21 June 2011

An Addiction To Mirrors & How To Make A Trumeau

 

 

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Versailles, The Hall of Mirrors

I have a chair fetish – more chairs in this house than anyone would ever need.  Once my friend went around and counted every single one of them just to see how many there were.   There are also too many sconces.  I know this.  I’ve stopped buying them.  For a while my electricians thought it was all so funny and wondered when I would run out of space for them.  I have.  Lately I’m thinking I might need to cull my mirrors.  But where to start?   I bought the mirrors because I would rather have them than art work.    All the canvases that were once on the walls are now in the garage hoping that one day I’ll change back to them.  Not sure that will ever happen!  But truthfully, I think a beautiful mirror really makes the room, just like a large piece of art can. 

 

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The Louis Philippe in the living room was one of the first big antique purchases Ben and I made in our marriage.  We needed something tall in this room and I saw this at a French antique store in Austin one game weekend.  Ben went for football and I came home with a mirror.   The mirror is really large and was a great price because some of the gilding had been painted black.  I’ve thought about restoring it all back to gold, but the black is a nice accent.  The glass is really old and hard to see out of – the best kind.

 

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This French Louis XVI mirror is really my mother’s that I somehow now have.  It’s very simple and plain but elegant at the same time.  The sunburst is probably 60s vintage (if even that.)

 

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The convex mirror over my mantel was a real steal.  It came from an antique store in the French Quarter.  My friend owned it but when she changed from English to Swedish decor, she sold it to me for practically nothing.   I don’t plan on repeating that exchange!!! 

 

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This small French mirror came home with me when I had some spending change and was looking for anything I could afford at Neal & Co. one afternoon.   I probably should have just waited and accumulated my change, but well, this is what addiction looks like, folks.  The sunburst is another 60s vintage, maybe.   Ben bought that big dog on the floor himself – no comments, please.  He means well.

 

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I can’t even remember where I bought this – probably the antique mall.  It’s a copy, old, but not an antique, though it does look like one.  I won’t even show you my powder room mirror.  It’s too embarrassing.  It really needs to be replaced.  Enough said about that.

 

 

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Upstairs, my sister in law loaned me the black chinoiserie standing mirror that she really wants back and mentions every time she sees it.   Hmmmm.   The sunburst is, guess – 60s vintage, maybe.  Let’s see, that makes 3 sunburst mirrors.  Enough?  snort.

 

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Over my desk is a trumeau, new, that was marked old, but of course it’s not.   It was one of those must-haves when I saw it because of the green paint and gilt frame.  For a while, these types of mirrors were in a lot of Houston antique stores – at the same time – which always means they aren’t old. 

 

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Elisabeth’s small mirror is the same kind of faux old trumeau, the glass was “aged.”  It’s small, but it fits the space perfectly and I love its gray paint and gilt trim.

 

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The large mirror over her desk reminds me of the antique Louis XVI one downstairs, but it comes from Tara Shaw’s new furniture line.  This mirror is large and is a good price if you need one like this.  The finish is really beautiful, too. 

 

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And finally, the guest room has another faux trumeau with green paint and gilded frame.   I must really like this style – that’s 3 of these.   I never thought about this before – but all the antique mirrors are downstairs, while the faux ones are upstairs in the private areas.   I probably should think about one day going from faux to real, but really, why spend the money?   I did take a look at 1st Dibs to see what was available and whoa, there are some gorgeous mirrors out there.  I set the criteria to 18th century and before only – here were a few that caught my eye.

 

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17th Century French.  The glass is totally gone which makes it a true work of art.  It reminds me of a story my aunt used to tell about coming home with an antique mirror years and years ago when she was young and first furnishing her house.  The glass was totally clouded and my uncle said “why would you buy a mirror  you can’t even see yourself in?”   Only a husband would ask that!

 

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I love this almost square gilt framed mirror.  So simple and elegant.

 

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A true trumeau, not a faux one like mine! 

 

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Simply gorgeous – this antique Swedish mirror has the candlestick holders on it.  In Sweden, most mirrors had candles mounted in front to double the light in this mostly dark country.  Small, but hugely expensive.  Totally out of my price range, ever, unless we discover oil.

 

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Gorgeous vanity mirror for a powder room or a desk or a console.   This was surprisingly cheap.  I was shocked. 

 

 

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I love these mirrors with the heavy carving over the frame.  This would be gorgeous behind a sofa with just a few creamware plates surrounding it.

 

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18th Century?  At this price?  I doubt it.  Why would 1st Dibs let this stand?  I still love ssunburst mirrors and am going to hate when they go out of style, yet again.

 

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Jane Moore in Houston has this paneling with a small mirror attached.  I love these types of mirrors for behind a console or buffet.

 

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A pair from Spain – Chateau Domingue.  The possibilities of these two are endless. Plus I love how dull the gilding it.

 

 

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An important trumeau- with green paint.  This would be gorgeous in a room with all white linen and not much else. 

 

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I used to want a true antique trumeau exactly like this so, so badly – but today, I’m not sure.  It would be pretty in a wallpapered bedroom or a woman’s library.  It’s beautiful, but maybe too fussy for a living room.  Funny how taste changes through the years. 

 

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The real deal – or is it?   This trumeau certainly looks much older than mine and much more authentic.  This one is a beauty, no doubt.   Worth changing out my faux one for this one?  Hmm, probably not at its price.

 

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A great mirror can truly “make” a room beautiful.  Here are a few of my favorite images of mirrors.  A  Houston house by Eleanor Cummings – this mirror is beautiful in this bedroom and is certainly the focal point. 

 

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I love this small mirror over the mantel in one of Vicki Archer’s Provençal bedrooms.  Her blog French Essence is filled with her beautiful photos.

 

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I love double sized rooms with matching fireplaces and over mirrors at each end – like this one at Oscar de la Renta’s beach house.

 

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I love small pairs of mirrors like these by Gerrie Bremermann.

 

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In France, a true antique trumeau.  Everything in this picture is sublime.  That lantern, the molding over the door, the lamps, the gilt chairs, the table, the mantel – sigh.

 

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My favorite pair of mirrors in a bedroom.  Everything is gorgeous – the curtains, the chandelier, the chest.  Stunning!

 

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I’ve always loved this trumeau by the Tone on Tone owners!  It perfectly illustrates how a mirror can make the room.

 

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A favorite image of a simple breakfast room made special because of the mirror.

 

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Too gorgeous – design by Carol Glasser.

 

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I love this room in France– rustic architecture, simple upholstery and a dressy pair of console with mirrors.

 

 

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I think this beach house by Babs Watkins, done many years ago, started a craze in Houston for painted trumeaus like this.  I know I wanted one just like this. The house had several different mirrors in it, but this one, over the mantel, was the one everyone wanted.  I wish the image wasn’t cut off!

 

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I took this picture of Sally Wheat’s house during a photoshoot.   It’s all different today, not even sure if she still has her trumeau.  But it caught the eye of a friend and blogger, Artie, from Color Outside the Lines.

 

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Artie is redoing his living room and wanted a trumeau for over his mantel.  He lives in upstate New York, right by Niagara Falls.  He didn’t want to spend thousands on a mirror and after studying Sally’s he decided he could make one himself.   Here’s what Artie had to say:

ARTIE:  when you posted about Sally Wheat’s house in Houston, I fell in love with her style and it gave me the incentive that I needed to make some serious changes around our house. I love the mantel that she created in her family room, with all of the beautiful books and that fabulous trumeau mirror  ... but I knew that finding an antique one would be completely out of my budget.

So taking inspiration from her and with the very limited skills I have when it comes to construction, I made a mirror to mimic Sally’s.   Here is how I did it:   using stock pieces of molding from Lowes, a standard beveled bathroom mirror, and 20 coats of paint  ... I ended up with this.

I even made the sconces  ... using very inexpensive wood appliques, heavy gauge wire that was easy to bend, and unfinished candle pieces from the craft section at Joanns.

 

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Here’s the “Sally Wheat” trumeau Artie made.  I think it looks almost the same!

 

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A close up of the mantel showing the attached candlesticks and books and flowers – just like Sally’s was styled.  

   

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  A last look.   By the way – Artie made that slip cover on the chair.  He is really handy.   Have you ever made something like a trumeau or a copy of an antique before?  I can’t even imagine doing that, but Artie’s looks really good and he claims it was easy.

 

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Here’s a picture of sweet Artie.   He’s really from Texas and how he ended up at the frozen Canadian border, I’ll never understand.  We’re blogging friends and he cracks me up.  If I don’t answer his emails within a day, he sends one titled “Are you mad at me?” 

 

Is there anything you collect that isn’t really a collectable, like chairs, or sconces or mirrors?  I ended up with a house full of “smalls” because I could never wait and save up money to buy something big, like a console or a breakfront.  I usually went for the little things that I could afford at the time – like plates, old biscuit tins, glassware.   To do it all over again, I would wait, accumulate, and make one big purchase instead of a lot of little ones.   Funny how you learn these things so late…