A Wall of Mirrors

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

Forget garish wallpaper – these days the most stylish accent walls are mirrored.  And, thanks to modern antiquing techniques, the new glass veneers are classier than ever.

Looking for a stylish yet practical way to decorate a wall? Instead of art, try mirrored veneers. Today’s mirrored walls aren’t bling, but antiqued – chemically treated to look aged. This is a relatively new technique, and one that only a few specialist craftsmen have mastered.

‘Historically you couldn’t get it. You actually had to find antique mirror glass, which was phenomenally expensive,’ says Rupert Bevan, whose antiqued mirrored veneers are setting the bar for this kind of thing.

It’s his work you’ll see in Babington House and Soho House Miami, as well as in private homes across London’s swankiest postcodes.

‘Mirror glass has a bit of glamour about it. And, dare I say it, the glass we produce is very lovely.’

These days, the chemicals and techniques they use to treat the glass mean it’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. ‘We acid antique the back of mirrors to make them look like old silvered or mercuried mirrors,’ says Dominic Schuster, another expert in the field. He produces more than 20 finishes from his Wandsworth workshop and has clients all over the world. Like Bevan, he’s also a restorer, which helps. ‘We understand how a mirror from the 1890s or 1920s should look,’ says Bevan.

Mirrored walls are also popular because they’re enormously practical. ‘They throw off light. If you mirror a wall it sends you beyond the room and makes the space seem bigger,’ says Bevan. For that reason, it’s perfect for dark spaces – Bevan does a lot of work in cloakrooms and bathrooms (although dining rooms are still popular, too).

There are, as with any kind of home improvement, certain factors to think about. ‘Design is important – how you break up the glass,’ he adds. Though there’s no need to be faint-hearted about it. ‘You could wallpaper an entire dining room and it would still look subtle.’

Indeed, Schuster and Bevan agree that there are few rules. ‘If you put them in a room where sunlight comes into the room, it might be too much – that’s worth knowing,’ says Bevan. ‘Otherwise, there aren’t many don’ts. Just don’t put them down to floor level in a children’s room as they’ll get kicked and broken.’

You can experiment with different effects, too. ‘We do a Mondrian effect that’s popular at the moment. It’s almost like having a piece of art on the wall,’ says Schuster. ‘We also do fine art photography coming through antique mirror. It changes with the light.’

Price-wise, the glass doesn’t come cheap – you’re looking at around £300-£450 per square metre – but there’s no disputing it delivers the ‘wow’ factor. ‘Mirror glass has a bit of glamour about it,’ says Bevan. ‘And, dare I say it, the glass we produce is very lovely.’

 

Rupert Bevan – rupertbevan.com

Dominic Schuster – www.dominic-schuster.com


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