Will oil-rubbed bronze go out of style?

momtothreeFebruary 2, 2009

A lot of homes that we have looked at have the ORB faucets. Is this just a fad? My sister and brother-in-law built about 5-6 years ago, and the models then didn't have it.

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I write a blog site discussing various DIY and home improvement issues and this was the subject of one of my musings just last week. I like ORB but honestly feel that it is destined to join avocado green, harvest gold and all the other myriad colors that have come and gone in the past years. My particular nemesis was almond. We were so taken with it and so sure that it was the "thing" to have that we did the appliances, sink, formica(trimmed with wood) and last but not least the faucet all in Almond. It didnt take long before instead of looking fashionable it began to just look dirty. We finally got rid of it 2 years ago in favor of the newest "fad" stainless steel and granite. I can only hope this fad lasts longer than the last. The economy is too bad for me to ever be able to afford to change the darn kitchen again!
In reality I believe the downfall of ORB will be that the finish isnt and probably won't hold up. Some brands have already had problems with it turning purple or wearing unevenly making it look terrible. Only time will tell as to what they all will look like by the time it goes out of style...well at least you can justify spending the money to change it...LOL

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 8:38AM
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Just about everything goes out of style eventually. I would not, however, go with the ORB appliances. In the big scheme of things, replacing a faucet and knobs/pulls in a few years won't be a huge expense. Go with what you like! But then I have ORB knobs, pulls and faucet so I may be a bit biased. I like it and have had it for over a year and don't see myself changing it any time soon.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:08AM
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Everything goes in and out of style, but some things remain classic when used appropriately. ORB will always look right in the Tuscan/Mediterranean kitchens (which, in turn, may go out of style someday). I personally hate ORB with classic white inset cabs, but that's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:15PM
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Just as soon as I finally finish replacing all my solid brass fixtures! :>) I actually have two planters in ORB with a solid brass trim, and so can tie in my brass planters (I have lots of plants in my kitchen- so this is related!)What I like is now I can let go of having to polish it up. I am going to paint the fake brass hall light fixtures ORB, and hopefully by the time the next cycle comes on through- I can just buy new!

But, I haven't committed to a finish for the upstairs doors (downstairs rooms are brushed nickel), cuz I'm kinda wondering the same thing. I have ORB throughout the kitchen, just bought ORB swing-arm wall lamps for the Master BR (those were not easy to find), and I'm teetering as to what kind of handles I should get. Door handles are not cheap- so these will not be replaced! BTW, I lean to a more Craftsman traditional style, and like the ORB with it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:57PM
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ORB seems to me to be something that is going to go out of style. Some classic things seem to cycle in and out of popularity. I don't think ORB is one of those things. I think a lot of people won't care for it once the dark finish has worn completely off.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 6:31PM
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My plumbing supply person told me that finishes come and go and that ORB is close to being out--I guess it has been seriously around for about 8 years. She thinks it only has a few more. We'll see...

I think chrome is the most timeless, though maybe not the most exciting!

All that being said--do what you want and what you like!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:20PM
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If ORB does go out, any thoughts of what will be in?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 6:24AM
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"If ORB does go out, any thoughts of what will be in?"

I think it will still be in the silvery toned line...pewter, stainless, brushed nickel, etc. Oh good god I hope it's not brass!!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:09AM
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I do think ORB will go out, because the market was TOO full of it. When I was looking for lighting, it was difficult to find anything else. Walking into store after store full of no other options made me want to find something different.

The only ORB thing in our house is the front door knob/handle set. I noticed the other day that the top side of the knob (inside) is losing its dark finish...and not in a nice, soft, glowing way, but some of it looks like scratches, even though they're not scratches in the sense that they go into the metal so you can feel them. Like the rest of the door hardware in our house, it's an Emtek, which seem to be of good quality, so I wouldn't think that their finish is any worse than anyone else's. Of course, that might not happen on cabinet knobs since there is less surface area to wear.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Circus Peanut

Hey Rhome, I was just noticing the very same thing on my Emtek ORB front door knob/handle set. It's definitely getting scratched the same way you describe on the outside of the deadbolt keyhole (from dangling keys) -- as though dark paint is scratching off -- and I'm not terribly pleased since it's only about 6 months old.

I'm not a big ORB fan, but then again brushed nickel has lasted far longer than I ever thought it would, either.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 2:40PM
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I am not a huge fan of ORB faucets, but I like it for hardware in my old house, especially as the finish develops a patina.

Brass or iron probably would have been used here originally I guess, and the look is similar.

I also like it for lighting, as opposed to a shiny brass.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Circuspeanut, where I notice it on ours is on the top of the knob on the inside where there's no exposure to keys...So I don't know what's doing it. On the outside, there are the same type of marks where the thumb goes to push down the lever. We need hand lotion or shorter fingernails? ;-) No marks around the key hole, but someone is usually home, so we don't have to unlock it from the outside very often.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 4:21PM
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Gosh I hope not. When I bought this house new in 1980, the choices were polished brass, silver, or a sort of burnished gold. I can't remember what they called it back then.

Most of my light fixtures, doorknobs, etc are still that tacky darkened gold. I was just getting used to being in style again.

You just have to get what you like and then live long enough. It'll come back.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 7:10PM
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How true, janward. We bought our house in 1989. The kitchen had been totally remodeled in 1973. Harvest gold *everything*. Seriously, everything. We couldn't afford to do much with it so we lived with the running joke. "When harvest gold comes back, we'll know it's time to change it."

One day, DH and I were walking by Williams and Sonoma... Low and behold, right in the window was a harvest gold mixer. That is when we started our kitchen project.

I hate ORB, my sister loves it. Neither of us have it but she touches every ORB faucet in the store. I don't think she cares if it's in style or not.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 7:22PM
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I don't think any hardware finish need go in or out of style if it is used appropriately. A traditional colonial revival house will always look "correct" with shiny brass no matter what--not the height of fashion, but appropriate.

Oil rubbed bronze will always look ok in a craftsman, for example. The problem is when the "new, hot finish" just gets grafted into houses where it doesnt necessarily add to the look or make design sense, it is just there because it is trendy.

I dunno about amyone else, but I am replacing my hardware when it fails, if ever--I and not going to contribute to a landfill just to be fashionable.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 7:23PM
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I hope not, too! I think anything used in "moderation" and in keeping with the decor of the room will always be "in style". My kitchen has great rusty, earthy red-brown tiles and cinnamony cabinets. ORB was my first choice for faucets because it looks like it has a patina already. I really like the aged look.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 7:25PM
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