I sensed a new note of glamour in a friend’s West End penthouse apartment while at her dinner party a couple of weeks ago. I scanned her lovely traditional-but-never-stuffy living room but nothing looked altered. However, the dining area was looking especially sparkling.
It turned out she had recently had three pre-measured mirrors cemented onto the wall opposite her English Bay view, to stunning effect. The mirror visually eliminated the wall and enhanced her antiques.
I’ve long wanted to mirror my living room wall opposite the only, large window but like many condos, that wall is the short one in a rectangular space, the most sensible spot for the entertainment unit. While dedicating that short wall to floor-to-ceiling storage and floating the furniture in a grouping makes the best use of a small living room and squares up a narrow space, mirroring that wall could do just the opposite. Any large entertainment/shelving unit would have to be placed along a long wall, exaggerating that shoebox effect.
During this especially dark winter I’ve tried to conjure up a way to bounce the weak natural daylight off the opposite wall while still retaining space for the TV, stereo, books, magazines and favourite objects.
One option is to get severely disciplined about what’s allowed to live in the living room so the whole floor-to-ceiling shelving idea can be scrapped for a low credenza/buffet that could sit flush against a mirrored wall. I imagine a sleek vintage teak piece, with a pair of lamps book-ending a tray with pillar candles (my fireplace) and neat stacks of magazines. This vision would require replacing all the traditional stereo paraphernalia — stacked components, CDs — for an iPod and docking station.
The second option I’ve come up with is buying an entertainment unit composed of stacking square modules with flush doors that could be mirrored to create a large reflective grid. I’m still not sure whether that would create the light and visual space I crave or whether it would all look more suited for a bedroom.
Also, both options don’t allow for hanging artwork nor do they solve the problem of having one’s couch-potato reflection staring back while watching TV. It’s just a matter of time before I lose the TV altogether — I’m more likely to watch the computer these days — but that reflection would still be there, a constant, subtle taunt on bad hair days and worse sweatpant evenings.
Carlyn Yandle is a Vancouver journalist with her own room-planning business, Home Reworks (www.homereworks.com). She dwells on urban-home issues every Thursday in Metro.