Convex Mirrors


{Mount Vernon Federal reproduction Convex Mirror by the Friedman Brothers  $3200}

I've had my eye out for a Federal-style convex mirror for a while...  Alone, they can be very serious pieces, often thought of as formal & symbolic.  Above, the 13 balls surrounding the mirror represents the 13 original colonies, and of course, the Eagle, chosen by our Founding Fathers, symbolizes the United States of America.  Originals and even good reproductions like the mirror above cost in the thousands.   In the 1940s and 1950s, a bunch of reproductions were made out of plastic and other cheaper materials and then painted gold.  I looooove the one below on liveauctioneers.com with a starting bid around $1200. 



In the photo below, Dorothy Draper used a massive ornate convex mirror for the Greenbrier Hotel:

{Dorothy Draper, the Greenbrier Hotel, photo via tilevera.com)

Below, Markham Roberts used a guilded Regency convex mirror above a fireplace in a new home that he worked hard to "age."  This story came out a few years ago and I really loved it because it showed how to add patina and a sense of history & permanence to a brand new home. 

{Markham Roberts in House Beautiful by Eric Piasecki}

...But as formal as Federal style convex mirrors can come across when used traditionally, they can also read modern & fresh when used unconventionally.  Below, Darryl Carter has a painted black convex mirror in his bedroom. 

{Darryl Carter's bedroom in Elle Decor Magazine}

I love Eddie & Jaithan's small white one below.  It's so unexpected and adds a bit of whimsy to the room:

{Eddie Ross in Lonny, photo via Matters of Style blog}

And how pretty and & glam is this mirror layered over mirrors below?

{also Eddie Ross!!}

A bit more versatile are plain convex mirrors as seen in the living room below.  The domed mirror itself is beautiful:

{JB Randall Powers in House Beautiful, photo by Luca Trovato}


Smaller ones can be added almost anywhere:

{image via decoroad}

If you look closely at many of them, you'll see the balls or starts inlaid in the frame reminiscent of the 13 original colonies.  Many of them have exactly 13.

{House Beautiful}

{image via Homeandgarden.com}

The convex mirror below lends a cool vibe to the room.  I love it when the mirror is old & spotted.

{Miles Redd in House Beautiful}

...And... -finally-  I found my very own vintage convex mirror when I was shopping at a thrift store in High Point with my friend Maria of Colour Me Happy.  I think it's one of the 40s or 50s reproductions and I might reguild it.  The mirror has been aged to perfection and it's complete with the 13 balls representing the original Colonies.  It was just the thing missing from above my nightstand:

{my bedroom.. photo by Helen Norman}

I'm always on the lookout for them and ebay has some pretty good deals.  That being said, there's nothing like an original & the beauty & history it posesses, so antique stores & sites selling mirrors in the thousands are also worth looking into if you have the budget.

xoxo, Lauren

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40 comments:

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Love this post, Lauren. These mirrors are so beautiful, and the one over your nightstand is lovely.
Teresa

Smitten Design said...

I've been searching for one. I'll keep looking.

An Urban Cottage said...

I've seen them on etsy too. The one you pictured from liveauctioneers is pretty special. I think it's tough to use them and not have them look really stuffy-colonial-like but you've done, is quite successful.

D.B. said...

I have always been crazy about these mirrors. I finally found a great one for $300! Back in "the day" it would have been a no brainer but now, I can't be as care free with the $$$$. : ( Great post!

Mary said...

Your bedroom just keeps getting prettier & prettier.

Cristin said...

Great post! Love the one in your bedroom. Layered animal hide over your grass rug is fab too.

xo,
cristin

PS- drop by with your fav organizing tip and you could win $250!

Marianne - Style For Living said...

Love these mirrors! The one in your bedroom is perfect!

abode love said...

I love the images you posted! I recently purchased a convex mirror for my living room- I also have a teeny tiny one that I have mixed in with artwork and photographs! Here is the link:

http://abodelove.blogspot.com/2010/09/eagle-mirror-on-wall.html

Lovin That! said...

I love how great it looks in all those spaces! Especially love your bedside table vinette. Lovely :-)

Laurie Jones said...

I found the steal of the century about a week ago at my local Goodwill, I love these mirrors too, and I found a metal one that weighs a ton for $3.99, it was one of those omg moments where I swiped it up and ran to the register and got out of the store, I seriously felt like I was stealing!! (Your bedroom looks lovely!)

Gretchen O. said...

I think it is just perfect in your room! And I am really liking the bag on the floor too:) I might have to be on the lookout for a convex mirror myself. Happy MOnday!

Hannah Kate Flora said...

How did I not know about your darling blog? My mom passed it along as well as your story in Better Homes & Gardens! You are too cute. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Acquired Objects said...

I have an antique convex mirror and love it. Mine has the 13 balls and a black rim before the gold wood but no ornament just thick hand carved frame. Love where you placed yours in your bedroom, I never thought of placing mine there.

Lila said...

I love how you showed how versatile this mirror is! It looks awesome in every style of room. I love the House Beautiful living room with those gorgeous periwinkle sofas. Beautiful!
xoxo
Lila Ferraro

Jenny said...

Very cool! I love how the alarm clock on your nightstand repeats the shape of the mirror, including the eagle on top. :)

Cote de Texas said...

i have one over my fireplace and love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and i have another smaller one too. great post.

The Old Painted Cottage said...

Lauren, thank you for opening my eyes to this gorgeous statement piece. I'd seen these mirrors in the past, and like you mentioned, always thought there were for formal use. Well, not any more! Not only do I love all the versatile styles you shared, my very favorite example is the one you have in your bedroom. It is PERFECT in every way in there.

PS, I've been a reader of your blog for like forever, but I think this is my first comment. What took me so long?

oxox
Jennifer

Belinda said...

I should really check for one in my Grandmother inlaws attic. She has so many things in there that she has kept over the years and never uses them. She told me I could have some beautiful baskets I saw in there. She said anything you guys could use from that attic please take it and use it since its collecting dust. lol

Knowing her there is probably one of these in a box somewhere up there since her husband is retired military. Wouldn't that be a great find?!?

La Petite Gallery said...

My Aunt taught me more that the courses I took in the seventy's. She was Dorthy Drapers assistant.
She traveled all over Europe,
they designed many a castle. Loved this post. It was great.
Those Mirrors are hard to find
in good condition.
yvonne

Seagrass Interiors said...

Love this! I love how alone, they may seem stuffy and pretentious, but paired just right they're beautiful! I love yours over your nightstand.

Melissa

PS I'm loving your bag next to your bed! So cute! : )

Kevin said...

I had the luck of finding a good reproduction at Good Will for $1. I love it! Great post!

VictoriaArt said...

One of the things I have one my perpetual list...
Hoping for an incredible find!
Your samples are gorgeous!

Lovely!
Victoria

paula said...

what a find! I have been on the hunt for one for such a long time. One day I suppose.

doug @ tracery interiors said...

love these...placed an antique silvered one in a tiny powder room where you couldn't get far enough away from the sink to see yourself anyway...

traci zeller designs said...

Lauren, that looks amazing in your bedroom! Very inspired of you!

Layne & Everett said...

I've learned something new! Never knew about the history behind convex mirrors. Yours looks great in your bedroom {I see you got your cowhide rug!}.

New York Marble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CarrickAmery said...

Looks so pretty! No words it’s about beauty. I like the use of the ice blue, silver and white that is so trendy now. It is such like a dream house. Good job Thanks for sharing the photos. Lime Stone Tiles

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I absolutely LOVE convex mirrors! I have two and really want another.
I love DC dark one in his office/library...and your new find is fantastic!
~R

Jessica H said...

Love these mirrors Lauren. There is one exactly like the top picture above the mantle in my grandmothers house.

Danielle@Fresh Quince said...

Wow...a ton of gorgeous images, especially your restful bedroom!

Maria Killam said...

Wow that looks so great in your bedroom and I love the segue tutorial leading up to it! Thanks for the mention sweet friend!
xo
Maria

Donna in Potomac said...

If you loooove the mirror in your second photo, you'll probably love the Triumph Mirror at SourceCollection.com (formerly SourcePerrier). It's on my to-buy-list for $975.

The Insane Writer said...

I absolutely love the zebra rug in Darryl Carter's bedroom.

LiveLikeYou said...

Of all those great designs by great designers I loved your bedroom the most. And I mean it!! Beautiful!!

the gardeners cottage said...

thank you for this tutorial on convex mirrors. i have one that a friend gave me years ago and sure enough it has the 13 bumps on it. i never knew that. thanks again and i really, really love your bedroom.

~janet

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Lauren- Loved this post! I'm going to feel so stinking smart next time I see one of these mirrors and can count those 13 balls!

Helen did a GREAT job with that bedroom photo! The lighting and shadows make the room come to life. That mirror is the perfect touch!

Loretta

eddieross said...

I love me a convexed mirror! great post!!!

Margitta said...

Oh! i bought an old (no idea how old though) convex mirror years ago in a thriftstore... it's hanging dusty and forgotten on the attic!!! You gave me inspiration to find a place for it... Thanks :)

Nicki said...

Love it! Just beautiful....must know more about your bag. I've seen it in a few posts and am in love.