March 19, 2009

Hooked on… copper!

chunk Kelly @ JAX Decor & Design

Thanks to Julia at Hooked on Houses for hosting another Hooked on Fridays :-)

I’ve been hooked on copper for a long time — ever since I was totally into southwest design and went on a holiday to Arizona in 1990. Not so much into southwest design now, but I still love copper — especially when it’s bright and shiny and new and has a beautiful warm glow :-) The verdigris (green patina) it acquires with age is beautiful too. Like on the roofs of the Parliament Buildings (center background) and the Chateau Laurier (right foreground) in Ottawa (photo from

chateau parliament

Parts of the Chateau Laurier roof were recently replaced with new copper, so it has a nice combination of shiny & verdigris copper. This layer of verdigris is formed by the reaction of air with copper and has a protective effect against further corrosion.

Just a little Copper 101 courtesy of Wikipedia. Don’t worry, this is a very non-scientific overview, not university chemistry!! ;-)

Chemical element symbol: Cu (Latin: cuprum)

In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name Cyprium (metal of Cyprus), later shortened to Cuprum.

Copper has a history of use that’s at least 10,000 years old. In Europe, Ötzi the Iceman, a well-preserved male dated to 3300-3200 BC, was found with an axe with a copper head 99.7% pure.

The Earth has an estimated 61 years of copper reserves remaining.

Copper is:

  • An essential trace nutrient to all high plant and animal life, including humans. Found primarily in the bloodstream.
  • A ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity.
  • Anti-germ/anti-bacterial.
  • Used for piping, electronics, architecture, biomedical applications, household products, and coins. By weight, US nickels are actually 25% nickel and 75% copper.

OK, that’s your copper lesson for the day :-) Now let’s take a look at copper used in beautiful ways… like the roofs on these two houses…

roof ornametals 2

roof ornametals 1

Two pictures above from

And a chimney

chimney copperexclusive

Moving indoors, copper is beautiful in the kitchen. Not only does it add warmth to a space, but because it’s anti-bacterial, it’s great for countertops. And the cool thing is that the appearance will change with the patina over time. I read somewhere that you can bring back the original copper colour by cleaning it with ketchup!

SteelCopperCountertops_02 bob vila

copper counter sink empire sheet metal 

copper countertop frigo design
hammered copper 

Countertop concord sheet metal
Countertop2 concord sheet metal

A beautiful copper vent hood

barrel-copper-hood trendir

A serious (and expensive!!) copper stove from La Cornue in France…

susan palmer designs lacornue stove bgd

Small copper kitchen accessories too…         

copper kitchen stuff this old house0

Copper sink with wall-mounted faucet in the bathroom…

copper sink archie

And some copper pedestal sinks (all remaining sink & tub pictures from

copper pedestal

westbrass-hammered-copper-pedestal-sink trendir

Even a copper whirlpool tub!!

aquatic-whirlpools-serenity-27-air-bath trendir

And funky copper bar sinks

trendir elkay-mystic-river-sink-antique-copper-50-inch

trendir native-trails-luna-sink-thumb  trendir native-trails-rio-grande-bar-sink

I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to use copper in our house. I’d LOVE to have a copper faucet in the kitchen. Maybe a copper countertop too. But for now, these small touches of copper will have to do…

 copper pulls 2
copper pull 3

I really would have rather replaced the cabinets than just the door & drawer handles — but even with 47 handles to replace, that was the cheaper option!! ;-) I used brushed copper handles on the doors and pulls on the drawers. The styles are different, but the same finish ties them together.


kleenex towels Not really copper — closer to oil rubbed bronze. But on both pieces, copper shows through from under the darker colour.

copper switch

The switch plate cover isn’t really copper. I painted a regular plastic white switch plate cover with metallic copper paint, rubbed on some burnt umber paint to make it look a bit aged, and finished it with a couple of coats of sealer. 7 years later, it’s still in great shape!!

Oh, and I can’t forget… Rosa, the copper-coloured horse!!

rosa headSo there you go — warm & wonderful copper outside and inside, in all different shapes and sizes :-)

Now head on back to Hooked on Houses to see what everyone else is hooked on this Friday…



Unknown said...

What an interesting and informative post. I love those copper bar sinks.

Christy said...

Now I'm hooked on copper too. Beautiful photo of Rosa. And impressive faux-copper on your light switch, seven years later! Bravo!

Paul Anater said...

Check out the copper faucets from Herbeau and Rocky Mountain Hardware sometimes. They make me drool.

Remodeling Guy said...

WOW WOW WOW... I'm loving this post and, if I wasn't already, I'm hooked on copper now myself!
I might even try and make a copper sink...would that be crazy of me?


Terry said...

I like my copper outdoors and aged: roof, chimney cap, gutter and downspout.

Anonymous said...

I have a copper collection of kitchen items from my mother. Molds and colanders and lovely things to display. I've never had the right space in which to showcase them, but I may create that space soon. Great photographs! ~Arleen


Yesterday I was invited to visit a new Chateau that is being built here in Victoria. The roof has 3 different kinds of slate shingles and cooper roofs with the most beautiful finials - just stunning!

Tiaa @ EYInteriors said...

Kelly, this post gave me a new love for copper. I especially loved the copper stove! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

Darija said...

I love the copper countertops! I use ketchup or tomato sauce to shine up my copper bottomed pans all the time.

Anonymous said...

You made me want to put copper in every room! I love it! I've always like the look of it when it ages and turns green. Beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

That copper roof made me swoon. :)

Anonymous said...

Now you have me hooked on copper. Was never into it before, but after this blog post I can see just how beautiful it is. Your pictures really show it off. I love Rosa the best though!

Porchlight Interiors said...

Wow, amazing pictures - I love the copper roof! I also have a thing for copper pans in the kitchen and was very excited to find some wholesale French ones at the last trade fair - fabulous! Have a wonderful weekend! Tracey xx

amariaf2000 said...

Oh, to have some copper on my house - would be amazing!! I love copper!! Those pedestal sinks are unbelievable!! I am going to the home improvement store tonight, I may have to buy some kind of copper(ish) accent while I'm there!
~angela @ peonypatch

modernemama said...

Love the copper roof and the sinks but most of all Rosa.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

WOW. My jaw dropped when I saw that first house with the copper roof and it hasn't come back up yet. What a great post! Love that you included Rosa the horse. And thanks for the copper lesson, too. :-)

So glad to see you at my blog party today. Have a great weekend!

Suzy said...

Love this post...I am surely in love with copper. I love me some copper hammered sinks and pots. I just wish it wasn't so expensive!!
Around here they're steeling all the copper off the outside of houses and churches. Those people with the roofs, must have an alarm on the roof...

Decor To Adore said...

Love Copper!
Happy Friday, Happy Spring, Happy~Happy Everything!

My Galveston Cottage said...

I haven't seen, I don't think, a copper countertop. Lot of stainless but not copper. I love it!! Now, you've got me hooked. I've been so in to old copper cookware lately, but now I want an island with copper top, like above! cheers -susan

Pam Kersting said...

Oh, what a great post! I love copper and other natural metals, woods, etc. Especially in those kitchens! Thanks for the Copper 101 lesson too. The only thing I have left to add is although those roofs were truly beautiful, the plants beneath them will not be happy. Copper runoff from roofs is deadly to plants! I have seen driplines of buildings that pierce through all of the shrubbery below. It burns right through the plant like acid. Go figure!

Kristin said...

I love the copper look too! I imagine it is expensive stuff to put in your kitchen though!

Tom Erdman said...

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for the great post. You've inspired me to maybe look to use this material...somehow. Thank you for the kind words on my other project. Have a great weekend.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Kelly, your post is terrific. I have never seen homes with roofs completely done in cooper. They are stunning. I have a huge crush on the copper stove & the pedestal sink. Oh, that funky bar sink..too cool.
Thanks so much for the kind comments on my blog today. I was thrilled. I know what you meant about the ceiling fan. My husband was smart enough to turn them on when I took the photo, so no one could focus on how terrible they are!! They need replacing too.
I look forward to your future posts (:

Meg said...

Wow! The houses with the copper roofs are to-die-for. Lovely. And you have a pic of my favorite stove - La Cornue - it is lovely in copper. Even though we just bought our first house, I can't wait to build our own, so that I can have my dream kitchen :) Thanks for sharing and visiting me! I hope you are doing well and enjoying the start of spring!!

Things That Inspire said...

I always love when beautiful white houses have copper accents.

Precision Quality Laser said...

Hi :) I popped over from Remodeling Guy. I LOVE the copper countertops! Reminds me of an upscale restaurant I used to live next to. How cool would they be with black cabinetry? Now you have me thinking about this in our kitchen! :)

Anonymous said...

Copper is so warm, it's hard not to love it!

Amanda said...


I am looking for a nice copper paint for my boyfriend's bedroom. Ralph Lauren just came out with a great line of metallic paints, but don't have copper! I was wondering if you could recommend any?

reply to: amandalickers[at]

Rutland said...

Rutland shares your enthusiasm for the use of architectural copper, such as the nice example of copper roofing in your blog and the copper kitchen components. Copper works great for roof domes, cupolas, finials, chimney caps, widows walks, roof vents, copper gutters, range hoods, sinks, pot racks, counter tops, backsplashes, etc. But aside from how elegant and classy copper is on the exterior and interior of homes, copper is also one of the most environmentally friendly and green building material in the world. Copper does not require painting, coatings and very little maintenance while being very resistant to corrosion and lasting for many decades or centuries. Copper is also the best when it comes to recycling at nearly 100%. Inside the home copper's elegance is complemented by astounding health benefits such as copper's ability to kill off germs, viruses, bacteria and microbes which come in contact with a copper surface. Copper home decor is beautiful, eco-friendly, healthy and truly amazing! Loved your post!
Rutland Architectural Copper

Thomas Hill said...

Copper looks good on everything, though it depends on how you'll use it. Though, due to the strength and beauty of copper, there's a part of my home that contains one, which is my my roof gutters (Boston-based contractors were the ones who installed them).

Though not totally made of copper, but I had my door painted in that color with an aging look, since I love hard wood doors. Boston, where I bought mine, has a lot of selections for me to choose from.

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