Mirror, Mirror

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Today's post is Kate's take on this month's theme of 'Reflection'. So - What's the project??! This is the project of mirrors - and this was a project months in the making. Nine months to be exact. Actually maybe 6 years and nine months.

You see, I have a trouble spot in my home. We all have 'em. It's that wall or that corner or that entire room that jeers and sneers and mocks you. You can't figure it out. You try and try. You bend over backward for this thing. You can't stop thinking about it. It haunts you. You might even grow to hate it.

That's the enormous blank, bland wall in my family room. I despise it. It sat empty for years after we moved in. And that's saying something. I'm usually pretty quick to the take on decorating solutions. But here was this wall. This HUGE wall of 70's wood paneling. (I'm talking about the vertical version of wood paneling from the 70's - long before Joanna Gaines classed up the idea of wood paneling with the beloved term "Shiplap" and turned it on it's side for a horizontal installation)

When we first looked at this house with the realtor, this entire room of wood paneling was the original 70's DARK wood paneling. A month later, we went back for a second look at the house. Something was different. The entire room had been white-washed. It was an improvement, but it wasn't charming. It was STARK white. Well, I don't know what to tell you. For whatever reason, that room was not a priority (even though the room sits smack-dab in the center of our daily life) ... so the walls remained a blank white. For four years. Then we painted the walls a soft gray to warm it up a bit and painted the little wet-bar cabinets a deep turquoise/teal. That helped a ton. I now had the fortitude to approach the big blank wall.

I thought and thought.

Looking back now, I have loads of ideas as to how I could have brought the wall to life and have absolutely no idea why I've struggled so mightily. I think a big part of it is the fact that this room is NARROW. It's long and narrow, as many 70's built homes are. So - I didn't want whatever-I-did-with-this-wall to make the room feel even more narrow. Here's the Long, Narrow Room. (I took the pic at Easter time - hence the blown eggs on the mantel, etc.)

Circles. I decided I needed a wall of circles. It sounds really stupid to me now, but yes - that was my brilliant idea after four years of staring at it.

Not sure which came first, the idea of circles, or the run-in with the heavy farm machinery wheels at the antique shop during a girls weekend away. But - I saw the huge-heavy wheels and decided they would do the trick. They were huge! And they were yellow! Sitting in the antique shop they looked arts & craftsy in a kick-ass artisinal way. They were fun. I went out to the parking lot and sized up the back door of the minivan. Would they fit? Nope.

So - I took a picture of them and returned home to my husband. Miraculously he said yes. Yes - we could rent or borrow someone's truck and drive it hours to this antique shop to purchase these ridiculously heavy wheels that we probably won't be able to hang anyway. Maybe he was tired of staring at the blank wall after four years? I don't know - but we were both motivated.

And so - the wall of circles came together. Exhibit A:

It's not TERRIBLE. But still - I secretly loathed this wall. I couldn't bare to tell my husband this, though, for another two years. We had the circle wall for two years. (We had the clocks already and they were both broken, so I moved their hands to represent "magic" numbers: 7 and 11:11 = I needed all the help I could get with this dang wall = when in doubt, add a couple magic numbers). Anyway - I could go on and on about this silly wall. The pop of YELLOW of the wheels was lost as soon as we hung them up. It's just slender little spokes! With lots of space in between each spoke! So it's like hanging AIR up on the wall! Gah!!!

I figured the circles would help move the Ch'i along the wall and around the room more appropriately than rectangles or square things. Now that I've done some recent reading up on Feng Shui, I realize that all the circles might have created a fast moving river of Chi' - too fast - hmmm. Well. The circles are down now. Hindsight. ...

One day after two years of the circle wall, I stumbled up on this picture of a dining room with a big blank wall that was covered with beautiful antiqued mirrors.

My heart skipped a beat! I knew I was on to something.

THEN, the idea was reinforced when Nate Berkus's home was featured in Architectural Digest recently, I saw this photo of his dining room with a huge wall covered in gorgeous antiqued mirrored glass! YES. Challenge Accepted.

So - a couple months later during the after-holiday-New-Year sales, I loaded up on mirrors from Menards. I bought nine mirrors. They sat in the basement for 7 months.

Until two weekends ago! I pulled those things out of the basement, watched the how-to-antique-mirrored-glass DIY videos on YouTube a million times, took a deep breath, and dove in. I also took multiple trips to Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards. I spent much of that weekend spraying paint stripper, scraping goopy paint off the back of the mirrors, rinsing and washing them, cracking and chipping them, gluing them back together, spraying them with a bleach-water mixture, trying many different ratios of bleach-water to get the "right" effect, then spraying the back with combinations of copper, gold, and black spray paint, and sighing and cursing and groaning in exasperation, and inhaling fumes in my garage.


I didn't finish in the first weekend. I completed TWO mirrors that I liked, and THREE that I needed to touch-up. I put the mess away and recouped my strength to tackle it again a week later.

And then last weekend arrived! A holiday weekend! I had five days off in a row, and I was ready. Ready to show those mirrors and paint stripper and bleach water WHO'S BOSS! Ready to triumph over that dastardly big, blank wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WILL NOT BE DENIED!

Whelp! THAT was fun! (??!!??) hahaha.

I am quite pleased with the result. They say that mirrors are the "aspirin of Feng Shui". Terah Kathryn Collins, author of 'The Western Guide to Feng Shui' says that mirrors can "activate, enhance, and circulate Ch'i. They can correct a ton of problems by enlarging rooms, amplifying existing light, providing protection, rerouting Ch'i, bring out "disappearing" walls and doubling existing windows and views."

TAKE THAT, YA BIG BORING-CLUNKY WALL! I know Kate would approve.

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