Friday, March 13, 2015

Living with Vintage - Mixing Metals

Another Vintage Friday post from 3 Story Magazine.

One of my favorite ways to add a bit of vintage style to my home decor is by layering in metals. In all honesty, brass is my favorite, but I have a fair amount of silver and some copper sprinkled in as well. There is a lot of vintage brass out there and a lot of it is not very good. Just because it’s vintage does not mean it’s not cheaply made or mass produced. Be patient and be picky, good vintage brass is worth the wait.

Silver and Brass

Candle holders are a great way to add some interest to a table. Brass adds a bit of the warmth silver adds the sparkle. It’s also handy when the candle holder doubles as a flower vase. These holders are different in metals and form but I think the general Scandinavian design aesthetic is what makes these two work well together. Ystad Metall Brass candle holders here. Carl Christensen silver plate here. Royal Copenhagen bowl listed here.

Bronze and Brass

Snakes and saguaros just go together. A part of me thinks this shouldn’t work - brass/glass, high/low - but I like it. This grouping of a bronze Baccarat snake and a pair of vintage Saguaro sculptures reminds me of our local flora and fauna but not in the typical southwest fashion.  The snake is a bit glam but the brass keeps it real. Saguaro sculptures listed here. Baccarat snake is not listed yet. Feel free to contact me at hotcoolvintage @ if you would like pricing.

Copper and Brass

It’s kind of ridiculous how excited I get when I find small vintage items that I can repurpose for air plants. The vintage enamel and copper salt cellars fall into that category. These can also be used as a ring/jewelry holder as well.  The oh-so-happy jumping-for-joy elephant adds a nice touch of drama and movement to a space.  The lamp (one of a pair) is a favorite find and will have to be pried from my cold dead hands. Elephant is listed here. Copper and enamel salt cellars, here.

What About upkeep?

Polishing metals can be a chore. Each piece is different and some brass has a varnish on it which makes cleaning it even more difficult.  My go to cleaner is Bar Keepers Friend.  I prefer the liquid over the powder but both work well.  Also, when polishing be careful not to take away all of the patina. In my opinion some pieces should not be cleaned too deeply.  The patina gives the piece age and dimension and once it’s stripped it can change the look of the piece.  When cleaning go light and proceed only as much as needed.  Polishing (and re-polishing) is not fun but the results are well worth the effort.