In the course of redesigning and renovating a five-bedroom house, the time has come to consider mirrors. I’ll reincorporate a fine quality gilded period French mirror, 8 feet high, in the stark double-height foyer, standing on the subtly veined marble slab floor. For the rest, I’m imagining new mirrors with a unified theme along the line of clean-with-a-slip-of-glamour. I’ll source this project from Roma Moulding so I’m taking a deep dive into their current line of picture frame mouldings, studying every single frame in turn.
I have relied on Roma for two decades for all my framing. A Canadian company, with a remarkable internal culture, their products are made in Italy of the finest materials. I select the frames and they make up the mirrors to my measurements, glass and frame, and deliver them. Thus, dreaming into the design mood of the moment, holding my client’s home in my imagination, I note the frames that stand out from their collection and immediately see that they have to be doubled-up to work for me.
With the double frame theme, the individual rooms and bathrooms are considered and worked through. A simple broad flat frame combined with a textured gold- or silver-gilt frame, comes out of the selection process as the look. The gilt frame can either cap the outer edge like the backband around a door frame, or form a gleaming inner rim to the simple box frame.
Now come many hours of comparing the height of the rabbet (the inner rim that overlaps the edge of mirror, glass or the other frame) with the height of the frame, for all selections that would slip inside, cap outside or form the broad base. The physical reality of fitting things together whittles down the options. The oversized square frames work remarkably well.
Then there’s the task of comparing the colour and grain of the marble in the bathrooms with the frames. Also relating the furnishings planned for the bedrooms and living spaces to the styles of the frames. I have to evaluate wood tones, the gloss or matt of the finish, the shade of the gold and silver, the nature of the carving.
This is pure design work and it is hard to say why two qualities are harmonious. You have to give it time, move things around and eventually the stronger pairings are clear and a few stand out. I’m showing a breadth of styles to interest a range of readers as well as the range of rooms in the project.
I ordered a selection of frame corner samples for the presentation (the photos were taken in Roma’s showroom). The client will be able to hold samples up to the bathroom stones and tiles and compare the frames to fabric and wallpaper samples.
My client may not appreciate this approach. Fair enough. There are thousands of ready-made mirrors to choose from. I rather enjoy creating deep dive design solutions, precisely tuned to the project. It’s a happy side-effect that they can’t be found anywhere else.
All photos by Lois Macaulay in the Roma Moulding showroom.
A long standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Lois Macaulay holds a 1st place award for residential design 2018, 2nd place for 2017 and 2 presidential citations for contributions to the profession from ASID. “I love creating beautiful settings for extraordinary women--and men,” she says. The strong fashion/design connection in these posts owes its source to her first career as a fashion designer, coordinator and national fashion magazine editor.