesday!

  19. I’ve loved brass forever as well. For I’ve always liked colonial decor and that means brass candlesticks!!! But, like you, in early married years, brass candlesticks were not in the budget!!! I am fortunate to own a couple of pairs of 1840s brass candlesticks that have a great patina as well as a new (and expensive) shiny brass one. We have brass chandeliers in our guest room, our breakfast room and our living room and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

  20. Good morning, Susan! I, too, have been wondering why brass fell so far out of favor! I’ve always loved it & I remember many years ago saving up so I could buy Baldwin picture frames. Like you, I also visited Williamsburg & adored their brass hurricanes, candlesticks, etc. When we built our house 12 years ago, I used brass chandeliers & pendants, brass door pulls, brass & silver bathroom fixtures. Imagine my dismay when I was told not long afterwards how out of style I was! I just shrugged my shoulders since we couldn’t afford to change everything & why should I anyway just to follow a fashion standard? I have come to realize that if I love something, even if it isn’t “in style” anymore, it’s OK. I am comfortable with tradition, so bring on my cherry & mahogany furniture, my Baldwn frame collection & my brass chandeliers. It’s my home. 🙂

  21. Well I’m glad someone else finally said it! I love it too. I almost made the mistake of painting all my brass door hardware to resemble the oil-rubbed bronze because “everyone was doing it”, but I couldn’t do it to my Virginia colonial home, brass they will stay. Have a good one Susan!
    Audrey @

  22. Ah, yes! Quality brass is timeless! I’m a mixed metals gal when it comes to decor — I inherited several beautiful brass pieces from my grandmother over the years and because they are so meaningful to me, they’ve been front in center in my home. Along with mercury glass, silver, and even a little nickel.
    Here’s hoping the brass train sticks around. It will, at least, in my home!
    xo Heidi

  23. I held on to my brass, the things that I received as wedding gifts especially. They were lovely and I couldn’t part with them! Have picked up a few nicer pieces at yard and estate sales, and use these things. Using these pieces gives a room an acquired over time look, and I like that look!

    Yesterday, Mama asked me if i liked the way she had done her mantel. It was so very pretty and included a brass tea pot!! Good brass is just classic to me, if properly cared for it remains pretty. Also, I would never paint the chandelier over the breakfast room table!!! It is so pretty and classic looking. Wondering how many people are going to regret painting some of the things that they are painting right now!

  24. Perhaps the question is — why allow trends and fads to affect what we choose to appreciate and use in our homes? A beautifully made item of good design principle is timeless. Period. I recall hearing last year that “brass is coming back” to which I thought, “when did it leave?”

  25. Hi Susan. It’s brass for me! I LOVE brass of all kinds. Even my kitchen faucet is a kind of huge gooseneck brass!
    There’s a brass door knocker, plant containers, candleholders, etc., in my house and yes, brass is going to STAY around here. It’s old-fashioned looking and beautiful and I’m NEVER going to get rid of it. And my chandy in the kitchen is BRASS. Loved your post and it gave me hope that if we ever sell this home, the new owners will buy it! Susan

  26. Decorator Peer Pressure- perfect! Yes I do think that exists. I took a picture at Pier 1 Imports last year of a whole display of golden/brass toned items. I was so excited to see it because I knew it meant that the warm tones of these colors were coming back! They didn’t exactly have shiny brass, but one thing leads to another! I even did a post about it last January called “Sticking to My Guns”
    I’m with you about the brass and I have stood my ground on it all these years. Yes there are some pretty ugly “builders grade” brass fixtures that landed in homes for many years that didn’t help but to give it a bad rap. I have some Baldwin brass candlesticks that are still in gorgeous shape.
    It does pay to spend a little more to have long lived classic pieces- your brass sconces are just that! I added some dark bronze here and there because it works easily with brass.
    I’ve always felt that you should decorate with things you like and not fall to the pressure of trends.
    Great post! Thanks for being brave enough to speak your mind about this topic!

  27. What I am reading is,”I loved this piece…” over and over. That is what makes your home beautiful!
    Good brass is truly lovely. I learned long ago to decorate with what I love!

  28. Nancy Crane says

    I do like brass but over the years have gotten rid of most of it…I have a few pieces left but honestly, I do hate to polish the stuff…not all has to be polished. I’ve updated my candle sconces and now wonder what I did with the brass ones I had hanging there??? I like the idea of painting over some of the stuff if it’s not good quality…but after reading some blogs, I have decided to bring out all of my “stuff” and begin using it more…rather than having my silver trays and bowls sitting in protectors over the years, I now use them year-round with stuff in them…I don’t like having to polish that either, but at least I can enjoy it more….guess I’ll have to hunt down the box in attic with all my brass candle sticks, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  29. I love this post! Thank you for standing up for brass! I’ve used brass all my life…and I like silver, copper, nickel…I mix them all up! I don’t put much stock in trends, nor listen to the decorating gurus. But it sure is nice to come here, take a look all around your home and declare…Susan gets it! 😉

  30. I just did a post that will be active tomorrow about Brass. I love it and always have. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pieces. Hugs, Marty

  31. I still have my brass. I’ve notice the dislike for it, too, and have put a few pieces away and have switched a few things around. Some pieces are still out. Like the planter in the post I did last night. It was just right there for all to see. I love Baldwin Brass, too. We actually selected Baldwin pieces for our towel racks, etc. in our three bathrooms when we built our home. I wanted something that I knew was going to last.

  32. I always thought it was sad to see people spray painting nice brass lamps and candleholders. Glad brass is coming back.

  33. I too am a Virginia Metal Crafters and Baldwin Brass lover. For me it’s all about the quality and there is nothing quite like those two manufacturers. I was devastated when Virginia Metal Crafters went under but I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to buy Williamsburg Pewter from them. I am a believer that one should surround themselves with the things that speak to them, that make them happy and not be dictated by trends. Baldwin Brass was the best and I still display it with pride.

  34. Anna Starner says

    I love the mixed metals we can use today. About the time I can afford to change out my hardware to the new in thing it was changing again. Made me think twice about changing it out and I didn’t. I have changed some but only what I wanted to, not to go with the trend but to make me happy. Most of the rooms in my home have mixed metals.
    So much easier to bargain hunt when you can go with what you love and others are changing out to stay “in style”. You can get some great pieces if you just look hard enough.

  35. I have an antique brass lamp that I am dying to get rid of, I have antique sconces from France that have never been hung because they are brass. I think the love and hate of brass comes and goes because one person says something and then like gossip, it comes and goes. Just like fashion. Everything we are seeing now has been around before. Classic style is what keeps you from redecorating with every new whim. Shamefully, I am not a lover of brass. But I don’t hate it, it just isn’t me. And then there is a porcelain and brass dining room lamp that I am dying to replace…
    Your brass pieces are pretty and they go with your style of home and your pretty pieces. They would just look so out of place in ours.

  36. I have Baldwin brass switchplates, chandelier, doorknobs, mail slot and door knocker , all of which were not cheap. I put away all my Baldwin and VM brass lamps, but almost gave them away. I’m so glad I didn’t! I had a decorator tell me one way to update my house was to change out my switch plates to white… No way was I going to change out quality switch plates for white plastic ones!!! I’m glad to hear you say that polished brass is coming back. I’ve always felt that a quality classic look outlasts a trendy look.

  37. I think that high quality, no matter the finish, is always in style.

  38. What a great blog! It brought back so many happy, ‘brassy’ moments. As a newlywed, back in the day, I loved and bought the best candle sticks we could afford. Slowly, over the years they fell from popularity, and sadly, I semi-forgot them. But reading this brought back feelings of welcoming old friends. I hopped over to ebay and the good brass is quite affordable now/still, until word gets out and designers begin using it again in force! So ladies, run…do not walk…. to see what you gave away, sold, etc. and can now replace at a modest cost. Thanks, Susan, for the heads up. From the former lurker in KY.

  39. Linda (Phila burbs) says

    can i have an amen for this post? i was so excited to read this. i have a lot of brass and still love it. i probably got married and bought a house around the same time that you did and we had a baldwin brass store nearby as well. loved it. getting a gift from there was a wonderful surprise. and while we are on the subject of classic things coming back, i truly hope that unpainted wood furniture comes back as well. while i do enjoy some painted pieces, i feel like covering every gorgeous piece of furniture with paint is covering up something beautiful. thank goodness classic stands the test of time and comes back!

  40. Phyllis Boykin says

    In my mind, brass is a classic that never goes out of style. I have continued to use mine even though the style changed a bit. One should use what she likes in her nest.

  41. I too love brass. Have always. While I have seen some tacky, cheap imitation brass, I think the real thing is truly chic and sophisticated. A few years ago I bought a 75 year old house and a few of the items in it that clenched the deal for me was some of the brass features. I love it and I think it is truly classic and timeless. Of course I am not a designer and that’s purely personal opinion. Great post!

  42. Right on, Susan. Quality never goes out of style. How much better to listen to the dictates of your own heart. I sometimes wonder how these young women who are painting over quality furniture pieces will feel someday when they realize what they have done. Brass has never been out of style at my house and I love my Baldwin pieces. I am not a trend follower in any case.

  43. Count me in the club…I luv brass! I even have brass sinks in the cabin bathrooms (sitting in vintage wash stands.) Polishing is “just ” exercise” as far as I’m concerned. Personally, I feel brass get’s better with age. franki

  44. I say, if you love what you already have, just keep it and love it. Everything seems to cycle around eventually and what is out of favor, will be back in later on. I see so many painting all their furniture white and while I like some of it, I see so many homes all looking the same to me. I have some wood pieces I’ve thought of painting, but haven’t because I really love them the way they are. Same with some brass that I have. I just use the brass together in one area of the house and won’t get rid of it because “it’s not in fashion”. Now, if the drum shades will just go away.

  45. I am not a fan of brass, but looking at your pictures could make anyone change their mind! Your home is beautiful brass and all. I too love it, when someone likes what I have done, but I have to decorate my home for me and what works for us (a husband, 3 small children and a hairy yellow lab!) That being said my entire life I have wanted a Baldwin Brass door knocker. I grew up at the beach and had a door that had a big window=no door knocker. When we bought our first home (a traditional colonial) I looked and looked, but like a tattoo, couldn’t figure out what I wanted to spend that kind of money on, bc I would have it FOREVER! Now we are in our second colonial…maybe it’s high time I look again! I don’t care if it doesn’t match any of the other metals! Thanks for the inspiration!

  46. Susan I remember when I bought lots of Baldwin Pieces for a former home. Brass door kick plates, sconces, hardware. Oh and I always gave the door knockers , personalized as a gift for my clients!
    2013 Artists Series

  47. Yes, there is there such a thing as decorating peer-pressure! I must admit, I always felt a bit guilty with my continued love affair of solid brass. We have a gorgeous built-in brass fireplace screen in our Michigan home, and we’ve been told so many that it “ages” the decor. The home is a 100 year old bungalow. I think it’s suppose to have an aged decor 😉 Over the past few years, I have toned it down a bit, but now I’m embracing brass again with gusto! Polished solid brass (and chrome) are making an appearance in darn near every room of our home now. They are the jewelry of the house.

  48. Rosie Moreno says

    After we had a new mantel created for our fireplace just before Christmas, I went to the Jefferson Brass Co. site and ordered Christmas stocking hangars for the family. What with 4 daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren that meant ordering 17! There were many designs from which to choose, and my mantle was arrayed with Santas, angels, trees and stars sparkling in the Christmas lights! Love, love, love these brass additions. Just wondering: what is the best way to insure they will keep their shine over the years to come?

    • Rosie, if it has a protective finish on it, all you need to do is just dust it, or wipe it off with a damp cloth if it gets something on it. You don’t want to polish away the protective finish, if it has that. I’ve never polished any of the brass I have that was made by Virginia Metalcrafters and Baldwin Brass.

  49. Karen Knight says

    Hi Susan
    This post made me laugh. I too love shiny brass – always had. But what struck me as funny was that I had no idea that “my style’ of decorating with deep jewel tone had so fallen out of favor! When I started following blogs, I discovered that I had been left behind by a swell of grays and beige in a monochromatic look! I like it, but I am not giving up my jewel tones. Maybe someone needs to do a post on how to integrate small changes in your decorating when things in favor make your current style look dated? keep the faith! ;-0

  50. Oh, Susan,
    I’m glad for you, your friends or someone else wasn’t able to persuade you to paint that beautiful chandelier! I love it, too, and as you (and all the others) can see, quality and beauty always is in style!
    I hope you will keep it!
    I know some people don’t like bress (I’ve never understood why not and never will, but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?) but nevertheless… I have to confess… brass can’t be back to my home… because it has NEVER gone! LOL 🙂
    P.S. Susan, I love the word “procure”! Have you read the meaning my husband gave to this word? Isn’t it funny? lol
    ~Hugs to you~

  51. My mother gave me several Baldwin candlesticks back when I was first married (early 70’s). She also gave us a Baldwin door knocker when we bought our first house. I can’t believe I left it with the house when we moved. I would love to have it now. I have always enjoyed using those candlesticks through the years. I am happy that brass is coming back into favor.

  52. As a bride in the mid 70s, I received some lovely brass candlesticks. My first Christmas married, my momNlaw gave me 2 gorgeous ones from the NM catalogue. So hooked! I have Sterlite storage boxes in the atiic full of that collection and other brass items, which grew yearly until I said STOP, about 20 years ago. I even had a decorator pal say, just drop all that off at the Salvation Army (not a keeper of things is she!) I couldn’t part with them, every piece has a story. I still haul out the brass trivets at Christmas and all the family women love them. Though I love my pewter look hardware in my kitchen, I’m SO glad brass is coming back…just replaced a laundry room doorknob with a brass one that has a Lab face on it, found at an estate sale. Fun! I can remember when seeing old brass teakettles at garage sales was a common thing….I used to put ivy plants in them….now I never see them. Anyone else recall that?

  53. Does this mean that I don’t have to paint the shiny brass trim around the glass on my gas fireplace?
    I sure hope so, cause I haven’t figured out how to get it off, and have no clue how to spray paint indoors without it going all over the place.
    This truly is good news!

  54. GUILTY!! …of getting rid of some brass. I had a chandelier almost identical to yours Susan which I had to leave in a previous house, but I let go of wall sconces and lots of other brass things. The only things I kept, were a tall brass lamp with glass shades (originally oil) which I brought from England with me many years ago, a scale and a bell. I also had a lot of the brass hangings you see on timbers or bars in English pubs…gave those away!
    Do you remember the brass home parties? That is where I acquired some things.
    Ah well, cannot keep everything I guess…no use keeping the clothes from then either!! 🙂

  55. Diane Strickland says

    Susan, I have always loved brass and have not changed any of mine! However, when I re-did my kitchen a couple of years ago, I gave in and bought brass and nickel pulls (they look a little like David Yurman jewelry).
    Almost all of my furniture has brass handles, so silver-tone everything else would look strange. So glad there are a few of us “brass lovers” still around! Thanks so much for this post.

  56. patricia morris says

    Never let anyone tell you metals can’t be mixed. Just like jewelry these days…it all works. By the way, you can’t ever have too many mirrors in a room as long as they’re tasteful.

  57. The Shop Around the Corner says

    Hi Susan, been a while since I last stopped by the porch, but it’s as beautiful as ever. Love your brass accents. I actually like to mix finishes…metals and woods. It’s a lot more fun to color outside the lines. 🙂
    Browsing your page a little now.
    Much love,

  58. I think brass fell out of favor because people are busy and no time to spend on something that needs polishing, but I actually like the look of aged brass. I know some may cringe and want to help me polish, but it looks like patina to me. Like art I think we should buy what we like.

  59. Yeah! I’m back in style! I bought the dining table version of that coffee table about 25 years ago. Many times I wished I could change it out. The brass has gotten pitted and I can’t clean it. The glass is so heavy, I wouldn’t know how to get rid of it. 15 years ago, the movers put the beveled edge table top on upside down. I’ve never had it turned over, it’s too heavy. It’s still pretty and dresses up nicely. I’ll give it some love today…

  60. Thank you for this post. We have shiny brass throughout our 10 year old home. I have always loved it, and was feeling like you, “why is it now out of style?” Good to know!

  61. When we got married (back in the stone age) it was all about brass. We had a brass bed, brass trimmed tables and various brass lamps. They are all long gone. I don’t think I really liked it back then and I can’t say I’ve changed my mind. I really always liked silver better than gold too. If it makes a comeback, it may just have to stay away from my house. I love, love, love your dining room mirror!!

  62. Theresa DeLuca says

    Susan, I still love brass and still have brass fixtures in my house. I have the same exact fixture in my sunroom that you have over your kitchen table. I still love it 22 years later and if I move I’m taking it with me!

  63. vslusher54 says

    I must say I’m head over heels about this site! I just found your site a week ago and trying to read everything ever posted! I love how you decorate – a mirror of how I decorate and you’ve given me such great ideas to make some updates! Heading to Mt. Dora, FL for the Rennigers Antique extravaganza 3rd weekend of February – we live right outside of Tampa, FL. Love going there as I find some of my collectibles and some items I didn’t know I needed to collect! One of my guest rooms is in the blues you have but I’ve never painted the walls – so a pale yellow they are going! (house is about 6 years old – ok so I’m slow and can’t always make up my mind.!!!!) See what you’ve started! Looking forward to “sitting” on your porch next time!

    • Thanks so much, Vicki! So glad you are here and appreciate your sweet comment. Yes, come have some tea with me on the porch. Spring is coming…can’t wait to get back out there! 🙂

  64. I have had the empire sconces you showed us in this post for ay least thirty years and they moved with me from my very east cobb ,williamsburg house to my new more updated house in Canton, Georgia . I still love them and they look great in my foyer.Thanks for your love of tradition.

    • Phyllis, I have two of those in my foyer and unfortunately, every body that comes in the front door, almost always backs into one of them. So, I need to move them. Whatever you do, don’t let one of the globes get broken since you can’t replace them now that VM is gone.

  65. I couldn’t agree more! I think it was the cheap sprayed on brass that turned people off. I don’t think they realized that wasn’t brass. I have several antique scrubbed pine pieces from Europe. Nothing looks better on them than heavy old brass candlesticks. It’s timeless. I always wondered how Williamsburg could still be so popular but people said they hated the look. It’s been a mystery to me. I’m so glad you brought up this topic. Lovely photos!

  66. Diane Johnson says

    I too love brass and Colonial Williamsburg is a favorite vacation spot for our family. I’m just updating my kitchen and have been upset regarding my ceiling fan in the breakfast room. It has a brass finish and is in perfectly good shape. The contractor’s wife mentioned the fact that we have a ceiling fan and it has brass trimmings and they are both “out of favor”. I feel good about my decision to keep the fan with the brass fittings. I might consider some new glass shades for the lights however.

  67. Thank You Susan, I agree with you 100%. I love my Blawdin, and VM.

  68. Jane Teyler says

    I have been collecting brass for a couple of years now, in items I really like, but I love it when it has aged. time worn finish. some pieces looks beautiful shiny and some look great darkened. always enjoy your findings

  69. Good quality brass in the right setting, such as your home, always looks classy and timeless! Decorating Peer Pressure. Love it, and for certain it exists, but as we become more confident and certain of our likes and dislikes, it becomes a LOT easier to ignore.
    I just have to say when I saw your post title, I immediately thought of George Constanza! I’M BACK BABY! LOL

  70. We love bright brass (my husband even loves to polish it) and have lots of it. Anything you truly never is never really out of style.

  71. I have that same chandelier that you have in your breakfast room and I love it! We bought our house two years ago and people keep asking me if I am going to replace it, and I keep thinking “NO”! The house also has brass switch plates and a brass fireplace surround. I know that can look dated, but I like the way it makes the house feel “all grown up” to me.

  72. Hi susan – I love Baldwin brass and would never give it up! When my husband and I bought our first home we closed on it on my birthday, and the six weeks before I had taken a zillion pictures of the house so I could dream of how I would decorate it, I told my husband I would someday have a Williamsburg eight-light brass chandalier over my dining room table (even though a formal dining room was a long way off!) when we were handed the keys we raced off to walk through or new home. As we walked through the living room my husband flipped the dining room light on and there it was! he sold his motorcycle to buy the chandalier for my birthday! he made arrangements with the former owner to hang it before we closed on the house…It could turn black and I would still love it! Our brass pieces have a very special place in our home and always will! Keep on “Brassing” everyone!

  73. claudette flanigan says

    I’m a brass fan here and guess what? I didn’t even know it was out of style! LOL No one told me. My very traditional white mantle has brass lanterns and candlesticks on it and always will!

  74. Hi, Thanks for this great post. To me, what we love is always in style in our home. Your home is beautiful!

  75. Susan!! Y’all were at the JAG school at UVa? My husband and I were in Charlottesville 1985-87; he was just two doors down at the Darden School (back when Darden was the building right by the law school). Remember the Virginia Metalcrafters store at Fashion Square? I, too, always loved that beautiful brass. How wonderful that quality brass has come back into fashion!

    • I never knew about the VM store…wish I had! I think we were there in 1981, if I’m remembering correctly. UVA is such a gorgeous campus, isn’t it? I loved that whole area! We stayed in a very nice basement apartment of a beautiful home during the time we were there. The couple we were renting from also had a small house/cabin on the property that they rented out and while we were there, Linda Blair (of the Exorcist fame) was staying there. She was very friendly and always said “Hi” to us whenever we saw her in passing.

  76. Shannon Gough says

    I am an interior designer, and I never lost my love for brass. Even when the nickel and chrome craze took over, I still kept my favorite brass pieces out. I think part of it was the fact that I am a child of the 70″s, who grew up in a middle class subdivision. Every house in our neighborhood had builder chrome faucets, just alike, that is until your parents could afford to personalize their home, and bought BRASS! Then you knew you had arrived. My first interior design job was for a local firm, where they sold fine brass pieces. I had the luxury of getting to purchase a few at dealer cost. I still have those pieces and I have not and will not hide them or apologize for my proud display. Maybe it’s my age, or just the simple appreciation of how good brass was something to save for, and a memory of pity for those homes that still had the builder chrome faucets.

    • Shannon, I so remember that, too. I remember visiting a friend who lived in a beautiful, traditional home in one of the nicest areas in Atlanta and she was deep in the process of replacing all the outlet covers, switch plate covers, door knobs, and bathroom faucets throughout her entire home with Baldwin. She was so excited because she was down to the baths and only had one or two baths to go. I know she never saw the anti-brass period of design coming. Like you mentioned, brass was the best quality you could use back then. Great hearing your perspective as an Interior Designer!

  77. Wa-hoo-wa! I live in Charlottesville and was tickled to hear that you spent time in our wonderful city. UVA is my alma mater and I am so glad you were able to experience it. It has really grown and is even better now! I have been following your blog for many years and have tried many of your tutorials. I am excited because Charlottesville is finally getting a Home Goods store! You have so many neat finds from there I can’t wait to check it out. So nice to know we share a tiny common thread. Keep up the wonderful posts!

  78. Ann S Mindicino says

    great post. I have brass candlesticks that were my grandmothers. They’re probably from the 20s. They don’t shine & never have. Is there some way to restore them so they shine. They’re not pretty the way they would be if they were shiny. I also have pewter that looks aged and and iron collection that I don’t know how to treat or clean (?) in some way. If you could give me some advice or a place to show me how to do this I would be so grateful. thank you.

  79. As for home decor, I have always loved brass and it has never fallen out of favor with me. I use my brass candlesticks, although I admit to not using my brass trays much. But it’s more because of their size and usefulness than because they are brass. I do admit to not liking brass door hardware, however. It’s a little dated and shiny for my taste. But in the home, I love it!

    • Bev, I don’t like the brass door knobs in my home but that’s because they are the cheap builder knobs and they don’t look like real brass…they look like imitation brass, which they are. I’ve replaced the knobs on all my exterior doors with real Baldwin Brass knobs, but not the interior ones. I would gladly see those go bye-bye. 🙂

  80. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for the Brass post. I still love brass and have so many Virginia Metalcrafters brass and Ball and Ball pieces. I have never been one to just change things because something is “in”. I have bought things that I love and feel are timeless and not trendy. You do such a terrific job in your blogs. I appreciate all your blog. Marlene

  81. Hi Susan, I saw this post yesterday (and cheered and applauded), but I’m just now getting a chance to leave a comment. I still love brass, and I’m not one to cave in to every trend that comes along. I can’t afford to re-decorate that often, and I really don’t want to. I enjoyed your discussion of the variety of metals we use to decorate and furnish our homes. Great post, Susan; have a wonderful day!


  82. I love brass as well and always have. I too lived in Charlottesville in the late 80’s when my husband was working on his Phd at UVA. It is such a traditional town and that is where I got my love for that style. Thanks for sharing.

  83. How timely was your blog post when I am trying to decide whether to switch out some of our brass chandys and faucet fixtures during a remodel. I have loved my brass chandelier for so long and I long my big gooseneck brass faucets at my kitchen sink. They are timeless and elegant. We, too, love Colonial Williamsburg and bring back beautiful brass every time we visit on business trips.

    I feel the younger generation caused a lot of the dislike of brass fixtures. Most of the younger generation I am around (six children and eleven (and counting) grandchildren, and young people I work with) prefer anything that isn’t brass/gold color — using mostly platinum and white gold in their wedding ring sets, polished or satin nickel in their home fixtures. Just watch HGTV House Hunters or a decorating program and see all of the hisses and boos when the younger generation walks into a home with “gold” (their term) fixtures. Makes me crazy sometimes that they can’t see beyond fixtures in a house…or wallpaper and noses are turned up at the site of brass fixtures that the younger generation call “dated.” but are really are just as beautiful and sometimes even more so than nickel and in the interior design world have never really been out of favor or style.

    And I think the recent love of more gold bracelets and jewelry in the fashion world may have slightly assisted in the return of popularity of brass fixtures in the design world. Just my observations. Whatever the swing back to using brass, it’s a good one! Like many other posters have shared, it’s a beautiful, warm element that gives such a lovely, soft glow and every home should be blessed with at least some beautiful brass candlesticks. for a touch of traditional elegance.

  84. Hi Susan,
    Great post — and timely post at that! It’s great to hear of your love of fine polished brass. I was especially drawn to the images of past Virginia Metalcrafters catalogs.

    The post was timely because of the current state of Virginia Metalcrafters. I am the current, yes current, Director of Sales at Virginia Metalcrafters. The company is coming back and posed to put out a new catalog this coming spring of 2013. Visit our website ( to sign-up to be notified when the catalog is available. And please feel free to contact me (tstahly [at] for more information.

    • Such great news! Long live Virginia Metalcrafters! 🙂

      • Oh wow! So thrilled to hear that Virginia Metalcrafters is coming back! Better save some of decorating dollars to spend with them! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Tom, Not sure if you’ll see this message, but a reader (John Moran) just left a comment asking a question about polishing a piece of Virginia Metalcrafters brass. If you get this, could you stop by and “reply” to his comment with any suggestions you might have. You’ll see his comment at the end of all the comments since he just left it this evening. Just click “reply” on his comment and he will get the comment/reply that you leave for him. Thanks! Susan

  85. Connie Bishop says

    I have missed brass so much since it has be vilified and kicked out of decor by the decorating police and I’m delighted to see it being given some recognition again. I had a gift shop in late seventies though the eighties and sold so much of it. It bring warmth and sparkle to a room like nothing else can!

    I’ m thinking oil rubbed bronze will really look dated in this decade and won’t have the come back appeal of shiny metals. I hope I live long enough to see “brown” disappear from the color spectrum…talk about overdone. I looks so heavy and weighted especially in the sunny south.

  86. I like yours and the way you use and the way it was used it Country Home was really nice.

    I have some brass lamps, brushed nickel lamps, some iron, some glass. I have always just mixed my metals, because the stuff is too darn good to part with especially when one has chosen something classic versus something trendy.
    Maybe that’s why yours still works.

    Now I read somewhere that mixing metals is the thing when I have always done that. As it should be, because decor is expensive these days and it is less expensive to change out candles and towels etcetera than furniture and case goods.

  87. I flaunt it shamelessly in spite of the women saying: “Brass is not in fashion’ (spoken with an unbearable nasal twang).

  88. This is very timely! I have been going through things I brought home after my mom died and have several brass pieces she picked up in Taiwan when my dad was stationed there many moons ago. One is a round brass table with separate wooden legs that I remember polishing as a child. It was the coffee table in our family room when I grew up. I have no place for it but kept it anyway. Love the JAG picture – my husband graduated from UVA in 79 and we moved back here to C’ville in 2008. Would love to meet you if you are in the area for a visit.

  89. Hi Susan, I’m a brass lover too….so glad it is coming back. I never got rid of mine. I display it proudly, even though it’s now considered vintage. Anytime I was able to get a VM or Baldwin piece, either as a gift or purchased, I was thrilled. Williamsburg colonial was my decor of choice and I love it’s timelessness. I’m not a trend follower, I’m a classics girl. Some of my things are now over 40 years old and I still love them. Too bad the younger set doesn’t appreciate the beauty and craftmanship. Somehow, they got seduced by Ikea. Too bad.
    Nice to know there are still people out there who value quality.

  90. I never stopped using my brass because this is my home and I don’t really care what the “style” is! All that matters to me is that others are complimentary about it, even men! I think that making my home show our personalities is more important than following the “rules”.

  91. Terrific post, Susan. LOVE the warmth of brass as feel it is timeless! Much can be said about it ……. top brass, as solid as brass, bold as brass, get down to brass tacks etc. ºÜº I am glad that it is coming back into style and particularly love the brushed finish in plumbing fixtures that are beginning to appear on the market. -Brenda-

  92. Susan- I received the Tuesday Morning stores flyer in the mail today and they are having a sale on Baldwin Brass bathroom accessories (towel bars etc.) just in case anyone is interested…

  93. I am so glad you posted the fact you love polished brass Susan. I love it too. I watch HGTV House Hunters and all the people (especially young ones who HAVE to follow the latest design trend) poo-poo any brass in homes . All of my homes have had polished brass. My current one has the most. We have a huge chandy, of course polished brass, in our foyer and a smaller one in our dining room. Our previous house owner had switched most of the plastic electric wall switches to polished brass and I finished the project when we moved in 13 years ago. And when we had to replace the old builder’s front door and sidelights I replaced the door handle and lock with polished lifetime Baldwin fixtures. In fact, both the Pella Sales Rep and another individual told us NOT to buy our Baldwin door fixtures in the big box stores (i.e., Lowe’s) because they are cheaply made and have plastic parts in them. We were told to go to a specialty store to get the fixtures. We found a great store north of us that had the most beautiful fixtures and although more expensive then the ones in Lowe’s we knew they were good quality. And the lifetime polished brass Baldwin fixtures look stunning on our new black Pella front door! Of course, I’ve never been one to follow all the latest trends. My home is a mixture of new, old and very old…lots of pieces passed down through our families too. And I don’t have granite kitchen counters either and I don’t think I ever will. So there! Usually if I buy something that is “in” by the time I buy it…it is “out”. LOL !

    • Sandy, I have the BB Lifetime finish door knobs on all six of my exterior doors and I love them! I love how they feel when you open the door…so smooth and heavy. I have granite counters and they are okay but I’d much rather have marble. I just love the look of white marbles. What type counter do you prefer? If I ever move to a little dream cottage, I don’t think I’ll go with granite again.

  94. Loved your post about brass. I am renovating a home we recently purchased. While I love my brass, everyone tells me how dated it is and here’s my chance to change it. After feeling totally overwhelmed with decisions, I decided to use my old brass and crystal chandelier, which I absolutely love and have decorated to match it. (I couldn’t bear the thought of whoever buys our old house doing away with MY chandelier as I put a lot of time and effort and money finding just the right one) I’ve had to fight the contractors, plumber, painters etc to use brass but I’ve decided I don’t care. It makes me happy!!! Your post was so affirming that I’ve made the right decision. Thank you!!!

  95. I just stumbled upon your blog and would be interested in ideas for my bedroom. I have a solid four poster brass bed that I’ve kept all these years that brass was “out” because it was the first big purchase my husband and I made and I truly love it. It’s time for a bedroom redo and I’m really struggling with the right color palette to compliment the brass bed as it is the largest item in the room.
    Most of the experts appear to advise burgundy, mustard or hunter green but I’m not sure I want to go that dark in my bedroom. Any suggestions?

  96. Late to this post – but I wanted you tell you that I remember Abernathy’s — I was their auditor and I loved taking inventory — they had the most beautiful things! The door hardware was unbelievable. I could only afford a little at a time, but I finally changed all my interior doors to Baldwin. When I sold it, the “thirtysomething” buyers were planning to change them all to bronze — hope they regret that someday.

    • Oh, Pam…I love that someone still remembers Abernathys! I bet that was a fun job, taking inventory. 🙂 I know that must have been upsetting to see the new owners saying they were going to do that after all the trouble and work you went through over the years to change them all. I just finally finished changing out all my exterior door knobs out 5 years ago. I have 6 exterior doors so couldn’t afford to do them all at once, either. I think I had 3 left to do when I added the porch 5 years ago so I went ahead and did it then since I was moving some doors and installing French doors in the basement. In my opinion, beautiful, quality brass never goes out of style. I hear Virginia Metalcrafters is going to reopen…do hope that happens!

  97. Michelle Swartz says

    I have also loved the brass. I grew up and lived most of my life where the Baldwin Brass was manufactured…Reading, PA. It was a thrill to look at all the fine quality brass available for sale at the department stores. My mother had a friend that worked in the factory, at at certain times of the year, they were able to purchase the ‘seconds’ at a greatly reduced price. I have been the recipient of many of those pieces. When I married and was able to add to my collection, I purchased many of the brass snowflake ornaments which we hung from the main beam in our log home outside Birdsboro PA. I passed those on to my daughter when we moved from PA two years ago. I am however, still looking for those fabulous metal lampshades that were featured with the brass lamps…specifically the red ones. Nostalgia,,,,,any suggestions from you on this replacement??

  98. Marcela Flynn says

    I can’t believe I found you on my first try. I have the exact same glass and brass coffee table that Eddie Ross bought in your photos above. It was one of my first “nice” furniture buys as a young homeowner. I’ve shed most of my brass lamps and candle holders but just can’t park with the table. So I thought I’d search “decorating with brass furniture” and your site popped up. THANK you for not giving up on brass. I’m looking forward to re-doing my living room in the style above. I even have a white sofa!

  99. This post makes me feel a bit better about the brass and glass end table I just bought at Goodwill last night! I am in love with the cottage style, but have been scratching my head for almost 24 hours now on how to integrate this more “modern-esque” piece of furniture into my cozy cottage style. I’m still not quite sure, but this post does give me hope that it can work. Can I ask you though…do you feel white furniture or natural wood furniture pairs better with brass and glass? I think that’s my hang up right now!


    • Toni, I lean toward white just because the brass against white is sooo pretty and fresh. If the furniture has a dark stain, like Mahogany or Walnut, brass would be beautiful with that, too. I just don’t think it would look as pretty with a “nautural” stain that’s more toward the maple/pine range, but that may not be what you meant by “natural.”
      Check out all the pictures in this article at Country Living that shows Eddie Ross’s home. He has both white painted and stained pieces in his home and lots of brass, some shiny brass and some antique brass…and it all looks great. The first picture shows his dining room with a white painted piece and brass candlesticks on the table. He has brass knobs against white doors, and in his living room he has a brass/glass coffee table and brass lamps with a stained piece. I love the mix and how it isn’t all matchy, matchy. Here’s the link:

      • Susan,

        Thank you so much for your response! I am definitely going to check out that link. I love interior design but I am just not very good at it. It’s hard for me to conceptualize the way something would work with something else without actually having the items. Currently I do have a white table, but it’s a big old square and it’s just too clunky and not my taste anymore.

        With my question, I was asking if brass would look good with any stain of wood really. I’m trying to decide if I should buy this one wooden coffee table here:, and keep the wood finish, or paint it white. Or should I do brass all around and try to find another matching end table and brass coffee table? I guess that’s what is making me crazy because I’ve never really done mismatched furniture before. HaHa, my head is spinning!

        If you have any words of advice, I’d love it. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my last comment! <3


        • That’s a tall coffee table…I wonder if it is really a coffee table. That’s a good price so you can’t really go wrong. Toni, I’m not a decorator and the way I decorate would make most decorators/designer rolls their eyes. When I decorated my home, each room kind of told me what it needed. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.

          My family room downstairs has paneling and is dark and cozy. I knew it would be a mistake to try to do anything other than keep it that way, so I went with jewel tone colors that I knew would work with the paneling. A lot of the pieces I’ve bought over the years, I purchased because I had seen them on home tours or in magazines and knew I eventually really wanted to own one.

          So, I often will buy a piece I truly love for a room and let it be the starting place for how I decorate the room. As long as you are either 1. buying inexpensive pieces that you can easily donate or get rid of if you change your mind OR 2. Buying more expensive pieces that you LOVE so much you want to marry it, you should be okay.

          The pieces I’ve bought over the years that I LOVE, I still love and they could probably be used in almost any room of my home. The coffee table you’re considering would also be great at the foot of a bed so if you later find a coffee table you like better, you could always use it that way, maybe even paint if needed to make it work in another room.

          I don’t know if this helps very much. I wrote a post a while back that had some tips on what has worked for me. Here’s a link to it in case it’s helpful:

  100. I just wanted to add a few thoughts here. I love beautiful, high quality brass. Nothing else compares to how well it dresses up a home. We have shiny brass in our main home and can’t believe decorators would think this could go out of style. We like copper and oil rubbed bronze also, but they don’t create the same ambiance.

    • John Moran says

      All you brass fans warm my heart. We just put on the market a house in Atlanta built in ’62 that we bought in ’88 in which we immediately replaced all the cheap hinges and doorknobs with solid brass. We hope that all the $50 Baldwin knobs and levers will be seen as selling points rather than eyesores.
      In ’88, finding decent hardware in Atlanta was not so easy. I installed a bunch of solid brass door levers from Italy before Home Depot or Home Expo started carrying Baldwin and I could replace them all with quality. Following trends, we have replaced some brass in the baths with chrome or brushed nickel, which looks great, but for the “dry” rooms I like brass. But there is one exception: we recently replaced our vintage-1960 stamped brass door on our brick fireplace with a matte black door and it is such a huge improvement we should have done it years go.
      A practical question: I inherited a Virginia Metalcrafters “gloxenia” leaf that had a lot of bluish corrosion. After a lot of Brasso, the blue is now brown. Is the solution more Brasso?

      • John, I’m not sure what to recommend, but Tom Stahly, the Director of Sales for Virginia Metalcrafters left a comment on this post in 2013. I just replied to his comment asking if he might have any suggestions for you. I hope he will get it and reply back to your comment/question. I’ll be facing some bathroom renovations before long and I may go with chrome there, too but like you, I still love the brass in my other rooms. Did you see the cover of Southern Living magazine in March. I had to chuckle after all this polished brass bashing the last few years, polished brass is prominently displayed at its finest. You can see the cover here: It features plenty of polished brass and tells you just how to get the look! So quality brass is timeless, no matter what anyone says! I think I’ll add that picture to the end of this post, too.

  101. Ron Miller says

    I love my brass and copper items and Ipick them up for a song unpolished because no one knows how to clean them. I found- 20 years ago- a product that is non-toxic and odorfree that makes cleaning a breeze right in my kitchen. The Victorian House Brass and Copper Restorer. Its great. They sell online now. Its manufactured in Oklahoma and they have a great wood cleaner I use on all my antiques and kitchen cabinets to remove grease and buildup and white rings and such. Just thought I would share.

  102. Kimberly Serrano says

    If anyone is interested, I have many brass things for sale!

  103. Phyllis Wilson says

    This column and the comments had so many common sense thoughts that it really put my mind at ease about struggling to stay up-to-date with all my brass. I too was very influenced by trips to Williamsburg, and I still love those features. I was surprised to see your bedroom looks so much like ours.

    • I’m so glad, Phyllis. I really do think it’s pointless for us to follow trends because they are forever changing. I very much recommend going with your heart and what you love because that will never fail you. That’s the wonderful thing about classic design and classic pieces, that are never out of style.

  104. I did a similar, brass is back, post about a year ago. In our downsize I selected a new solid brass for our dining room . It was marked down several times because brass has been out. Ha! I snapped up that baby, and use my Williamsburg candlesticks too. What’s old is new again! Love it. I love your pieces too! Sheila

  105. I have fond memories of those years, too. Charlottesville was/is a such a beautiful place. I fell in love with UVA, too.

  106. Wow, am I glad I found your site! I also visited Williamsburg years ago and loved the brass items there. I also when I worked, retired now, saves money from each pay check to change all the door knobs to Baldwin polished brass lever knobs. It took a long time. The main reason was a practical one: we live on the ocean and all metals corrode in a short time. You name it, it corrodes. These Baldwin look brand new 20-25 years later. I also picked up antique brass pieces from yard sales and even a very old church’s minister’s home that had antique andirons and candlesticks. I love them to this day. I also picked up a few antique pewter pieces and have always mixed them. I will be selling my house and am in the process of updating a bathroom with a polished brass shower and expensive no tarnish sink fixtures. I am leaving them alone but wonder how to give it an updated look. I am thinking of oiled rubbed bronze for towel rack, etc. but wonder what you think. The vanity is dark mahogany, on legs, with dark brown and beige speckled granite top. The fixtures are “bisque” (pale beige) color. Any ideas greatley appreciated. I love your home! it has everything I always wanted down to the white wicker porch. I signed up immediately for your blog. Thanks so much for your input!

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! Wow, that’s awesome that they still look good even in an ocean type climate…really speaks to how great that Baldwin Lifetime finish is. I love it on all my exterior doors. 🙂

      I think you could mix in the oil rubbed bronze with the brass and it would look great. ORB is so neutral, I think it will look fine. I also think it would look better than using chrome.

  107. So glad I’m back in style. I am not partial to silver so I maintained the brass decor in my home.

  108. Beverly Cook says

    Brass has been and always will be a lovelyf, classic metal that warms a home beautifully. I often think of the fable of ‘The Emporer’s New Clothes’ when I read of the latest ‘design trend’ which eschews any specific classic style, item, finish, or color for its newer, trendy counterpart. I roll my eyes and think, “ Here we go again!”
    Soon second-hand shops will be bulging with barnyard bits in all its weathered gray glory when gleaming wood finishes finds their way back to the respectful eyes of our trendy designers. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy my home filled with gleaming quality brass, finely oiled wood, sparkling crystal, and sumptuous classic fabrics.


    If you still have the catalogs. Could you post the image pages for the plant stakes?
    Best Regards,

  110. Hello!
    I’m wondering if you’ll see this comment. I just purchased a Virginia Metalcrafters brass candlestick in it’s original green box, at a thrift store! It is the HEAVIEST candlestick I’ve ever seen and just beautiful. Anyway, I was researching it and came across this post from 2013, so thank you for the information. Now I’m not sure what to do with the candlestick – I just thought it was pretty, but everywhere I place it it just seems to be this ‘thing’ and not mesh. Maybe I’ll just have to keep my eye out for more brass candlesticks and make a grouping.

    • Congrats on your awesome find, it sounds beautiful! Yes, VM is excellent quality so I’m sure it is heavy. I hope you can find a nice spot for it in your home.

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