Thinking Out Loud about….. Brass Hardware

One of the projects I am working on is a mid-century house in the hills of Oakland.  It is a stunning house and the clients are absolute dolls.  They are a young and hip couple who appreciate design, trust my judgement and love those touches and details  that makes a room unique – seriously I am a lucky boy to have them as clients.

Speaking of details, in their living room, they have a beautiful credenza they found for a song .  The piece will eventually house their turn table and record collection once we slightly modify it.  One of the standout aspects of the piece is the beautiful brass detailing but somewhere along the way, the original handles to the drawers were “lost” and replaced with pretty heinous silver knobs.  Normally I am all about mixing metal finishes but in this case, not so much.

So I am on the look out for brass fixtures to replace the existing silver ones.  With the explosion of mid century “love” that has been happening as of late, one would think the market would be bursting with brass hardware just waiting for a  piece of furniture to call home.  Surprisingly, not so much.  To be blunt, a lot of the brass hardware looks like it has time traveled from the 1980s to wreck havoc on my design.  Knowing that custom hardware is not in the budget, I plowed through hardware catalogs, internet stores and  spent a good deal of time on good ol’ Pinterest to find 5 mass produced options that may work:

Source: 1 / 2/ 34/ 5

I am leaning towards Number 3 or Number 2.  I am still not sure how Number 4 ended up in the mix but it has it’s merits.  I like Number 5 but think it may be too “Asian” for the credenza.  Number 1 feels a tad too bulbous and may not play well with my idea of a clean lined room.

And if you were wondering, yes I give an inordinate amount of thought to these types of details.  I may explain why I wake up at night and yell out things like “Plaster Frette Work Ceiling!” or lie awake wondering if the champagne colored wallpaper I am installing in a room reads “Dom or Miller Genuine Draft”…..

So do you have a favorite of the 5 options?  Leave  comment and let me know!

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Master Bedroom Update: Display Shelving

So I am gonna keep it real.  I have a lot of sh*t.

Yeah.  I went there. 

Honestly, I love collecting stuff and have accumulated a vast assortment of odds and ends from my travels across the US and abroad.  Between masks, dolls, textiles, carvings and pottery I have a nice array of artifacts that I had nowhere to display.  Redecorating the master bedroom gave me the perfect opportunity to put many of these wares on display, especially since one side of my bedroom was bare (there was a reason I only shot the room from one angle!).

I wanted a set of brass shelves and searched high and low for an either one long console or two shelving units that could span between 60-70 inches.  Everything I found was either out of my price range or simply ugly (imagine shiny 80s tubular brass).  So I waited and figured I had time on my side with this scenario, but then Nate Berkus and his crew called and I had to accelerate my timeline in getting the room to at least a presentable point. 

Panicked, I literally was scouring the internet, Craigslist and all the junk shops in a 50 mile radius looking for something to fill the space.  Surprisingly, I found my savior at Ikea in the form of two display cases they were liquidating.  They had the frames only on sale for $9 each, and when two were combined, they were the perfect length at 65 inches.  The only caveat was that they were white and came with no glass or shelf inserts.  However, that didn’t deter me as I had a plan.

Enter Phase 1 of the plan…spray paint…

This is the frames with one coat of metallic bronze spray paint.  You can see the original white color on one of the legs still. 

After three coats of spray paint, the frames are looking okay but it would eventually take 5 thin coats of paint (about 3 cans) to get the final look I wanted.

Enter Phase 2 –  I replaced the shelf inserts with glass I had recut from existing panes I found at the junk yard.  Here is a helpful tip that I recently discovered – many glass shops can recut existing glass panes to fit your new projects for less than what it costs to get a new pane cut.  As I mentioned, I found the glass I used as a junk shop for $5 a pane, so for about $30 plus another $40 to have the glass recut, I was able out my shelves.  To get new glass cut, I would have spent $40 per pane or over $240 for this project– score one for  me!  Just be sure that the glass is the proper thickness and has no defects, otherwise your glass shop may decline your request.

However, even with the snazzy paint job and new glass, there was still something bothering me about the shelving.  There were these random sets of holes in the cross beams that instantly drew my attention and I hated……

I desperately wanted to plug those suckers up and frantically brainstormed how to make the holes “disappear”.  Fortunately, inspiration came from the nailhead trim I used for my bedside tables

Through some wine induced brainstorm/haze, I realized that by hot glueing a brass nailhead to a drywall anchor, I could create the perfect plug for those random holes.  Why I thought of this combo, I don’t know but surprisingly, it worked!  The drywall anchors fit perfectly into the holes and the nail heads were the exact shade of brass as my spray paint, so it was clearly meant to be!

So for under $100, I was able to get over 5 feet of display space for my collectables and perfectly fill what had previously been unused spaced in my master bedroom.  I just now have to decide on a wall treatment, art and bedding and the room will be “complete”. 

(Complete.  Yeah right…like that is ever an option to someone who loves design.)

The one caveat is that the addition of the shelving with all my collectables has moved the room from modern trad to more global traditional — not a bad thing per say but it does impact the art I intended to use for the room.  But alas, change is always the constant in design.

So have you found any awesome furniture deals?

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Loving Out Loud: Brass Shelving

I found myself daydreaming recently.  For normal people, they daydream about winning the lottery, meeting Oprah or having a magical tub of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby that never ends (my other daydream FYI).  However, being the design weirdo I am, I dream about shelving, in particular brass bookcases.

I stumbled upon these pictures of Billy Baldwin interiors and was smitten with the shelving….

Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin

Aside from the fact that the interiors are just amazing, the shelving is what is catching my eye.  The brass and glass shelving are the perfect foil to otherwise dark rooms.  The light and sheen the shelves add to the room is exactly what I hope to add to my master bedroom. 

But alas, brass shelving doesn’t come cheap if not at all so me thinks I shall be doing the DIY route.  I figure it can’t be that hard — I just need to find some shelves with good “bones” to spray paint.  I also think I won’t go as shiny….maybe a hammered brass since the bedroom will have gold accents.

So what are you daydreaming about?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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