A Bigger Mirror?

While I really love the vintage scrolly mirror, I'm feeling the dimensions are not right for above the sofa in our living room (formally the fireplace nook). I was thinking something a tad bit wider, and about a foot taller. And I wanted something with an interesting frame - super modern? or carved and crusty with age? All of that sounded good to me.


The issue is really large antique mirrors cost (often) thousands, so I've had a hard time finding something in the right dimensions that is also reasonably affordable. I found this mirror (supposedly from India?) on Craigslist for only $150. It's huge, at 60"x48" - much closer to the ideal dimensions.


I did end up buying last night and it was so cool to see the seller's apartment - he lived in this amazing old luxury building in Washington Heights. And get this - he had never lived in another apartment his entire life! His parents moved into it rent-controlled and passed the lease on to him and his wife. Can you imagine paying practically nothing for a huge apartment? They had really amazing furniture that had this well-traveled vibe. Loved it all.

So, now I am on the fence about maybe painting or even gilding the mirror. I like the gold element that the scrolly mirror brought to the room, but this frame might be too heavy for an all-gold look. I thought a matte mid-tone gray would be pretty too - like a milk paint? And truthfully, after bringing the mirror inside today, I don't mind the wood finish left as is. I need to switch the wire around so it can be hung vertically and then I'll take a photo to share in the space. (keep an eye out for it on instagram - @jennykomenda)

What's your vote? Paint? Gold leaf? Keep it as is?

PS My heart's set on putting the scrolly mirror in another room, so I'm really hoping I can make this new carved mirror work in the living room. :)

140 comments:

Ann said...

Great CL find! I love it as is, such beautiful tones in the wood. Okay and that man is so lucky, I can't even imagine a deal like that.

Allysha said...

I say leave it alone for awhile. Hang it up and walk by it a couple hundred times (won't take too long), and then you'll know. I think.

I do think the gold could be too much. I like the idea of the gray, because the frame is such a dominant force, it will make itself known regardless.

Unknown said...

I think gold leaf would be too busy. I would leave it, the wood might add an interesting dimention to the space. If that doesn't work out, light gray would be great too.

Laura Klenda said...

Great find! And I think I like it best as-is. From the photo pictured, I don't see a lot of natural finishes in the room, and I like the idea of the natural wood frame tying in to the jute rug. Gold seems like it would take an already statement piece and make it even louder. And gray, especially with milk-paint, would get shabby chic pretty quickly. Totally my preference though!

Gwen said...

I'd love to see it up there as is, but if that doesn't seem to work, I think the grey could be really pretty without being too over the top. Just love this space! Your work gets better and better!

anna said...

What if you layered the mirrors? Like an ultra simple, beveled-edged mirror. Get the glass guys to cut a space in the middle so that you could hang your scrolly mirror on top of it? I just did this in a bathroom/vanity area and it looks amazing!

verabear said...

As is!

Laurie said...

I say go for the gold! How would it look hanging horizontal??

marie bourlet said...

Ah! I love it! It looks just like a mirror I'm considering to buy since ages (but can't really decide yet) : http://www.maisonsdumonde.com/FR/fr/produits/fiche/miroir-java-naturel-75x90-128610.htm

I like the wood finish. You can leave it like this for a while and then change if you get bored.

Maybe you can try to get a softer patina...

April Sharman said...

Great space! While I like the mirror you've sourced I think the on you have up already looks great and although you might feel the dimensions aren't working I think this is part of the appeal, it's a little odd and it works because of this!

Katja @ Shift Ctrl ART said...

I absolutely love it in the wood finish actually. The wood has some nice variation to it. I love that. I would love to see it "up" first anyway before deciding for sure :)

pve design said...

I think a lovely high gloss navy would be chic or a hot pink. That said, the wood is pretty dreamy. Hang it as is and live with it for a day or two.
High Gloss white also would be pretty swell.
pve

Kirsten said...

While visiting thailand they have carved wood like this all over the place. In the hotel we stayed in they had framed pieces of this ornately carved wood and highlighted the parts of the carving in gold. It was very pretty. That way you might get the best of both worlds.
The wood is just too pretty to cover with paint in my opinion.
Good luck!

Lghost said...

You should paint the inside rim a gold and leave the ornate outside the natural wood tone.

Sarah said...

I'd have to see a photo of it in place...but I like it as is. Gold could work too but again, need to see a photo. What a great find! I've seen mirrors like that before, possibly on pinterest

Donna Benedetto said...

What about putting some stripper on the frame and wire brushing it so the wood has more of an organic feel.
You can even bleach it and then tone it to give it a cerused look.
It would be a totally different look and feel from what you have. Then evaluate to possibly add and make a london wall. I did a big wood weathered frame for a client and it was knock out! I have a picture somewhere if you need a visual just drop me an e-mail. I don't love it the way it is because it looks like there is a poly over the natural wood. It is another options.
Donna
thebeneblog.com

zoenewyork said...

try it as is first. if you hate it-- bright red could tie the whole room together...just sayin.

Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home} said...

Beautiful detail on that frame. Can't wait to see it in place :)

Phoebe said...

What an awesome mirror! I think it would be sad to cover up all the beautiful wood. I would consider, though, adding gold to the tops of the "inner" frame that directly surrounds the mirror. That way you get a little pop of gold that will help the mirror tie into your existing decor and you preserve the awesome woodwork around the rest of the piece.

gypsy soul interiors said...

As is, maybe limed for a more organic feel?

Grace G. McNicholas said...

Gold leaf it! I'm a gold leaf addict.

Colleen said...

how about Rub 'n Buff? You could cover just the inside rim, or maybe hit raised elements of the carving across the whole mirror. If you use a light hand, some of the wood grain shows through. I used it here and LOVED it:
Before & After DVD Cabinet Take 2

Jasmin Darling said...

I say leave it as is! Part of the character of the piece is the fact that it IS from India...and by covering that up with a coat of paint, I think it detracts from the piece. Just my opinion. :)

I also agree with what Allysha said above: leave it alone for a while, hang it up, walk by it a couple hundred times, and then you'll know.

Erin // Studio336 said...

I think it's beautiful as is, but it'd be nice painted as well. Since it'd be such a pain to bring back to the natural wood that it is now, hang it as is for a while and then change it up later on when you're itching to change something in the room?

sarah said...

if it doesn't work have you considered doing a wall of different sized mirrors in a similar finish? kind of like a gallery wall. my mom did something similar in her guest bedroom (simply because she has WAY too many cool mirrors) and it looks pretty rad.

Kimber said...

I recently sold a mirror that had a natural wood finish with gold leafing just in some of the grooves to highlight them. That may be a nice thought. Some rub n buff on top of the scrolls maybe?

Natalie said...

Maybe just plaint or leaf the small inside frame lines? And maybe wax/lime to raw-ify the wood a bit...

Good luck!

Julia said...

My vote: leave it as it is. Some natural (unpainted) wood is nice in a room and you don't have much of that... And I'm totally jealous of the apartment guy!!

lemondropdreams said...

I love it as is, maybe live with it for a while and then decide if you want to change it

GlitterThistle said...

Gild it! Gold all the way!
And I'm SO jealous of the huge rent controlled apt... good for them!

Michelle Viera said...

Keep as is. Its stunning!!!

Jessica said...

Beautiful! I'd paint the inside edge - the straight part - really shiny gold, and do the flat gray you described on the scrolly part. Great find!!

Kate/Katie said...

Keep it natural!

Ashley said...

I echo leaving the wood as is. It will bring a nice balance with your other natural elements like the jute rug and leather chesterfield. Sometime too many painted pieces can be overboard, I think :)

http://diligentdesigner.blogspot.com/?m=0

Jessica said...

But I also don't think that the existing mirror is too small - some open space on the wall is a nice complement to busy bookshelves. Either option will look great!

Taylor said...

I think leave it for a while and see how you feel (if it feels to dark, change it); but, its so pretty how it is and painted stuff goes through phases (I remember my grandmother having few painted pieces but never my mother and now I do) and will probably go out of style in the future so if you leave it alone, it will be a pretty piece to pass to one of your girls!!!

Joanne said...

Hello Jenni!

FANTASTIC find and what a price!

I have avery similar mirrors at a 30" x 40" size flanking my master bed {yes, they were made in India - hand carved}.

They can be seen here: http://doublewideinthesky.blogspot.com/2012/10/master-bedroom-revamp-reveal.html

I went through a very similar contemplation on painting them. Once I had them in place, I LOVED the color they were. Mine have a very slight gold sheen over the dark natural wood. I like how it plays up a natural, rich, but soft sophisticated look to it.

I think whatever you decide, though, it will be GORGEOUS in your space. You have that kind of magic! ;)

-Joanne

I t

Georganna Rodriguez said...

I really love the idea of it in gold. Not a bright yellow gold but the faded pale golds that you find in French antiques

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

I'm more and more a fan of having some "traditional" wood in a space. The dark tone of your mirror would really ground that wall and give it some extra textural presence. Keep it as-is!

Jenny said...

I say leave it for awhile. The wood tones will draw your eye to the Chesterfield and back again. It's such a grand mirror and I'd be worried that painting it might make it look like a cheaper version of itself. Grey also may make it disappear on the wall a bit too. I think the bookcases can sustain the heaviness of the wood frame.

Jenny said...

I say leave it for awhile. The wood tones will draw your eye to the Chesterfield and back again. It's such a grand mirror and I'd be worried that painting it might make it look like a cheaper version of itself. Grey also may make it disappear on the wall a bit too. I think the bookcases can sustain the heaviness of the wood frame.

Emily M said...

I say gold leaf, but only selectively so it's not so overwhelming. Choose certain scrolls and highlight them with gold leaf, and leave the rest the natural wood color for warmth and contrast!

Gen said...

Don't touch it!!!!! AMAZING!!!

Darci said...

I vote for leaving it...I love the heft of the wood and the age of the coloring.

openid said...

Wow. Beautiful find and I wish I could take a peek into that apartment. It sounds beautiful! Although it's a beautiful piece, I'd love to see it gilded. It would look stunning! Can't wait to see what you decide!

Brooklynvt said...

I LOVE the mirror and think the wood finish is beautiful...I'd at least try it out to see if it works...if not I think I'd like it painted in a moody black/gray...but honestly the wood is just too beautiful in my opinion to paint :) Nice score. And the story of his apartment..that's my everyday dream! :) Nice life!

Kirsti said...

The wood frame is beautiful, leave it as it is.

Kirsti said...

The wood frame is beautiful, leave it as it is.

dreamsinhd said...

my vote is leave as is!

Stephanie Marie said...

What an amazing find!! Beautiful!

I would leave this the way it is. That is a beautiful natural wood finish and you don't want to go "fake" gold with such a large piece.

Emily | Recently said...

Jenny, I love it! I have an almost identical, but much smaller, mirror in my kitchen, and I kept it natural, but it just "works" that way in that room. I had plans to paint it before I put it up. I see how great the gold mirror already looks in your space, so my gut says to go for the gold! I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever you choose will look perfect. It always does! ;)

Amy said...

I think leaving it alone is a great idea. You have so many painted and colorful pieces in the room now, the wood would be a nice place for a break, plus the frame is so pretty.

jenni said...

I'm not usually a wood-grainy person but this is really beautiful as-is. I'd be afraid to cover it up with something regrettable and never be able to get it back to its current lustre.

jtc said...

Jenny - I love your apt! The mirror is amazing. I, too, would leave it and live with it for a bit before painting it. Have you priced getting a large piece of mirror cut to fit so that the entire "panel" between the bookcases is mirrored? Might be a way to cover the essentially nonworking fireplace that could be removed easily when you move. Hope you left your name and number with the mirror guy in case he sells off more cool stuff.

Caroline said...

Leave, leave, leave! I agree that the gold may be too much since the frame is pretty wide and while painting it will be pretty, I'd be afraid that it would lose it's "Umph" and no longer be a focal point the way the wood is. My 2 cents :-)

Speaking of CL...I searched yesterday and saw someone post a curb alert with a Campaign desk and dresser! Ugh and it was raining...I could die!

La Dolfina said...

I vote to keep it as is.

samaa said...

I vote for leaving it as is - it's gorgeous!

Janna McCalley said...

I vote wood. There's already painted furniture in the space and I think the warmth of this piece would be perfect.

Cressie Matthews said...

Perfect as is! For now at least, you can always paint it down the road.

Newburgh Restoration said...

I've been in tons of those kinds of apartments in Washington Heights. Some of them even have 2 kitchens and 2 entryways. And yes, my friends all have rent control too. They are going to die there.

I don't know about painting it. So much work was put into carving the wood. If you paint it, you would have a horrible time stripping it in the future. Put it up on your wall for now with no paint and see how you feel about it in a couple of weeks. Same thing with your parson's table.

Rachel Upshaw said...

If your coffee table or bookcases were wood, I'd say paint away, but I think the natural wood will be a good balance with all the other colors in there. Great find!

ashley said...

As-is (and I even love me a painted finish!). That wood is just lovely.

Ashley said...

I say leave the wood tone! But maybe gold leaf the inner part. I have a similar mirror (smaller) and have done this, it looks amazing.

Lori Cartwright said...

You always find the most beautiful things...my votes for finishes: leave it, gold, or glossy white.

Lori Cartwright said...

You always find the most beautiful things...my votes for finishes: leave it, gold, or glossy white.

Krysta said...

I actually quite like the wood! And you don't have a lot of other natural wood tones in your living room (that I can see) so I think it would make a great addition!

Camille Farias said...

Keep it! After a while if you're inspired change it, but it's beautiful as is.

Kathleen said...

I think it is beautiful as is. You need a natural wood element in the room. It would tie in nicely with the jute rug.

Mary Jane said...

Leave it as is.I think its good to have some natural wood in a room rather than having everything painted. Good Luck :)

ashley rachelle said...

gold! or something in a light color and glossy. it will help the light catch all of that carved detail and lighten the visual weight. that way it won't feel too ominous and heavy hanging above the sofa. can't wait to see what you do! you amaze me every time! so just follow your instincts.

Reshma Sanjeev said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reshma Sanjeev said...

Ohhh Love the mirror. Its beautiful as it is. Love the carving. Waiting to see what you would do since I know whatever you do it will still look beautiful....:-)

EDYTA & CO. INTERIOR DESIGN said...

Can't wait to see what you do. I say gold leaf or paint :))

xo
Edyta
www.edytaandco.com/blog/

Megan Daly said...

I say GOLD or paint. I love that vintage gold mirror you have already. It's a fav! So I say Gold for the bigger mirror!

P.S. I am having a giveaway on my blog. You'll have to check it out. :)
www.mydalydesigns.blogspot.com

Megan

Unknown said...

Jenny , I would love to see it left as is... I know not all people would agree with me about not painting it... But I think this comes from the northern part of India from a state called Uttar Pradesh where this type of carving is common. I would leave it unpainted just out of respect for e artisans who made this... I'm sure this is hand carved. I'm sorry if I'm offensive.... But I was just expressing my thoughts ...

Erin [clever gERL] said...

keep it as is. for sure!

cd said...

Noooo more gray. Leave the wood tone or go for something bright. Love the other color accents in your house, I'm sure you'd find the perfect hue.

Nicole said...

You lucky duck! That is the mirror I wanted, but could only find a smaller version at Cost Plus in White. I think they still have it if you want to envision it painted...Now I have plans to make something to go behind it and give it the illusion of being big...

Kristily said...

I like the wood. It looks like this http://www.worldmarket.com/product/isla-carved-mirror-collection.do?&from=fn

House As Is said...

You could always paint the milk paint gray and do some smatterings of gold leaf in places. I love when ornate carvings get accented with bits of burnished silver, gold, copper. . .

Ginnie said...

What an amazing mirror! I think gold would be too much, so I vote to keep as is or paint it.

Ginnie said...

What an amazing mirror! I think gold would be too much, so I vote to keep as is or paint it.

Crystal @ 29 Rue House said...

How did you get that thing home?!? I love both of the mirrors!

Alli said...

DON'T PAINT IT! Ha, just my .02

It's a lovely find, at least (as everyone else said), live with the natural wood for a while before deciding.

Shavonda said...

Hi Jenny! My vote is to gild it. The gold just really works in your space.

Laurie Jones said...

I think I'm with the majority leave it as is...maybe paint it down the road. I love a piece of wood in each of my rooms! This is a beautiful piece!!

barbarasmithwilke.com said...

definitely as is! If you paint it, it will look like some cheap-o you bought at world market or target.

great find... and I am jealous of his apartment situation for sure, some people have all the luck! :)

MaxxSilly said...

I love traditional mirrors in modern colors....hot pink perhaps?

MaxxSilly said...

I love traditional mirrors in modern colors....hot pink perhaps?

Christine McD said...

I'm voting for a great pop of color. Love when people do that to mirrors!

PSR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PSR said...

I would leave it as is. Love those beautiful warm wood tone which I think will contrast nicely, especially with the cool tones of the sofa!

Bridget said...

I've got a huge wood frame mirror hanging over my fireplace. Initially I thought that I would paint or stain it, but I ended up just rubbing it with dark tung oil and leaving it as-it. I love it more each day.

If you wanted to up the look, you could layer it over a wall full of antique mirror tiles. Like this this portrait in a wooden frame.

http://www.diaryofarenovation.com/elegance-antique-glass/

Then you could give us a diy antiquing mirror tile lesson! ;) Good luck!

Barbara said...

it is PERFECT!!!!! i am thinking the coffee table might need to be tweaked to give it more weight...maybe some gilding on that??

kassidi bridge said...

It's gorgeous! My vote is keep as is!

Kim L. said...

I would definitely leave it as is. It's a beautiful mirror. The detailing is so intricate!

tokyojinja.com said...

I hate to say it, but I keep coming back to liking the scrolly mirror there. It gives so much visual respite from all the rectangles and even with all the carving on the new mirror, it is still a rectangle. Definitely hang it first and see before you change it. I think it needs a bit if research before you alter it.

L said...

I love it, as is! With such a beautiful wood finish, it seems a shame to paint over it.

Paddy said...

Hi Jenny
I really like the bleached out look suggestion, ie trying to bring back the tone of the wood. Or, what about that silver-leaf effect you applied to yours or someone else's bedside table/dresser that I saw on your blog somewhere? That would look amazing. And the mottled look would hide the dust that, I'm sorry to say, these beautiful pieces are prone to collect.

christy biel said...

While I really love the carved mirror, I'm worried that it might not be right for the space. The curvilinear lines of the present one are working so well in your space, providing contrast to the rectangular bookshelves, and I wonder if you might be happier with something similar, just a larger size? Anyway, I'm sure you will make it work! Everything you do always looks fab!

Amber B (Simple Dwellings) said...

What a great story behind that Craigslist trip! I love the original wood, but I think the gray milk paint would also be amazing! Can't wait to see it!

Jamie Lee Mowris said...

Leave it! You can always change it later if you don't like it, but the wood is gorgeous.

Pegster said...

Please leave it as is. It is gorgeous!

Heather Peterson said...

I would do the simple molding around the mirror gold leaf andleave the carved stuff wood. You get the sparkle, but also the authenticity of a craved piece. Great find!

Heather
loveyourspace.blogspot.com

Laurie said...

Nooooo! Dont' paint it! Keep that baby as it is because it is gorgeous

Cat said...

I very much think that wood is too beautiful to cover up. Not everything needs a good coat of paint - although you have taught me how great 90% of the stuff in my home would look with a coat of paint! :)

MelissaGwen said...

I like the idea of gold leaf the side edge and maybe a bit if the frame just around the glassglass. it is beautiful wood and I am still thinking about how much I love your bookcases!

Amy H said...

I was wondering if you have ever considered doing some paneling over the fireplace since you have your sofa in front of it?

Amy H said...

I was wondering if you have ever considered doing some paneling over the fireplace since you have your sofa in front of it?

Kristin Smith said...

Tony Duquette red!

barbara@hodge:podge said...

I say paint it glossy red!

Audrey said...

I saw leave as is

FabĂ­ola Gil said...

Hi,
I have a mirror like that, only a bit smaller, and only the inner part of the frame, the narrow straight part, is gold leaf. I think it works really well... just a thought. ;)

Lindsey Gerrish said...

Gold leaf the crap out of the beautiful mirror.

Quatorze said...

I vote for dry-brushing the frame in a chalky off-white, letting the brown finish peak through as you see fit. Then you can see if you want to add some gold highlights, like just on the molding immediately surrounding the mirror glass, or just the center fans on each side, or just the corner scrolls. In any case, I think dry-brushing, including the gold, if used, will be better than applying it in a solid mass, which only looks good when the substrate is dead perfect, which is not the case with this hand-carved Indian mirror frame. I think the dry-brushing (or painting with thinned paint and then wiping off on the high points) will give the frame an ethereal effect.

Annie P said...

I would hang it up as is and live with it a bit. You can always paint it after you have determined whether or not the wood is a fit.

LaceyR said...

i suggest only painting the inner rim either: white, gold, tangerine or safety red

LaceyR said...

i suggest only painting the inner rim either: white, gold, tangerine or safety red

LaceyR said...

i suggest only painting the inner rim either: white, gold, tangerine or safety red

LaceyR said...

i suggest only painting the inner rim either: white, gold, tangerine or safety red

Liz said...

Ooooo, what an amazing find! Isn't it fun when you buy something from a stranger and have the feeling that they care about the piece you're buying? like they're relieved to see it's going to a good home. :) I'm so excited to see the mirror in its new spot!

rahimster said...

don't paint, that's indian rosewood and handcarved (especially if it's old) having seen craftsman at work it's amazing to see such a process, you can pass it on to your kids :)

rahimster said...

don't paint, that's indian rosewood and handcarved (especially if it's old) having seen craftsman at work it's amazing to see such a process, you can pass it on to your kids :)

Sarah said...

Definitely leave it! If anything, I'd paint only the inner rim. Most of the character is in the wood finish and texture. I think it'd lose a lot painted, and become "just another" scroll-y mirror.

Sarah said...

Definitely leave it! If anything, I'd paint only the inner rim. Most of the character is in the wood finish and texture. I think it'd lose a lot painted, and become "just another" scroll-y mirror.

Ginger said...

I think the milk paint is a good idea. I think it's too heavy for your look as is...and gold would be too over the top, in my opinion. You always get it right, Jenny. You don't need us :)

Erin Higgins said...

I would get an antiqued mirror cut to fit in the molding and have it installed on the wall by the mirror company:)

Amanda said...

Definitely as is. So pretty! And with all the painted and colorful surfaces in your room, a nice natural wood will be so warm and friendly.

ME said...

Pull the bright red from the carpet or black from the shelving trim. A distressed black with the red showing from underneath would work well. Gold would not work with the 'weight' of the frame and would make it cheap looking. Overall the unpainted wood would work best though.

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

I feel like it needs to be "roughed-up" a bit if it is to stay wood. I like the idea of a matte finish paint, or sparse amounts of gold. Can't wait to see what you come up with!!

Magdelana said...

leave the wood! I love the look. What a great find.

honbc said...

I love the wood tones and would keep it as is. It would play off nicely against carpet/area rug colours.

Beth Myers said...

Paint it saffron or marigold! Otherwise keep the wood. I like a warm tone on that wall to balance the white & black of the bookshelves and the minty tones of the sofa. Post a pic when you decide!

Beth Myers said...

Paint it saffron or marigold! Otherwise keep the wood. I like a warm tone on that wall to balance the white & black of the bookshelves and the minty tones of the sofa. Post a pic when you decide!

Sandra Carson said...

I liked the mirror a lot...
petfinder

carpet cleaning st albans said...

Great info. I love looking around the web when I am not cleaning the house finding interesting blogs and information like this. Great to see some off the wall posts rather than the normal same old posts that are everywhere. Well, better get back to the cleaning!
Carpet Cleaning St Albans

Lori said...

I like the mirror but somewhere else (like a hallway entrance.) The large brass mirror with the exposed screws from Rest Hardware would look great and provides big scale.

Lori said...

I like the mirror but somewhere else (like a hallway entrance.) The large brass mirror with the exposed screws from Rest Hardware would look great and provides big scale.

Darren Lois said...

I think you should hang it as it is. It has an antique look which will play well with the bookshelves on either side.

eden said...

I think this would be beautiful on your wall-- if the frame was painted in a matte white.

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