Faucet + fixture finishes

I am working on several new homes and remodels and it seems most of my talk with clients always comes back to the same topic over and over again…fixture finishes.

You know… polished nickel, polished chrome, brushed nickel, bronze, brass, natural brass, polished brass and on and on.

Hardware finish reference!

 Whether its faucets, light fixtures, tub faucets or cabinet hardware..it’s a challenge!

The tough thing is different companies and manufacturer often used slightly different terms to define their various finishes. All finishes apparently are NOT created equal. Just you to try to match different brands.  Not for the faint hearted!;


The little key above from Restoration does a pretty good job of showing the basic difference between polished chrome and polished nickel. One of the biggest issues in this debate.  To me, polished nickel is still shiny and classic but not quite as cold as polished chrome. When I think of polished chrome I think of water spots and very very old school.  Which is not bad just sayin.  I think polished nickel is a great compromise between chrome and satin, when it is available!
Although after this ad campaign below, I will pretty much love anything Kohler does!  I mean seriously the styling..and the tub!  Good job Big K!


Their new Treshman collection has me “like a shaw sink with a perrin rohl faucet on Sally Wheat cabinets”!;; I love the pedestal sinks and toilets, yes toilets! Forget you Toto.


Oh yes Kohler, you had me at gallery wall and wallpaper. Brilliant marketing/styling/branding eh?!


But back to hardware/fixtures

lt’s all about preferences! Do you like bronze door knobs but brushed hardware and shouldn’t a faucet always be polished? (my personal view)

It’s crazier than church people talking about hymns versus praise choruses. Yes indeed, hardware finishes are almost a spiritual matter, at the end of the day it often comes down to personal preference and past experiences; I find sometimes a client won’t want chrome because it reminds them of a scary bathroom in grade school or a mean babysitter’s kitchen.  Or the brass is just too much like our parents 1980s dream home!;


Personally I feel over brushed nickel suddenly (though I have it in my house) and I am loving dark bronze almost black hinges and doors and knobs (unless you paint your doors black or dark gray which I also love) it looks so vintage to me.

And I am all about brass but not too much brass.  I remember the first time I saw brass on kitchen cabinets in a movie this century (does anyone remember the movie, it was a white kitchen with brass cabinet knows and Meg Ryan was in it maybe..it was a Nancy Meyer type movie but not by her I don’t think)  and I realized “OMG brass is coming back…oh no it will never happen” and now look at me putting brass pendants in house all over the US and Canada!

BTW, thanks to the commenters who reminded me that film was THE WOMEN! THANK YOU!

 kitchen 3

This photo below from a California show house is a great illustration of bronze knobs and brass pendants and metal stools and stainless appliances and chrome or nickel pot filler. And it works.  I think brass knobs would have been too matchy poo.

mix of hardware finishes - love this! from Santa Barbara Design House and Gardens Showhouse - Traditional Home


Oh yes we can’t start a conversation about finishes and not bring in Visual Comfort and their amazing hand rubbed finishes!


So so lovely.


So where do you stand on this?  Do you like it all to match (it’s okay if you do) or do you like to mix it up?? If so when is too much in your view?  What is your favorite finish? I just saw where Amerock just came out with a new finish, “carmelized” something…Lord help us!

Oh and does anyone remember that movie???

Subway tile

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I have been consulting on several bathrooms and kitchens this summer so this has been a frequent discussion for me….i say or the client says “would you just do subwa?y” and then i say again “i would just do subway” and we all say “i love simple subway tile” and we do and its classic but its trendy too..i mean it is a trend ..but its also classic.  I said that already.  It’s just we get into that “toile thing” of “is it so trendy its not classic and will we all be redoing subway in twenty years?” No one can be sure what will ultimately be a turnoff down the road but i know for sure a classic application of subway makes me swoon and has for a long time..same with hexagonal tiles (shown on the floor below).  I thought they were cool when i walked into my hometown bank when i was a kid (you know the black and white tiles with the border and it spelled out bank in front of the door) and i still love them…

So once we get over that question of trend and do we care, then it gets down to which tile to choose.  Most tile companies carry MANY tiles that would be considered subway or subway inspired..various sizes and color.  It can be overwhelming..you think you are going with “simple subway tile” but if you pinterest too much or go into too many showrooms it can get confusing.

And then we get into this issue of where to stop and start…

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I mean do we go all the way up or 48″ of what?? lately (probably becuase i have little boys) i have been saying “all the way up” in bathrooms, the walls too not just shower. I do love the look of a subway “wall” where it really covers some area, even in a kitchen…i mean i woud be happy with just my backsplash done in it but a whole wall..awesome.  Why do we love it so…what does a little rectangle of tile have on us?? Whether its a “wall” or just a wainscot height or backsplash.

 Maybe it’s the grout..do you like white grout, dark grout, gray grout??

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i really like it one of three ways..dark, white or gray…and i am not sure what i would choose personally…i am anxious to hear your experience with the grout colors and use.

Anna Spiro via LGN

 and of course you can go colors other than white for your subway tile..you can go green, brown, pale green, even black

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the black is pretty striking huh??

and  i do love glossy and beveled..anyone agree?? but the matte is okay too.. Oh yes we will be talking about the Walker Zanger beveled tile and Ann Sacks, etc.

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so whether you go short or tall with it, dark or light grout, small or large size tile…whatever you prefer share it here and i am going to tell you a few insider tips and subway preferences from my design friends and other bloggers… Check back later in the week for more. 

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