Farmhouse Renovation

The Best Unlacquered Brass Door Handles

unlacquered brass door handles on a Cushing green door with a fall where wreath
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The unlacquered brass door handles for our home were provided by Emtek.

My unlacquered brass door handles arrive shiny and new, yet with every touch they write a story. This perfectly describes the aesthetic I strived to achieve in our barn remodel. I set out to create a home that functions as new, but looks as if it has been around for years and has a story to tell!

close up of unlacquered brass handles on a black door

Today I’m sharing with you my beautiful Emtek unlacquered brass door handles we chose for the exterior doors on our barn. I am absolutely over the moon about them and can’t wait to see their “story” play out as they continue to age with grace over time… recording the prints of each friend of family member that crosses over the front threshold!

exterior show of the barn remodel

What is Unlacquered Brass?

Unlacquered brass is what they call a living metal, meaning it does not have the traditional, protective coating that you have probably come to associate with the brass of the 80s! When left alone to age, unlacquered brass will darken and patina over time, leaving the most gorgeous patina that only comes with age… like the perfect antique! Unlacquered brass may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for someone like me who enjoys a storied patina, it is absolute perfection!

close up of the exterior unlacquered brass door handles

Why I chose Unlacquered Brass Door Handles

When designing the barn, I knew from the beginning that I wanted the gorgeous patina of unlacquered brass hardware throughout our home – not only in the kitchen, but for the exterior doors as well! I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, but I did know a couple things… 1) it had to be unlacquered brass and 2) I wanted the door handles to have a beautiful long and rectangular rosette.

beautiful view of the barn kitchen with unlacquered brass drawer hardware

The Search for the Perfect Unlacquered Brass Entry Door Handle

I set off to begin my search for the perfect unlacquered brass door handle the same way anyone does… Instagram and Pinterest! As I began my search, I quickly discovered a common theme among the photos I was pinning – a beautiful dark painted door with show stopping brass door hardware! (To see where my dark painted door obsession started, read here). I mean what is not to love about the amazing contrast of brass against a dark entry door?! Take the gorgeous door and hardware below from the amazing Gil Schafer for example. The look is something I simply can’t get over… traditional, yet inviting … stylish, yet relaxed.

beautiful historical dutch door with unlacquered brass door handle from Gil Schafer
Photo Credit: Gil Schafer

In scrolling Instagram, I came across the stunning photo below and HAD to find out more about the pictured door handles! The color, the patina, the handle… everything about it was perfection! It didn’t take long to hear back and discover that this gorgeous hardware was an Emtek product. Having previously remodeled a home just 6 years ago, we have become quite familiar with Emtek Products and the quality that comes from this brand!

I should also add that I am hoping to use the same unlacquered brass door handles across both the barn remodel and for the french doors across the front of our main home. I love the idea of subtle details working together and creating a sense of continuity between the two structures! So with that being said, it was pretty important to find an unlacquered brass door handle that I was absolutely in love with… and that I did! Hello gorgeous!

beautifully patina on an unlacquered brass door handle called the Emtek Quincy plate with Merrimack lever on a painted black door
Photo Credit: Davis Construction Services and Tasha B. Davis Interiors

This beautiful unlacquered brass door handle and all of its combinations were exactly what I had been searching for, however, it goes to mention that the wonderful thing about Emtek is that they let you mix and match their knobs, levers and rosettes. I love that this gives the end user (me!) the creative freedom to design each piece according to ones own taste. The fact that there is no predetermined combination, allows you to integrate the door hardware with other pieces around the home flawlessly and with the utmost of intention.

The photo below is a prime example of how the designer utilized multiple Emtek handles styles, but kept them within the same finish and color family. It makes for a seamless transition between rooms and I love that! I should also mention that Emtek also offers a ton of finish options… including my coveted unlacquered brass door handles!

two door handle sets from Emtek
Photo Credit: @ourfrenchmodernhome found on Emtek

I reached out to Emtek directly via their Instagram page and they were quick to respond. The coveted unlacquered brass door handle that I had been looking for was none other that the Quincy Sideplate Single keyed in Unlacquered brass with Merrimack Lever.

unlacquered brass door handles Emtek Quincy with Merrimac handles against a black painted door

Having found THE perfect door handle, I placed an order for both the barn entry doors, as well as the a barn back door. The brass pairs beautifully with the interiors Sherwin Williams Iron Ore and the exterior Benjamin Moore Cushing Green. The Quincy plate and Merrimack lever capture everything I was looking for! A long “New York” style back plate, the living brass finish and the most beautiful lever style handle you’ve ever seen! The combination is bold, yet delicate all at the same time.

close up of the unlacquered brass door handle called the Emtek Quincy with Merrimac handle

As you can see in the photos, our Emtek handles have already begun to “write their own story.” Each finger print that graces this handle is a reminder of the stories created within this home and the friends and family who have (and will) enter within these doors.

While some might be bothered by the aging process of unlacquered brass, I adore watching the patina that builds and gracefully ages over time!

exterior shot of barn doors with fall wheat wreaths

Prefer the look of protected brass?

However, like I said, patinaed brass is not for everyone. Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the brass’s aged patina (although I’m not sure how one could) and crave the shiny luster of it’s original finish? The wonderful thing about these Emtek unlacquered brass door handles is that you can enjoy their beauty however it best suites you. To bring the brass hardware back to its original luster, simply take a soft rag and gently rub the living metal with a brass cleaner, such as Brasso, rinse with water, dry!

open door into the barn showing the unlacquered brass door handles

However you choose to enjoy the beautiful finish of your unlacquered brass door handles, they will always be a classic and timeless choice and the most inviting of ways to dress up your home!

Pin these Unlacquered Brass Door Handles for later!

The Best Unlacquered Brass Door Handles

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