Gold is Chic and Modern: Brass Fixtures to Upgrade your Kitchen

The biggest Hollywood celebrities have gold plated bathroom accessories. These don’t come cheap and if you do decide to upgrade your kitchen and bathroom with real gold plated equipment it don’t come cheap. Also there’s a sort of instant knee-jerk backlash against the opulence of gold fittings. But there’s a better way to go. Brass. It’s darker than gold but that more burnished look is something more and more people are getting to appreciate.
Stainless steel surfaces taps and fittings may well be great for the ultra-contemporary mega-clean antiseptic clinical look. But many people have realised that while silver-clean-machine kitchens are great to walk in and walk out of, if you are going to spend time cooking in them, they ain’t got no soul!
There is an alternative if you got bored of the same-old, same-old stainless steel faucets and fixtures, go for gold-toned fixtures and faucets with custom brass finish. They really stand out and create an interesting contrast without being too extravagant. It may look like dark gold, but it is not real gold. You are not flaunting your money (and some would say lack of taste) you are giving a nod to times gone by when brass fittings were the mainstay of kitchens and other areas of the home where plumbing was involved.
When looking at home furnishings and décor, especially if thinking of buying or renting a property and moving in, we are usually quick to notice outdated fixtures, faucets and hardware. Perhaps when you moved into your first home, those 80’s brass relics; blasts from the pasts, were the first things to go. But be a little cautious in your approach- don’t make up your mind too quickly about brass. There are already signs that the brass fixture (new or reconditioned) has become a classic and has been reinvented for a modern and sophisticated look with a nod back to the past! These fixtures are sleek and glam, and would be a brilliant accent for your bathroom or kitchen if you plan and integrate them in a subtle retro/contemporary look style.
So is this a big movement for 2014-2015? Is stainless steel going out and brass coming back? One has to recognise that all design trends come and go. Like fashion, when a new look is cutting edge and draw-dropping, the next season it may well be viewed as tired and stale. Once a kitchen design or metal/substance is widely used, edgy people want something different, while the rest of the pack will soon tire of seeing the same thing in each other’s homes. Stainless steel is so standard now in Western homes, and I believe that it will soon to be replaced by brass. Brass accents add sophisticated warmth and retro chic to a kitchen so consider brass for your next kitchen remodel.
While the gold or brass tones might not jump out at you as really obvious in your kitchen, you can conjure it up in small doses and mixed in with other metals. Why not get some brass knobs and draw handles for your kitchen cabinets? These can look quite striking.

Made in Birmingham: Industrial style metal shelving by Bowles & Bowles

London has long been seen as the design arts & crafts and music centre on the United Kingdom. Didn’t Tracy Emin, David Bailey and The Beatles all beat a path to London to find success? Maybe, but there has always been something that Sheffield, Birmingham and other “northern” cities have got that London no longer has- a manufacturing history and heavy industry credo.
Despite the recent economic downturn, quite a lot of it still goes on in the Midlands you know? And that’s not just mindless manufacturing, but some crème-de-la-crème design and craftsmanship. Bowles & Bowles furniture is such a beacon of midlands’ excellence; characterised by functionality, quality of materials and best-of-British skill. Available in either weathered copper or zinc wire mesh (yep, hold on to your hats here!), the original 12-piece launch collection includes seating, storage and tables inspired by the old school lockers made at the group’s Birmingham metalworks.
Of course Birmingham’s nouveau rich illuminati have tried to move on super-fast from the city’s roots and portray it as a more gentile sophisticated and glossy city. That’s as may be, but I think people should never forget the city and surrounding areas’ glorious industrial heritage, and celebrate it rather than sweep it under a carpet like it never happened.
This innovative furniture company is named after founders Peter Bowles and son Charlie. With its sense of purpose, history and stripped back aesthetic, Bowles & Bowles furniture is characterised by functionality, quality of materials and best-of-British honed craftsmanship. The father-and-son team have a track record in reinvigorating British design and industry (that’s a nice term for saying they’ve kicked up the rear some established furniture designers who prefer to sit on their laurels rather than go outside the envelope. With the goal of taking traditional manufacturing techniques and making them relevant for today’s audiences, Bowles & Bowles has lifted simple wire mesh from its humble roots.
How is each piece manufactured? Each piece is pressed, welded and folded in Birmingham using the factory’s genuinely antique tools and original machinery. Steel wire is bent to create the outline of each piece, held in place by a wooden jig. Then individually cut mesh sheets are spot-welded to the frame inch by inch, then cut and smoothed by hand. Lockers and desks are finished with door catches pressed from sheet steel using a traditional fly press, while desks and tables are topped with tasteful smoked glass that again evokes the “dark satanic mills” up north!
The business is expanding and in 2014 Bowles and Bowles will be launching non mesh-based furniture collections. I hope that this is just in addition to their trademark designs and productions- we can’t have Birmingham’s industrial heritage being left behind again! But somehow I trust this father and son team to keep to the products that made them and keep wire mesh furniture in their catalogues for years to come.