Mirror mirror on the wall

The life of an interior designer is sometimes a little schizophrenic. Right now I’m flitting between period elegance, simple scandinavian, cool contemporary and boutique chic. Different customers, (or that would be one crazy looking house), different styles and different briefs. But the common denominator is the simple mirror. It doesn’t matter what your style or budget I’m always going to throw in a mirror or two. And I’m not just talking about the obvious places, i.e. over the fireplace or above the bathroom sink. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to decorating with mirrors. I’ve also got a list of places where you should not hang a mirror. Interested?

Decorating with mirrors

Art is very personal and it might take years to find something you like enough to hang on your walls that you can afford. It might sound dramatic but you may never find anything you like. Retailers like Next know that, which is why they produce shelf loads of bland canvases in the same colours as that seasons soft furnishings to save you even looking for artwork. But instead of settling for a bland canvas or a stock poster from IKEA why not hang a mirror.

Feature gold sunburst mirror
Feature sunburst mirror – image via Pinterest

If you can’t find or afford a huge feature mirror like this gorgeous sunburst one then use a set. This lovely set of three is £159 from Furniture in Fashion but you don’t need to spend a fortune. You can pick up great mirrors in places like Argos or Wilko for under £20. Like cushions, they don’t need to be the same size or style, just stick with the same colour palette and hang them in  rows or clusters.

Set of three decorative gold mirrors
Trio of gold mirrors from Furniture in Fashion

Or create a feature using frameless mirror tiles. Homebase and IKEA sell packs of 30cm square mirror tiles for under a tenner. If you do have a few quid more to spend Notonthehighstreet.com have packs of 20cm hexagonal tiles for (gulp) £185.00. Very on trend tho.

Hexagonal mirror tiles
Collection of hexagonal mirror tiles – image via Pinterest

I like to mix mirrors in with pictures (and sometime other random oddities) to expand and add more interest to the arrangement.

Gallery wall including pictures and mirrors
Collection of pictures and mirrors – image via Houzz

And if you can’t find any pictures or family photos you like but still want a gallery wall then just use mirrors.

Gallery wall of mirrors
Gallery wall of mirrors – image via Houzz

This is also a great way of breaking up a wall if you want to paint it a really bold colour but don’t have the balls are worried it might be too much.

Gallery wall of metallic mirrors
Collection of metallic mirrors – image via Houzz

Mirror Image

Mirrors are obviously great for bouncing light around a room but if you hang them facing a window or side on they will also reflect the view. So it doesn’t matter if you were last to the dining table or you have to sit with your back to the window to watch the telly you can still see the view.

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Mirrors reflect light and the view – image via Houzz

Mirrors either side of the bed increase the glam factor of even the most glamorous bed, and will reflect the light from your bedside lights – double whammy.

Glamorous bedroom with large mirrors either side of the bed
Uber glam bedroom – image via Houzz

And just when you thought they’d done enough, mirrors can also create the illusion of space, elongating a room or adding height.

God I love this room….the reflection of that pitched roof creates amazing symmetry and you get twice as much chandelier.

Mirrored wall and doors visually double the size of this room
Mirrored walls and doors visually double the size of this room – image via Houzz

So where should you not put mirrors?

  1. On the back of the bathroom door if your toilet faces the door. Enough said.
  2. On your wardrobe doors if you’ll be able to see your reflection when you open your eyes in the morning.
  3. Above the bath, unless its high enough that you can only see your head and shoulders.
  4. Facing the shower, again unless its at head height. Never have a long mirror facing the shower. I bet not even Heidi Klum wants to see herself showering.
  5. Above the bed. It’s not the 70’s and you’re not a porn star.

So the answer is basically anywhere you might catch your reflection when you’re naked and/or not looking your best. Mirrors should be used to decorate and illuminate not kill our self esteem.

Vintage mirrors in bathroom
Vintage mirror hung above the bath in one of my recent projects

So time to chuck out that IKEA poster?

Quackers about Charlotte Gerrards artwork

Tonight it’s a very short post as I’m a wee bit tired after 3 days galavanting around London. The primary reason for my trip was House, the interiors show at Olympia, but it would have been rude not to fit in a few cocktails with friends. Great timing meant I also fitted in my annual pilgrimage to Taste of London, which I love, but it has to be said the balance of food to drink exhibitors swings a little further to the right each year. This year definitely being the year of gin with herbaceous, floral, citrus and spice infused gins on every corner. Me and my liver are both relieved to be back home. Future restaurant tip – The Modern Pantry. We tried their mince and tatties with bombay potato and it was to die for.

But back to interiors….House was a huge success for me with new purchases for Holly Cottage and some great ideas for customers. I’ve attended shows in the past with a few too many wooden hearts on string for my liking but this was definitely not one of those events, the variety and quality of exhibitors was very high. Mr W also enjoyed himself and had to be reined in on more than one stand before he broke the bank.

So before I go to bed (its now 12.30am…..) I just wanted to share the work of artist Charlotte Gerrard who we met at Olympia. I’ve been concerned about Holly Cottage becoming too rustic, and have been on the look out for a few modern touches to funk up the place without confusing the decor. I found just what I was looking for on Charlottes stand. She produces paintings and screen prints of animals, cows being her favourite. But I fell in love with her ducks. Modern style, rural subject matter, perfect for my wet room!

Community Charge - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Community charge’
Waddling on - screen print by Charlotte Gerard
‘Waddling on’
Classic - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Classic’
Meet the kids - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Meet the kids’

 

 

From the West End to West Cumbria

Living and working in London made it pretty easy to visit the west end and catch a show. I often went mid-week with friends, buying the cheap tickets if we weren’t sure how good it would be. I’ll watch most things for under £20 if the company’s good! Living in West Cumbria I now have a different style of show on offer and they typically only run for the summer season. This week I attended two; the Keswick show and Ennerdale show. OK so they weren’t preceded by cocktails and a pre-show dinner but they beat the west end hands down for variety. It seems you can enter just about anything in these shows to try for a prize; cattle, sheep, poultry, dogs, pets, eggs, vegetables, fruit, plants, flower arrangements, cakes, biscuits….the list is endless. One lady who shall remain nameless seemed to have an entry in just about every category at the Keswick show. They both had exhibitions of vintage cars and vintage agricultural machinery and the Keswick show had a display of quad bikes that gave Mr W high expectations for Christmas. They also go all out on the entertainment. In Keswick I watched champion sheep shearer Peter claim 1st prize for manually shearing 3 sheep with the biggest sharpest looking shears I have ever seen. You can watch (or participate in!) cumberland wrestling. You can enter a fell run (running up and down very steep hills for those that are unfamiliar). You can also shop – with local farm produce, plants, arts and crafts all on offer. Not a bad way to while away a few hours for less than £10 entry (£7 Keswick and £5 Ennerdale).

There’s even something for interior design fanatics like me at these shows. At Keswick I met a very talented lady called Mel who is a traditional woodturner and produces beautiful lamps, tableware and other items in her workshop in Egremont. I bought one of her paraffin lamps as I really liked the combination of the old fashioned method with the modern design.

One of Mel's wooden paraffin lamps
One of Mel’s wooden paraffin lamps

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Another of Mel's creations - a wooden serving bowl
Another of Mel’s creations – a wooden serving bowl

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At the Ennerdale show I met another very talented lady, Vivienne Coleman. Vivienne is a professional artist who specialises in pencil drawings. Her drawings of sheep really caught my eye, and I will be ordering some of her work for my new staircase. You can see her work on her website http://www.pencil-drawing.co.uk, and she has a gallery on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/vivienne-c/sets/72157625020434836/

The spectacular location for the Ennerdale show
The spectacular location for the Ennerdale show

I have one other show in my diary that I’ve been wanting to attend ever since I bought our place in Cumbria but haven’t been able too make so far. This one includes….wait for it….the world gurning championships! Visit http://www.egremontcrabfair.com if you’re not familiar with this particular sport and would like to see last years winner and runners up…..And maybe next year my chickens eggs will be good enough to beat the multi-talented lady from Keswick…

 

Prize winning onions at Keswick!
Prize winning onions at Keswick
A Silkie - a fluffy variety of chicken
A Silkie – a fluffy variety of chicken
Peter the champion sheep shearer in action
Peter the champion sheep shearer in action
Mr W with his eye on a quad bike
Mr W with the quad bike he had his eye on…..
One of the many vintage cars at Keswick
One of the many vintage cars at Keswick