Monday, November 23, 2009

Through the looking glass

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. (William Makepeace Thakeray)

Stage 1.8 of the sitting room fix is a gilded mirror. I have an unyielding view about such a mirror, namely that it must be large and it must be above the fireplace. I suspect this, like some other unyielding views I have (orange tinted art in the kitchen, Persian carpet in the hallways, green and pink in a children's room, hardly any furniture in the bedrooms) come from my childhood. I think we are very influenced by the environment we grew up in.

To demonstrate the point here are some mirrors above fireplaces looking nothing short of divine:

(Well this is actually over an oven but the point is the same)

Even Alice understood the importance of a mirror over a fireplace.

I also love the idea of a leaning against the wall mirror, like these:

This is what I have learned so far:

(1) the dirtier the mirror the less expensive (and I love that hard to see through look).

(2) new reproduction mirrors are often the same cost as a 200 year old antique.

(3) price is not necessarily an indicator of quality or age or even nice gildedness.

So - how big is too big? Does anyone agree that the fireplace must be be-mirrored? Or is this a fixed idea I should rid myself of?

(Images: (1) Homes and Gardens UK (2) via Plush Palate (3) Homes and Gardens UK (4) Decorno (5) Atlanta Barlett (6) Homes and Gardens UK (7) Better Homes and Gardens Aust (8) (9) littlefrenchgardenhouse.blogspot (10) the (11) avantgardedesign.blogspot)


Mise said...

I say yes to that. I have a big picture above the main fireplace but that's just because of The Way Things Turned Out. Another wall has a large round gold mirror above a sideboard, and I'd like to cast my vote now for round. Whenever I look at mine it brings me joy.

And I agree about the influences of our childhood - I recognised some time ago that I'm trying to recreate my grandmother's farmhouse. Good luck with the mirror!

Natasha in Oz said...

All of these pictures are amazing! I must say that the idea of a huge mirror is very appealing but I just love the classic simplicity of a gilded mirror over a mantel....not too small, not too big...just right!
Best wishes, Natasha.

koralee said...

Thank you so much for your comment you left on my blog the other day! I love mirrors...I keep adding and adding to our home. I adore them above the fireplace but I love the very large free standing ones..Gilded all the better! I do love them everywhere though...I have an old round one hanging in my kitchen window above the sink and I adore it! Happy week to you my blog is lovely!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Jane
I love mirrors too and if only I had a fireplace there would be a mirror above it. What would be a mantle without the refelction of some flickering candles?

Some time ago I gave away or threw out my grandmother's old furniture. The only things I kept were the dresser mirror [shaped very much like most of your gorgeous examples here] and the two wardrobe doors.. which are!! mirrored!!

Thanks for your hilarious comment. I don't think that would of fazed them either.. we are all in the same leaky boat to stressland!! haha... the good news is I wasn't really hurt .. just stunned. Hope your head is OK? xxx Julie

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

Well I would have said yes to the fireplace idea until I saw the gorgeous ones leaning against the wall. I adore this look - just wouldn't want to catch sight of myself too often. But I love these old mirrors, and I'm like you - I love the imperfect reflection given by a time-worn mirror.

Monika said...

For my the mirror above the fireoplace is a bit too traditional. I think the second idea - leaning a large mirror against the wall - is much more original. The more ornate the better... Have a nice day! Monika

Null said...

Mirrors are as functional as they are beautiful. If you think placing your mirror on a wall opposing a window will add light and space to a not-so-big room, then that should be your priority.

I have mirrors in so many surprising spots that people comment on how unexpected and fun it is to encounter them!

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Well Jane, I have to vote for mirrors over fireplaces, as I have eight original Victorian fireplaces in our Victorian house and they all have mirrors above them !!!!....I also love the 'mirror on the floor' look but, I think that I would be gilding the lily if I add even more mmirrors !! I do think that fireplaces were meant to have mirrors above them and, as Julie said, there is nothing better than flickering candles reflected in a mirror..... oh, and I love the selection of mirrors that you have shown. XXXX

pve design said...

We did have a mirror hung about our mantle, however it is too high, so we had to move it out and now we have a painting above. I do love all the images you posted ad that bathroom with 2 mirrors is quite elegant and swoon-worthy!
Wonderful blog here, down under!

Fern said...

I agree... DIVINE :) Lovely mirrors. I want them ALL - I sound so selfish. It's just hard to pick a favorite. Money is usually a good decision maker for me :) :) :)

Samantha said...

Mmmmh. Love mirrors. Stick them everywhere. And then post a "Before and After" so you will have three in your category.

James XVI said...

Hello Jane, mirrors can be complicated, but I tend to agree that most fireplaces look best with some form of mirror, even if the wall over it is mirrored and then painting or another mirror hung over that. I have five fireplaces and when the house is done I expect they will all be mirrored.

I also have three large mirrors for the floor (one a Hausmann era trumeau from Paris flea market, the other two seven foot tall gilded new ones from a NYC shop) and am always moving them around trying to find the right spot... one currently serves as a temporary headboard in a temporary bedroom.

It's not very difficult to make your own mirror glass with the dirty, hard to see yourself look that you like; I build trumeaux for a hobby and will post a how-to one day on my blog Garvinweasel.

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