Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

April 28, 2015

Do You Mix Metals?

Via HGTV
We are going to begin tearing out the bathroom this week!!  Cue the sweaty, panicked terror.  I need you to think exceptionally warm thoughts, because our plan is to shower in the guesthouse (which boasts our only other bathing facilities).  We can only use the shower out there if the ground has thawed enough for us to turn the water back on (the lines aren't insulated).  Truthfully, I'm not 100% sure that the bathroom out there even works, but I'm hopeful.  Because we're going to be doing much more of the work than we intended, we need to get going - yesterday.  No time to wait for warmer weather.  Worst case scenario, we end up taking cowboy baths in the laundry room tub - which would have been a luxury for our ancestors.  A luxury!

Although I've locked down the cabinetry, tile, and counters (eek), I had a few more decisions to make last week.  I don't know why, but this renovation has seemed to involve many more decisions than the last bath reno we tackled.  I think last time "not crappy" was good enough for me, but now I'm more particular - plus I feel pressure to get it perfect, because we can't afford mistakes or do-overs.  One of the more difficult decisions was one of the smallest: the finish on the faucets and lighting.  Geesh, I agonized over that.  Gold (brushed or brassy) is definitely having a moment, and while I can appreciate how beautiful it is, it just isn't for me.  Although I wear gold jewellery and my favorite handbags have gold hardware, I just cannot commit to it in my home - and I've tried! 

Elements of Style
For silver-loving folks, chrome seems like the most modern, and perhaps even classic choice, but I really dislike how spotty chrome gets - even with the magic cleaner I found.  And - this will sound completely nutty to you metal mixing aficionados - but I've realized that I don't like pairing chrome with brushed metals.  Although I mixed metals a bit in the townhouse (chrome, black, oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel), in the lakehouse I'm been striving for a totally unified look with all brushed silver.  Even though I can look at spaces like the ones below (two of my favorite rooms, actually) and appreciate how gorgeously and expertly the metals have been mixed, I just cannot commit to this look in my home either.

Smitten Studio
DecorPad
I just really like brushed silver, and I just really like when metals match.  It's one of those things my weird little brain zeroes in and fixates on.  I think it's because the lakehouse is somewhat small (1300 square feet - smaller than the townhouse, actually), so I like the eye to skip over hardware and not be drawn to different styles or finishes - it's why I like all white walls and trim too.  Because so much of the metal in the lakehouse - from the door hardware to the trim on our furniture and the stainless steel sink and faucet in the kitchen - are brushed silver (which is no accident), I'm staying the course.


Brushed nickel for the bathroom it is!  It's not a very common choice - which is why I was waffling so much.  It had a heyday in the 90s, but the fixtures I've chosen are so simple, I think it will have a modern feel.  I might end up with some subtle metal mixing anyway.  We've settled on the Kohler Purist faucet with a single lever in vibrant brush nickel, but the brushed nickel seems very warm.  In the photo below, the left is brushed nickel, the middle polished chrome, and the right is brushed bronze.



Although I'm a bit nervous, I'm also pretty excited!  I think this matchy-matchiness is going to make my brain and I very happy.  After spending so long creating a neutral, people-pleasing space, I'm really relishing the opportunity to just focus on what I (and Hubs, when he chimes in) want.  Anyone else like coordinating metals and finishes?  Or are you all metal-mixers?  If you are a metal-matcher like me, enjoy a little eye candy: 

Desire to Inspire
Style at Home
Style at Home
Urban Outfitters via Pinterest
EST Magazine
Style at Home
Desire to Inspire

The last photo is from a gorgeous, must-see house tour and the homeowner seems to love gold with the same passion I feel for brushed silver.
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16 comments

  1. I don't like to mix and match, but our house was brassy gold when we moved in and I've slowly been transitioning to brushed nickel, don't care if it's out of style or not.

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    1. It's always a good idea to choose what YOU love - swapping out hardware and faucets can be pricey, so it's not someplace I'd want to experiment with trends. I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one loving brushed nickel ;)

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  2. I have brushed nickel is most instances throughout my house. I seem to have mixed brushed nickel, stainless and chrome - I now feel like a rebel!
    This might be a little late - but take a look at Toto toilets. I highly recommend - and they have skirted options. I am slowly changing out all my Koehler toilets for Toto.
    I would recommend doing some research on walnut. The walnut furniture pieces we have scratch very easily - walnut is a very soft wood. Of course your piece might be very durable. Just passing on my experience.

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    1. Haha, you've definitely gone metal mixing mad ;)

      Darn - I've already ordered my Kohler toilet! But my Mom is still in the planning stages of her reno so I will pass along your recommendation. Can I ask what you prefer about the Toto toilets (other than the awesome alliteration)? She's a fan of the skirted look too.

      Yes, walnut is soft - a lot like teak, and our teak dining table has certainly seen some wear. I took a good long look at our bathroom cabinetry before making the decision and determined that it doesn't see a lot of wear, being a vertical surface. I have to admit that I love walnut a lot, and am prepared for any wear just to have the warmth and the look. I've got a woodworker in the family so, worse comes to worse, I've got a pro who can touch up an wear, I'm sure. But I will remember to be gentle with it - and I'll update everyone once we've had it for a bit. My biggest worry is it being damaged in transit! Hopefully they pack it well. Thanks for your feedback - it's always good to hear about people's experience.

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    2. Toto flushes exceptionally well! It's as simple as that. It has a sanitizing feature built into the bowl. They have beautiful skirted models. All these features make it super easy to clean.
      So glad you know about walnut!! It is a beautiful wood and would be one of my top picks even though it's soft.

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    3. That's great info, thanks! I will tell me Mom to look at them, although I haven't seen any in our local bath fitter shops - they really push Kohler. But maybe it can be special ordered.

      Yeah, I tend to favor practicality, but sometimes it's form over function, lol. I just love walnut and teak. Even though sometimes they are a pain! I really need to oil my teak dining room table but I'm putting it off...

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  3. I'm not a metal mixer either. Brushed nickel is still popular here, and I like it as much as I ever did. Jenn and Joe are switching out very traditional oil rubbed bronze fixtures in favor of modern brushed nickel ones, and I think they'll look great. When I build my next apartment, I'm either going with matte black or brushed nickel.

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    1. I'm happy to hear brushed nickel is popular in Texas! I love hearing that your love for brushed nickel has remained a constant - I think I will be that way too. Matte black and brushed nickel both get my vote for your apartment! I think both of them look great with mid-century mod furniture.

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  4. Not sure if it ate my comment! BUT I had mentioned the picture the second one with the grey/green cabinets and the white uppers was my clients inspiration and we did those colors for her cabinets!! However, she didn't commit to the brushed brass/gold as it was super pricey.. however now I have been reading also The Sweetest Digs and she found some awesome hardware in that colour!

    Love your blog still!

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    1. Gah! Blogger hates you - there was no other comment from you. I'm so sorry, it seems to give you so much trouble and I have no idea why!
      That two-tone kitchen is a stunner - I prefer brushed gold to brassy, and that kitchen has it in spades. But I can totally see it being pricey - the stone backsplash probably cost a pretty penny too! I was looking for hardware recently and went to Home Depot, where I spotted some really nice, angular brushed gold handles - more squared off than the inspiration pic, but still really nice. I ended up with brushed silver from Lee Valley (of course), but I'm happy to see more affordable options becoming available.

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    2. Lee Valley has some GREAT choices! We are a Richelieu dealer and get awesome pricing, they have all sorts of neat things! I'm also working with a customer looking for a perfect grey/green for their island!! I love my job! I'll miss it when I'm gone for a year on leave (maternity) ;)

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    3. I've been looking at Richelieu too, because my father in law is a woodworker so he gets great pricing too. I'm looking to find something for the bathroom cabinetry. SO many options! Too many, haha. I'd happily design 1000 different bathrooms if I could, so I can totally understand why you will miss your job. I love hearing that you love what you do - it's so uplifting and inspiring :) I'm sure they'll miss you too while you're on mat leave!

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  5. I wrote a comment on this post......did I not hit enter and it not go through? :o(

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    1. There was no other comment from you. Sometimes I'm pokey approving them, but I'm all caught up. I'm so sorry! Sometimes blogger eats comments and I am at a loss for what to do or how to solve the problem. Probably switch to wordpress, lol.

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    2. That's ok, it happens. I pretty much just said I don't really like mixed metals either and I stick to the silver tones for the most part. I only wear silver or white gold jewelry so I guess my interior decorating taste kind of came from that because I dislike pretty much everything gold toned. The 3rd picture of the kitchen with the stainless steel appliances and the gold handles makes me twitch. lol. There is the odd thing I like though, like that gold lamp in the pic with the large black headboard, which is also drool worthy!. And I like copper but only when it's turned turquoise from exposure to weather lol. I think gold looks pretty when kind of understated like in the last picture, but only in other people's houses, it's nothing I would choose.

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    3. Haha, sorry for making you twitch! Yeah, I like seeing so many things in other people's homes, but in my own space I'm vary particular and sort of stubborn. It's funny you said something about the copper because I was trying out a copper tray in the office but I just couldn't hack it! I swapped it out yesterday for wood and now I'm happier. Ahhhh. I do agree, though, that when it turns aqua it's so gorgeous.

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