Table of contents

Materials Matter - The Beauty of Brass

Bare brass, bronze and copper fittings are among the new desirables.

“Interior design has a new focus on the use of materials in a less processed and more natural state. It responds to a need to connect with nature as well as a growing desire to be surrounded by things that feel authentic and have integrity.”

Today’s contemporary kitchen or bathroom is no longer all about white surfaces, highly polished stainless steel and glittering chrome fittings.  Modern kitchens and bathrooms are frequently a compilation of natural stone and timber surfaces and fittings in metallic finishes.

Tapware, lighting, cabinet handles and other architectural hardware are now available in a wide range of materials and finishes.  This enables a designer to make a more considered selection and to specify products which will define the project, lifting it above the ordinary. 

Bare brass, bronze and copper fittings are among the new desirables.  In the past these finishes remained around for door knockers, cookware and marine fittings. Leading product designers now recognise them as exciting ‘living’ materials which give another dimension to great design. 

Uncoated metal finishes present an honesty which is missing in many modern materials used in mass produced products. They are what they are - living finishes which will mature in time with use.  The appeal of their use as an organic element in kitchens and bathrooms is this very process of aging.  Interior design magazines and blogs currently feature service rooms with an array of surfaces and fittings made from brass and copper which is being allowed to age slowly over time. The patina resulting from this aging process gives a beautiful and timeless look.

In Residence offers uncoated bare brass tapware across all the Perrin & Rowe collections. This comes as Polished Brass or brushed as Satin Brass.

Uncoated bare brass has become increasingly popular as the nominated finish for both kitchen and bathroom tapware and fittings. Many designers and homeowners are favouring natural finishes within the home, embracing the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi – “an acceptance of transience and imperfection”. Bare brass adheres to this aesthetic, as it celebrates the impermanent beauty found in nature and in many handmade objects.
All Perrin & Rowe tap components are precision-machined from brass bar, stamped from solid brass or cast in moulds from molten brass. They are meticulously hand-polished to become the Polished Brass taps and can then be otherwise finished in Chrome, Nickel, Pewter or Gold. Satin Brass taps are hand brushed following the polishing process. All taps are then fully assembled by hand and tested to ensure perfect functionality.


Perrin & Rowe brass taps and accessories are uncoated and as such have a ‘living finish’. As a living finish and unlacquered, bare brass will develop an aged brass patina and unique character seen in old brassware. This will not affect the overall function of the fitting.

The only difference between Satin Brass and Polished Brass is that the surface of Satin Brass has been brushed to give it a matte finish. This means that chemicals will settle into the fine grooves of the brushing and therefore marks will appear more readily on Satin Brass than on the smooth surface of Polished Brass. These can appear as dark patches. For that reason, the Satin Brass finish is a good choice for those who want ageing to occur quickly.

To care for Satin Brass tapware, establish a simple routine of rinsing off the tap with warm water and drying it, particularly if it is spattered with cooking acids or chemicals such as toothpaste. Then relax and celebrate the changes!


As a living finish, the shiny, golden appearance of new Polished Brass will dull off over time, eventually darkening to acquire the look of aged brass. With initial use, expect that spotting will develop on the surface of uncoated brass from everyday chemicals splashing on to the fitting, particularly with taps which receive high use. Food acids such as lemon juice in the kitchen and bathroom products such as toothpaste and shaving foam are common causes. These marks contribute towards the final patina of the fitting.

If Polished Brass is just washed down with a mild detergent regularly, it eventually develops the characteristic patina. However, if desired, the shine can occasionally be restored with a very mild specialised abrasive cleaner like Brasso or Autosol Liquid Metal Polish.


Uncoated bare brass starts life with a golden hue and can patina off to a rich bronze over time. The time it takes for this to occur is very dependent on the locality and position of the installation. Ageing will happen quite evenly if the product is exposed to air only and left for a few months. If it is exposed to air and water as in an outdoor area it will patina faster, with verdigris also developing where there is salt in the air. This will not affect the function of taps and showers.

Because of its beauty and durability, uncoated bare brass is a prudent choice for alfresco kitchens and outdoor showers at beach houses. It is also a popular finish for kitchen and bathroom tapware and fittings in interior projects using natural materials.


The surfaces of copper and its alloys, such as brass and bronze, are antimicrobial. They have an inherent ability to kill a wide range of harmful microbes relatively rapidly – often within two hours or less – and with a high degree of efficiency. These antimicrobial properties have been demonstrated by an extensive body of research. The research also suggests that if touch surfaces are made with copper alloys, the reduced transmission of disease-causing organisms can reduce patient infections in hospital intensive care units (ICU) by as much as 58%.
Read more here: Source.

Choose brass for touchpoints through your home, such as the N6090 cabinet knob as featured in this Emily Armstrong Architects project photographed by Eve Wilson.


Featured products

Sign up to our newsletter to be in the running. Terms and conditions apply.

  1. Sign up for regular news & inspiration!

    Go in the draw to win $500 store credit. Terms & Conditions apply.