Doug Wells’ Obsession

Doug Wells
Doug Wells

With lots of brass pieces to choose from, Wells touts those with a warm, natural glow

If you’ve ever shopped for brass, then you know just how many variations of it exist. Among the shiny ’80s and popular revival styles is a warmer, more natural look. Knocked-down brass, a term coined by interior designer Doug Wells, displays a soft patina brought on by the natural aging process.

“Cooler metal tones have been popular for some time now, and people are looking for something new and different or, in this case, maybe something old and re-envisioned,” says Wells, owner of Wells Design Studio. “Natural brass has a warm glow and an inherent sense of quality. It’s sophisticated without being showy.”

Go au naturel in almost any space in your home with a warm brass lamp, pendant, chandelier, plumbing fixture, or bathroom and tabletop decorations. A versatile metal, it blends well with a range of color options, too, so pair it with any of your favorites—gray, brown, black, blue, red or white. If it’s your first time in search of brass furnishings, start small to see if you like the look by subtly adding it to bar carts and cocktail tables, in powder rooms, and on bookshelves.


“Another thing that I advocate is for clients to become more comfortable with less perfect objects, such as vintage pieces with patina,” he says. “I like to walk into a home and feel like it has a sense of history with some personality, and vintage pieces can help accomplish that goal.” So spend some time in local antique stores to find an authentic piece. But no matter how much you’ve come to love this particular patina, Wells reminds shoppers to not overdo it. “A little can go a long way,” he says.

If you’re craving a bit of a brighter brass, however, look to add some shine back into your home in the form of a satin-finished faucet or door hardware.