Showing posts with label mirrors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mirrors. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the wall

A very tall zinc-look mirror from Wisteria.  If they shipped to Canada, I would own this (heaven knows where I'd put it)!

One of my favorite design elements is the humble looking glass, which is simply that, a piece of mirrored glass.  Nothing could be more basic, yet mirror designs and styles are endless.  I am even more of a mirror junkie than I am a lamp junkie.  I immediately gravitate to mirrors, the more elaborate the better, the larger the better, the more "old world" the better.   I would love to have a grand antique mirror, particularly one where the old glass has taken on a weathered silvery patina.

My love of mirrors has nothing to do with vanity.  I don't care how I look in them - I love what they do to a room.  I love light and space and airiness and mirrors confer that on a room.  They expand a space and its light, mightily. 

Decorators and designers say that a mirror should only reflect what is already a wonderful view.  And I can't help but agree with them.  I find that mirrors look best in places where they can reflect the light from a window, or where they are adjacent to a window so that you see "outside" in them...trees, the sky...a doubling of the view. 

Below are a small selection of mirror photos I've compiled.

Though I was just chatting with a blogging friend today about the fact that I don't think a room always needs a focal point, I do think a great mirror makes a captivating feature in an otherwise simple bathroom: 
Images above from: Traditional Home, "Dwellings" by Stephen Sills and James Huniford, and Phoebe Howard 

There is also the ubiquitous over-mantle mirror, a classic look I never tire of.  One may love their art, but a mirror can be just as captivating.  And for the budget-conscious rarely tire of a mirror like you might a work of art!

This contemporary frame over a character mantle is from Martha Stewart:
And nothing says classic like this traditional mirror (below) from Australian House Beautiful (via Simply Natural):

Another old world charmer from Shoot Factory:

This room, with its rather traditional bones, is by William Hefner (via Things that Inspire...a favorite room of both of ours).  It looks crisp and fresh with clean-lined transitional furniture and a modern, nickel mirror over the mantle: 

Celebrated NY designer Christopher Maya agrees with the mirror over mantle approach.  Even harder than finding great art for this prime spot is finding a mirror this good!:

And you can't help but love an OVERSIZE mirror, leaning casually against a wall.  I really covet this gigantic architectural mirror, in Windsor Smith's California house: 
And this beauty, in a beautiful country living room from House to Home:

I also love the look of mirrored closets, which one does not see often enough (images from Shoot Factory):
Or how about a mirrored armoire, which isn't something you see every day?  It captures both the light, and your attention (image from Shoot Factory).  Note also the mirrored panel on the wall, adjacent to the armoire, which doubles the effect!:
I also adore trumeau-style mirrors, which have a carved panel above the mirror:
I snapped this photo (above) of a reproduction trumean in Paris at one of my favorite shops, Blanc D'Ivoire on rue du Bac.  Trumeau mirrors look especially nice atop mantles.  I am unsure of their origin or original purpose.  I wonder if they were used on dressing tables, or in hallways, or perhaps always used over mantles? 

Speaking of dressing tables, vanities are a wonderful location for a beautiful mirror (image below from Brissi UK).

Mirrors also look lovely above a headboard, and form a perfect focal point. Typically small mirrors work best (and are safest) over a bed.  I like this small but elaborate round mirror from House Beautiful (and would like to see it up close):

Mirrors are also the perfect complement to a console table, in a bedroom, living room, or hallway (images below House to Home and Country Home):

Another favorite image, which I have posted before, shows a classical living room with a note of whimsy in the selection of the modern chandeliers and the mismatched console tables, complete with mismatched mirrors and lamps.  The symmetrical arrangement lends a traditional air, but the owner clearly has a devilish streak (image House to Home):

I have many, many more mirror photos on hand, but these are some of my favorites.  

Which one(s) do you like best?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Farrow & Ball Experiment: Good Colour Gone Bad

This weekend, I finally got down to business and painted the gilded golden mirror from my front hall.  Sorry, I forgot to take a before picture, so I snapped this right after I tried the first stroke of paint:  I have owned this mirror for 18 years - it was part of a trio of affordable antiques I bought at a shop in Montreal as a student.  This photo was taken in my comfy, cozy family room (which you never get to see... it needs a decor intervention) where I could paint whilst watching HGTV! I was getting a little bored with the golden look, so I decided to paint it Farrow & Ball's Charleston Gray, which appears to be a milky medium brown with a gray undertone on the card... However, the mirror basically turned out a taupey-gray, reading much more gray than brown after two coats.  
You can really see the difference in lower light:
I will note that the finish doesn't look great because I painted it with an eggshell finish (since I used a $7 sample pot and this was the only finish available) and planned to urethane it with a semi-gloss when I was done.

But I was very unhappy with the colour and didn't bother to finish it.  I wanted it browner, like the card, to match a brown rug I have in the foyer and pick up the brown lamp in my living room (which is an almost identical shade to the card).  I do like this colour - complex and unique, but it looked like total crap on my mirror.  

Since it was now Sunday and Maria Tomas (the Farrow & Ball supplier) was closed, I went to my local Benjamin Moore store and bought a chocolate brown, called Van Buren Brown (HC-70), which I have read decorators rave about in House Beautiful (I read their "Color" pages in each issue religiously).

Here is Van Buren Brown, in progress:

And on the wall (below).  The colour is much too dark, but at least it coordinates with the darker tones in the furniture.  This is after a single coat!
I'm happy to see that the colour matches the chip, perfectly:  
The colour looks just like melted chocolate and is quite lovely, but too dark.  I will note that I went darker than I wanted because, in the past, Benjamin Moore colours have looked significantly lighter on the wall than on the card...(with three shade I've tried to date).  So now I will have to paint a second coat and mix in some white paint to lighten it.

Eventually I want a new, much larger mirror in this location, and I really need to add some art.  But for now, I hope it will suffice when it's toned down a little.  The brown will coordinate with my cushy brown rug and my rose-pink light fixture.

'Til next time...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

About A Mirror (please help!)

My favorite antique store has a mirror I admire.  I like the unusual shape and detail.  The price was recently reduced and I'm considering buying it.  You see, I have a thing for mirrors (an illness really).  

I would place it in our living room or perhaps the front hall.  And no, we don't need it.  It's been in the shop since summer and I was shocked to still see it there today - her stuff moves fast. But the price is a little steep, so I might make her a lower offer.  

Here's a closer view:
The bottom (blocked by the lamp) does not have the same flourish of detail as the top but is just rounded (like the sides).  I find it quite pretty and odd.  

I don't care for the gilded (gold) colour and would consider painting it.  To get a feeling for what it would look like painted, I photoshopped the photo to show different paint colours.  

Metallic Chocolate Brown (I love this):
White (not so much), but cream might be nice!
Black metallic (nice also)

I'm even considering a grey or taupe:

The possibilities are endless.  But I'm wondering:
(i) do you like this mirror (or is it too granny)?
(ii) do you think it's a crime to paint it (it is an antique and has a lovely crackle to the glaze)?

Opinions are always a helpful reality-check, so give me yours!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Neutral It Is!

Inspiration rooms on my way to finding a "perfect" neutral wall colour:
After months of serious deliberation, I’ve finally decided on a paint colour for our main floor. And I better be sure because we have painters arriving on Monday! It might seem like I'm playing it safe because I've chosen a milky beige called Soft Chamois OC-13 from Benjamin Moore. But it was an all-consuming internal debate and the choice was anything but obvious!

I've been on the fence about a colour for our main floor. We live in a 35-year old four-level split where the main floor living and dining rooms are one continuous space, together with the kitchen (which is all cupboards and has almost no wall space). Because of the layout, the front foyer and two stairwells (to the upstairs bedrooms and downstairs rooms) would look best painted the same colour (instead of having an ugly and obvious colour change on a corner). The upstairs and downstairs hallways would ideally be the same colour too!

In other words, I needed to find The Perfect Colour. In the beginning, I was insanely smitten with a heavenly stormy blue from Farrow & Ball called Skylight. This is a next-to-perfect blue in my opinion, but blue just won’t cut it.

First of all, it’s a huge space to paint blue and I'm afraid I’ll tire of it. I love blue, but do I want a whole blue house, considering that my office is already blue, we have a blue-grey powder room and various green rooms already?
And our living room furniture is sage green, so the blue wasn't an obvious complement. The dining room rug is rose (which looks gorgeous with blue!), and our living room rug is a multi-colored blend of cream and sage and rose and blue (which looked good too). But as much as I coaxed myself to think it might work, the reality was that blue walls introduce yet another pure colour to an already cacophonous mix of shades. Besides, our dining room chairs have blue and pink stripes, the kitchen counters are olive green, a downstairs floor is brown, and the kitchen valance is burgundy! I want tranquility, not chaos!

So I started to think about green. I really wanted a “colour” on the walls, if you know what I mean, since I love the way white lampshades and table linens and white accessories look against a coloured wall. Plus, I love white things. The walls are currently a chartreuse (yellowish) green that isn't so bad, but each alternative green I considered seemed wrong. Pale sages work the best, and look lovely, but the fact is, I'm no longer crazy about my sage green furniture, and the room is sage overload with both furniture and walls in the same colour!

So I settled on a neutral palette. It feels like a cop-out going neutral, especially since it felt that with all my decorating knowledge acquired over the past year, I should be able to pull off a complex palette. But the truth is, I want a calm and collected palette. And a pale, creamy colour seems like the only choice to pull the disparate elements together.

In the past weeks, I’ve painted endless sheets of Bristol board with various Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore shades. I've taped these samples to the walls, moved them countless times as the light changed, and stared at them each for hours on end, trying to find the colour equivalent to *Mr.Right*. In fact, I think finding a man is much, much easier than choosing paint colours!
Since greys are all the rage, I looked at a number of grey and greige shades, but they all seemed rather cold to me, even in my south-facing room. So I kept coming back to the warm pale beiges, especially in the evenings when the light fades and the greys become rather dismal and chilly.
My final choices came down to (1) Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin, a creamy pale beige that seems to glow (2) Benjamin Moore’s White Down CC-50 (an antique white/ivory which I have in my bedroom and adore), (3) Benjamin Moore’s Seapearl OC-19 (a grey-toned oyster beige, pale), and (4) Benjamin Moore’s Soft Chamois OC-13 (a pale milky beige with warm-tones).

Then yesterday, I decided (or so I thought). I chose the Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin and excitedly checked with my painting contractor to see if he minded using it. He was amenable to the idea, so I phoned our (only) local F&B supplier to see if they had enough product on hand. To my dismay, they only had 2 gallons in store ($69.50 per gallon, FYI) and I’d have to wait a couple of weeks until the next shipment arrived!!
Since I’m going on vacation in 3 weeks, already have painters booked, and find myself utterly fed up with paint chips, I decided to switch to Benjamin Moore's Soft Chamois just to get this over with! Soft Chamois OC-13 is a nice, soft, quiet beige that I can best describe as “milky beige”. It will look lovely with the sage furniture, the olive countertops, and our dark wood furniture. It'll work especially well with both rugs, which was my main concern since they add the most colour to the rooms.
Just for information, I noticed that the actual Soft Chamois paint (from the sample pot) seems darker on the wall than on the paint chip, whereas the White Down I used in my bedroom is much whiter on the wall than on the chip (where it's rather beigey). So I really hope the colour works out once it's on all the walls because these sample chips seem so unreliable with darker colours looking lighter on the chip and vice versa!
I feel like the consummate bore doing a beige room - but being unable to start from scratch and having to tie everything together – gave me little choice in the end. Eventually we want to replace the furniture with something more elegant and lighter coloured (like the sofa below) and then I can consider changing to my coveted blue walls! But until then, this is my transition colour to make sense of all the bits we’ve already got.
This summer I intend to replace the drapes in the living and dining rooms (I have some favorite sample fabrics, in linen) and eventually I'll replace my student-days coffee table with something more elegant. I have a cool grey leather armchair that needs re-upholstering and another I want to slipcover, but those are eventually. For now, getting these walls painted thrills me!

Once the painting is done next week, I'll post some before and after photos to show the progress...

More inspirational neutral rooms:

All Photos House to Home

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Update (and pretty photos...scroll down!)

I've had a great start to the week, except for the fact that I just realized the next three weeks will be utterly insane. I'm leaving to visit my parents in just 3.5 weeks and today it occurred to me that I don't have much time left to get everything that needs done, well, done!

I have to go through files tonight and pull all my tax documents and start doing my taxes some night this week. You'd think that since I'm getting a refund I would have done it long ago, but I am a procrastinator extraordinaire when it comes to sitting in front of tax software in the evening. My day job is tedious enough!

And I need to find a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, whose birthday we're celebrating next weekend at David's mum's house (which means 2 days out of town). We set a $50 gift limit on birthdays which sounds like a sensible idea but I often find it hard to buy really nice gifts (in Calgary anyway) for under $50. I always find some over-budget thing I love....

And in the next three weeks I have a hair appointment, a dermatologist appointment, a massage booked, a harried work schedule, and an appointment with a really renowned physiotherapist that I've been waiting for 6 months to see. Oh, and I have a dental appointment. And I haven't bought any spring clothes yet. I desparately need shoes and tops. Oh, and to lose 10 pounds before summer. Damn, and it's already April 21st!

And to top it off, I have a painter coming tonight to give me a quote on painting my dining/living rooms since it's a huge job and David hates to paint, and with my migraines and bad back, it seems a little too much! I love to paint, but one room is plenty. Not a huge room and foyer and stairwells. I'd need to take at least 2 days off work too. Not happening...

So, in lieu of a proper post, here are some romantic and inspirational photos from a UK retailer called Graham & Green. I have no idea of their reputation, but their rooms are awfully pretty!

Enjoy! I love these whimsical hooks:

And this lamp is glorious. I would change it to a dusty pink shade:This tufted headboard is so Renaissance:The chair was called a "nursing" chair. Suddenly I feel all maternal...Fake fleurs are still pretty and good for those of us in northern climes with late springs!:

Gosh, I am not a femme fatale enough for this dressing table:

A lovely vignette:

Pretty outdoor pillows:
A Lucite chair and more pink! Isn't the wallpaper so old-world and lady-like?
Pretty etched glass for madame's toilette:

A mirror to die for:
And the piece de resistance, a chair I adore:

Happy Week!