Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mirror, Mirror...

Dean Farris Interior Design

I had fallen in love with the beauty of antique, gilt framed mirrors, probably beginning when I was working in New York~ for some of the top interior designers of the 1980's and into the 1990's...there were many times when, perhaps at Kentshire Galleries, or H.M. Luther, I would find myself staring into a fabulously elegant and decorative mirror, wondering who that terribly good looking young man was staring back at me!  It was beyond glamorous, having just stepped out of a dark green Rolls, or a long black Mercedes limousine, to find myself shopping for things that often were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

18th century Chippendale
For example, the mirror shown above, might be delivered to a clients home on approval~ George Clarkson would have liked this one, and most likely had it installed above a mantel in a beautiful, huge, living room in a 1920's Tudor high on a hill in Bronxville.  These investment pieces can sometimes even be used as collateral at the bank...I remember a funny thing, the client saying that she had "tried to work with Mario Buatta, but found him intimidating" seemed like an odd thing to say given that we had pulled up to her house in a chauffeur driven Silver Shadow!  

18th century baroque (French)

What I admire and appreciate on an old mirror is de-silvering~ as seen in the above example. Hand carving, water gilding, and ancient looking glass is a very seductive combination.  Imagine this one played off of a highly lacquered wall finish, perhaps an aubergine...I'm forever suggesting antiqued mirrored glass to my clients as an architectural element.  These shapely frames look splendid above a marble or old limestone mantel. They also look very nice above console tables and sideboards.  I like to flank them with porcelain jars, as shown in my first image, at the top.  You can find these mirrors online, but I really do believe you need to see it in a shop or via your designer before making a purchase.  Think of it as a work of art, decorative art. To see some good examples, go here (Sotheby's online). Or, a Milanese palace here also on the Sotheby's site.

The former Mellon townhouse, East 70th Street, New York
Even someone as fabulous as the late Bunny Mellon ~ who had a huge art collection, used a mirror as a focal point in her elegant Manhattan townhouse. Notice the proportion of her mirror to the mantel beneath it.  The hand painted floors were one of her trademarks~ and they are something that I love as well.  Mirror, mirror, whose the fairest of them all? Mirrors add mystery and elegance, use them whenever you can.  They can help fill out walls for those of us who don't have an art collection, such as paintings and drawings.  Enjoy!  DF *****