Materials Matter

A home should be designed to withstand the test of time—structurally and aesthetically. So when architect Chris Reebals embarks on a new project, he thinks beyond the move-in date. “I contemplate how the design will mature over time and how the architectural elements will weather,” he says. Here are a few materials with a track record of aging gracefully.

Copper. When exposed to the elements, the orangey metal oxidizes and develops an aqua green patina widely known as ‘verdigris.’ The rich finish is not only striking, it naturally strengthens the metal against corrosion.

Natural stone. Over time, a velvety moss can develop on porous stone to produce an enchanting, fairy tale effect. The hint of color also helps highlight the green shades in the landscape.

Unlacquered brass. Without its protective coating, the shiny yellow metal can dull and form a brown patina that is often desirable to those seeking a lived-in look. Unlacquered brass is also lower maintenance than its coated counterpart. It doesn’t require the amount of polishing, and fingerprints are welcome.

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“Messy” mortar brick. A “messy” mortar helps new brick mimic the splotchy look of brick and stone on centuries-old European castles.

Reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood has major eco-friendly benefits, but its knots, scrapes, and nail holes are also character-building. They give it a special, storied quality that can be traced to its origin—often a deconstructed barn, ship, or building.

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