Introducing the brass section

Pair of Georgian antique brass candlesticks | H is for Home

We did a product review for Wayfair the other day in which we created an autumn table setting – all dark and dramatic – with shimmering metallics, fruit, berries, pine cones and so on. It was a pleasure to take the photos as we love this time of year (Justin prefers it to summer, actually). It got us in the mood for autumn pleasures. If the weather is kind, there are glorious autumn walks to be had amongst the turning leaves, inviting country pubs to rest in… and then hunkering down in a cosy house.

Detail of a pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

So what makes it feel cosy? How do we achieve our Pennine version of Hygge! Well, there’s the beloved wood burning stove to start with (now in both the lounge and a bedroom). Then all the little extras – woolly jumpers, thick socks, warm blankets, mugs of hot tea, fairy lights… and of course candles. We had them accessorising the aforementioned autumn table setting – and have them dotted around all over the house.

Nothing beats the twinkling light of real candles in the evening – and we’re often amazed at what bargains there are to be had in antique centres, charity shops and auctions when it comes to candle holders – in particular, vintage brass ones. The pair shown are a recent acquisition and demonstrate the point perfectly. A very sweet pair of small Georgian brass candlesticks – £12 in our local antiques centre.

Underside of an antique Georgian brass candlestick | H is for Home

We often see nice examples when we’re out and about. We love the mellow colour of antique brass – it’s got such warmth – and the way candle light shimmers on the reflective metal surface. The combination of brass (and other metallics such as copper and pewter) with the dark paint shades that are very much in vogue in home and restaurant interiors at the moment, looks really fabulous. The antique examples are such good quality too – they have good weight, craftsmanship and nice detailing to them.

Pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

And don’t worry about finding pairs. Some were made as single candle holders of course, but even if they were made as a pair and one’s missing its partner, just make a collection of the odd ones. The different shapes and heights look fabulous grouped together.

Three antique Georgian brass candlesticks with mid-century modern brass horse figure | H is for Home

So, here ends the promotional advert for the brass candle-holder association!! No not really – and we haven’t got a job lot of 500 brass candlesticks to sell either. We just thought it was worth highlighting the amazing bargains that are out there – and hopefully get you in the mood for autumn too!

Home Tones: Brass

Antique brass-mirror and hand basin tapscredit

In previous Home Tones posts, we’ve featured a range of metallics such as gold, pewter, copper and steel – today, it’s the turn of brass. It’s a warm, inviting colour which we have dotted about our own house. It works with both our antique and mid century modern pieces. It comes in various tones depending how much it’s aged or has been polished.

Brass can have a wonderful reflective quality – and light can also play differently depending on whether the metal has a smooth finish or is beaten into a textured surface. It looks fabulous with spotlighting – or even better, flickering candles.

It works well with the natural shades of wood, wicker, seagrass and Hessian. It’s often used with cream and white paints where its reflective qualities enhance the light & airy feel… but we particularly love it against dark greys where it has real dramatic impact.

House extension clad in brasscredit

Brass-clad kitchen cabinetcredit

brass light switch finger plate and picture frame on a stairwaycredit

Antique brass bed in traditional styled bedroomcredit

Dark painted kitchen with brass and copper accessoriescredit

Bathroom with black roll top bath and brass accessoriescredit

Kitchen with 3 hanging brass lampshades and other brass accessoriescredit

Price Points: Moscow Mule mugs

Moscow Mule mugs

Moscow Mule – it sounds so Cold War Soviet Union. In fact, the cocktail was invented in the early 1940s by two American drinks distributors.

On 28 July 1948, it was reported in the New York Herald Tribune:

“The mule was born in Manhattan but ‘stalled’ on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of ‘Little Moscow’ was in New York’s Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise. Here was ginger beer in crockery bottles tasting exactly like that of old England.”

“Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G. F. Heublein Brothers, Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, ‘We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius.’ Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan’s ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule… and for a number of obvious reasons. “

The exact reason why Moscow Mules are traditionally drunk out of copper mugs is a bit lost in time. However, the material certainly suits this cocktail – the metal keeps the drink colder for longer, necessitating less ice. And it apparently makes the acidic lime taste sharper.

I’d happily quaff Moscow Mules from any of three of the mug collections above. But I’d choose the hammered version over the other two. Firstly, I like my mugs with a handle – there are no freezing (or burning, if glugging Glühwein) fingers to contend with. Additionally, I know it goes against what I’ve just said, but the hammered body is so tactile…

  1. Copper Moscow Mule mugs (set of 4): $63, Food52
  2. Set of 6 pure hammered copper Moscow Mule mugs: £83.25, Amazon
  3. Tom Dixon Plum Moscow Mule glasses, set of 2: £55, John Lewis

Home Tones: Steel

'Home Tones' blog post banner

Stainless steel kitchencredit

Steel – the material and the colour is this week’s Home Tones. By its very nature, steel has a solid and durable quality. It has real presence in a space – strong and timeless. It’s probably most often used in kitchens and kitchen diners, but we’ve found some wonderful images of it being utilised in bathrooms, lounge areas and bedrooms too. And not forgetting outdoor spaces where metal planters and garden furniture can look fabulous in contemporary designs. It’s the perfect partner for lighter shades of wood such as beech and birch – and looks amazing set against various shades of purple, orange and grey.

sitting room with purple armchairs and large steel ceiling pendant lightcredit

Stainless steel bathroom sink consolecredit

steel four-poster bedcredit

Modern stainless steel fire extractor fluecredit

Home work desk with metal chaircredit

Large outdoor steel planterscredit

Eileen Greyttype chrome & glass bedside tablecredit

Home Tones: Copper

'Home Tones' blog post banner

Kitchen with copper range, saucepans and utensilscredit

The current fashion for using copper in interiors shows no sign of abating. This metallic tone isn’t sterile like stainless steel can often feel. It’s also not as ‘bling’ as gold; it’s warm, soft and sumptuous. It works very well with dark paint shades, particularly grey – another strong trend over recent years. It also lends itself to being used alongside a wide variety of textures; from concrete to velvet, wood to suede. Whether you’re aiming for a luxe or utilitarian look, copper will work wonderfully well.

Copper roll top bath, mirror and accessoriescredit

Collection of large spherical lampshades in an open-plan kitchen dinercredit

Luxurious bedroom with bedside copper lamp and bed linencredit

Dark wood and metal contemporary kitchencredit

An all white modern kitchen with metallic furniture and finishingscredit

Copper cantilevered house exteriorcredit

Utilatarian shower and towel warmercredit