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Classic Finish: Once and Always Chrome

September 23, 2016

Other kitchen and bath finishes come and go (remember antique brass?), but chrome never goes out of style. Chrome remains my go-to finish when I want a design to come across as clean, bright and tailored. 

Chrome is one of the more common elements on the earth. Chromium ore, also known as chromite, comes from a few sites around the world and is an important resource in South Africa, Turkey, Russia and India. Most people know chrome from its distinctive shine, but chrome almost never occurs in nature that way. Rather, it's combined with other elements to form compounds that do everything from give rubies their red color to allow human beings to metabolize sugar. 

Chrome was an important pigment long before it became a faucet finish. Here's a fun chrome fact: The yellow color of a school bus is actually chrome yellow, a paint derived from chromium ore. 

It wasn't until the early 1920s that somebody figured out how to electroplate base metals with chrome. It was in that same period that the chrome faucet made its debut. The corrosion-resistance and luster of chrome plating made it an instant hit. It's been the most common faucet finish sold ever since. 

These days, chrome competes for attention against brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and others. Something tells me, though, that it's chrome that will have the staying power. What about you?


The combination of a chrome bridge faucet, a chrome sprayer and glass knobs on the cabinetry take the shine of the stainless steel refrigerator and spread it throughout this whole kitchen, though with an appealing subtlety.


A vanity such as this one is what I meant when I described chrome as "tailored." The chrome wall-mounted faucet, chrome sconces and chrome hardware on the vanity itself are as pulled together as a Chanel suit.


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