A clever chemical treatment transforms plain steel panels into an artistic statement.
Most kitchen pantries keep a low profile. Tucked into corners, they step aside to make space for the room’s A-listers: a large kitchen island, a French-door refrigerator. When art is involved, however, conventional thinking becomes less important.
Such is the case with this striking pantry, which, far from fading into the background, acts as the linchpin around which the rest of the home’s design revolves.
Given its prominent location, an interesting material was in order, says Mark Lind, senior project designer at CG&S Design Build. On an earlier project, Lind gave steel sheets used for an outdoor shed a vintage feel simply by sanding them, applying salt, and leaving them out for a few days in the rain. This time, however, he was looking for something more controlled. Fortunately the homeowner, Jay Gammell, a senior project estimator at CG&S, was a metal sculptor in a previous life.
Gammell treated the steel panels with chemicals to give nature’s natural oxidizing process a little guidance. A Japanese Brown patina acted as the base, over which Gammell splashed on sulphur nitrate, cupric nitrate, and sodium phosphate to get the look of aged copper. He then sealed the deal with Permalac. While the result has the look of a pricey piece of vintage copper, the materials and process used are a far more affordable alternative. “The most important thing is that you seal it correctly,” Gammell says. “If you don’t, it will continue to oxidize and change.” After all, “this is just elegant rust.”
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