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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Entries from the ‘Pitfalls/Success Stories’ Category

Mirror, Mirror On The...

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Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis and followed my apartment renovation knows that I love to use mirrors to bring in light and to add interest to a space.  The proof is in the many places I have installed mirrors throughout the apartment.

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The mirror that started it all.  I worked with Desiron (desiron.com) to create this custom Klar floor mirror that I had mounted on the wall outside my closet.   I loved it so much that I decided to have more made for other areas in the apartment.  You can see my blue painter's tape outline in the background for the one I wanted above by my desk.

1 The mirror that started it all. I worked with Desiron (desiron.com) to create this custom Klar floor mirror that I had mounted on the wall outside my closet. I loved it so much that I decided to have more made for other areas in the apartment. You can see my blue painter's tape outline in the background for the one I wanted above by my desk.

Inside the closet, in the corners on each side, I had Junior from Narcissus Mirror and Glass install strips of mirror to open up the space and give the feeling that it goes on forever.

2 Inside the closet, in the corners on each side, I had Junior from Narcissus Mirror and Glass install strips of mirror to open up the space and give the feeling that it goes on forever.

I also mirrored the back of the lowest shelves on each side of the closet.  They bring so much extra light to the space.

3 I also mirrored the back of the lowest shelves on each side of the closet. They bring so much extra light to the space.

Another custom size Klar floor mirror from Desiron in my dining room.  Just beautiful.

4 Another custom size Klar floor mirror from Desiron in my dining room. Just beautiful.

The finished product.  What was once a tape outline is now a reality.  I love how it reflects the river outside.

5 The finished product. What was once a tape outline is now a reality. I love how it reflects the river outside.

I did a series of custom Klar floor mirrors above and below the wall mounted cabinet in my living room.

6 I did a series of custom Klar floor mirrors above and below the wall mounted cabinet in my living room.

The mirrors in this tear sheet, space designed by Karl Lagerfeld and shot by Francois Baudot, were my inspiration for the living room mirrors.

7 The mirrors in this tear sheet, space designed by Karl Lagerfeld and shot by Francois Baudot, were my inspiration for the living room mirrors.

In my powder room, I decided to remove the standard, installed medicine cabinet and replace it will a floor to ceiling mirror behind the sink.

8 In my powder room, I decided to remove the standard, installed medicine cabinet and replace it will a floor to ceiling mirror behind the sink.

In my main bathroom, mirror installed under the sink and below the shelf helps to brighten up the space and dark floor.

9 In my main bathroom, mirror installed under the sink and below the shelf helps to brighten up the space and dark floor.

Another great trick is to back the inside of a medicine cabinet with mirror.  It's an easy project with a big impact.

10 Another great trick is to back the inside of a medicine cabinet with mirror. It's an easy project with a big impact.

I did the same in my bath supply cabinet.

11 I did the same in my bath supply cabinet.

Even utilitarian spaces can benefit from mirror.  The dark closet where my washer and dryer are located is now a bright workspace.

12 Even utilitarian spaces can benefit from mirror. The dark closet where my washer and dryer are located is now a bright workspace.

I needed a smaller size mirror for my entryway to fit the space between the sconce and floating shelf and found a great option with the Infinity mirror from Room & Board (roomandboard.com)

13 I needed a smaller size mirror for my entryway to fit the space between the sconce and floating shelf and found a great option with the Infinity mirror from Room & Board (roomandboard.com)

A while back, I was in my office looking through a book on Jacques Émile Rhulmann, one of the most celebrated Art Deco interior and furniture designers of the twentieth century.  An image in the book really caught my eye and got me thinking about a new project for my apartment.  The image shows a indoor pool.  The water is so still and reflective that I thought it was actually mirror installed on the floor until I read the photo's caption.

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This is the image from the Florence Camard book, Ruhlmann, that got me thinking about installing mirror in the cove ceiling in my living room.

1 This is the image from the Florence Camard book, Ruhlmann, that got me thinking about installing mirror in the cove ceiling in my living room.

For some time now, I've been trying to think of something interesting that I could do in that space.  What about installing mirror there?  I contacted Junior, my friend at Narcissus Mirror and Glass, to come down to the apartment and talk about my idea and take some inital measurements.  A few questions came up during the visit.  Would the mirror reflect into the open space between the cove and ceiling?  If so, that wouldn't too be pretty.  Was there lighting originally installed in the cove?  That's a question I have for my contractor, Bob Tobin of BC Interiors, Ltd.  If there is wiring for lighting up there, it would be great to reconnect it to illuminate the ceiling.

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The cove ceiling in my living room.  It would be a great opportunity to do something really interesting in this space.

1 The cove ceiling in my living room. It would be a great opportunity to do something really interesting in this space.

This is the view from the front windows.  As you can see, it's a substantially sized space.

2 This is the view from the front windows. As you can see, it's a substantially sized space.

Another angle.  Whatever I decide to do is really going to change the look of the space.

3 Another angle. Whatever I decide to do is really going to change the look of the space.

I scheduled a visit with Junior to come in and have a look at the ceiling.

4 I scheduled a visit with Junior to come in and have a look at the ceiling.

One great point that he brought up was that if there is mirror on the ceiling, it would reflect whatever appeared in the cove.

5 One great point that he brought up was that if there is mirror on the ceiling, it would reflect whatever appeared in the cove.

I had to get up and see for myself what was in there.  Definitely not so pretty in there.

6 I had to get up and see for myself what was in there. Definitely not so pretty in there.

During my renovation, I think I remember that there may have been lighting that was installed in the cove but I'm not sure.  I need to ask Bob, my contractor.

7 During my renovation, I think I remember that there may have been lighting that was installed in the cove but I'm not sure. I need to ask Bob, my contractor.

A flashback of my entry hall.  The hall has certainly come a long way since this picture was taken.  This was the lighting that existed.  I hoping that's  the case for the cove in the living room.

8 A flashback of my entry hall. The hall has certainly come a long way since this picture was taken. This was the lighting that existed. I hoping that's the case for the cove in the living room.

Junior begins taking measurements to get an idea of the size of the space.

9 Junior begins taking measurements to get an idea of the size of the space.

Junior did a quick sketch of the space.

10 Junior did a quick sketch of the space.

Another important point to consider is that any irregularity in the space where the ceiling meets the wall will be highlighted once the mirror is in place.  Maybe the mirror is not the best option.   We'll see.

11 Another important point to consider is that any irregularity in the space where the ceiling meets the wall will be highlighted once the mirror is in place. Maybe the mirror is not the best option. We'll see.

In additional to installing mirror in the cove, what other options do I have?  We recently launched a new line of specialty paint finishes at The Home Depot.  One of the finishes is called Precious Metals and has a beautiful decorative sheen.  That could be really beautiful painted in the space .  I am also researching some metallic and reflective wallpapers that could also be another great option.

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This is the palette from our new specialty finishes project paint at Home Depot.  Painting the ceiling in either Mirror Glass or Tin would be a good solution.  It would add a beautiful sheen to the space without reflecting everything like the mirror will.

1 This is the palette from our new specialty finishes project paint at Home Depot. Painting the ceiling in either Mirror Glass or Tin would be a good solution. It would add a beautiful sheen to the space without reflecting everything like the mirror will.

So, what do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts on what you think I should do?  Please comment and stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what I decide to do in the space.

The Albers are reframed, hung and look...

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The Albers prints arrive all packed up and I must admit I had a moment of panic.

1 The Albers prints arrive all packed up and I must admit I had a moment of panic.

But then I saw Joe Brentano's label and knew it was going to be alright.

2 But then I saw Joe Brentano's label and knew it was going to be alright.

I had remembered to take a photo of the prints prior to the re-framing so I knew the exact placement that I liked.

3 I had remembered to take a photo of the prints prior to the re-framing so I knew the exact placement that I liked.

I laid them all out.

4 I laid them all out.

I unwrapped each one. It was really quite exciting.

5 I unwrapped each one. It was really quite exciting.

Even with a layer of protection, I knew they looked perfect.

6 Even with a layer of protection, I knew they looked perfect.

I placed them for David Kassel so that he would know where each one belonged.

7 I placed them for David Kassel so that he would know where each one belonged.

David and Atsushi begin the process of rehanging the Albers.

8 David and Atsushi begin the process of rehanging the Albers.

Once all of the hardware is measured out and up, the fun begins.

9 Once all of the hardware is measured out and up, the fun begins.

Here they go.

10 Here they go.

David and Atsushi took great care.

11 David and Atsushi took great care.

I love the way it's looking.

12 I love the way it's looking.

David told some wonderful stories as he worked about Albers. He knew the guys who mixed the colors.

13 David told some wonderful stories as he worked about Albers. He knew the guys who mixed the colors.

Final moments.

14 Final moments.

Last touches.

15 Last touches.

Atsushi is a perfectionist.

16 Atsushi is a perfectionist.

David and Atsushi stand back and admire their work...and Joe Brentano's.

17 David and Atsushi stand back and admire their work...and Joe Brentano's.

I love them.

18 I love them.

Amazing. I am so thrilled with the final framing job that Joe Brentano did for the collection of prints. Gone are the shadows and reflections. What I now have is a great presentation of the work that is also archival and will protect the art for years.

First, Bob Tobin had to come in, remove the old hardware, spackle and sand the walls. Then, of course, my good friend David Kassel, of iLevel Art Placement and Installation, returned with Atsushi to re-hang the work. And they all did a great job.

The whole process was worth the effort. While the first attempt was beautiful and I could have lived with it, what I have now is exactly what I want. The artwork is the first thing visitors see when they arrive at my apartment and I wanted it to look, well, perfect, And it does.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to make this project a success.

Paint Pitfall, Lesson Learned

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So, did you read in my Martha Stewart Living magazine column that there is a brick building across the street from my apartment that casts a red glow on my walls? I decided that I would need a yellower beige for balance.

Well, guess what? The original color I chose, Eiderdown, did not work at all. The building across the street cast such a strong red through the windows that the color seemed very off and not what I had imagined. It did not create a “color cocoon” but rather a harsh glow that kept me up at night.

So, off I went to check out my other options, including Mourning Dove, Heath, Hemp, Sandpiper, Cobblestone, and Cavern. Finally, I found the winning color (check out tomorrow’s post) that looked right in the bedroom. The painters could move on.

While I leaned a valuable lesson about paint, color and light, I also save myself some money. I stopped the painters immediately, before they could move on to another room, and quickly revised my plan. This soon created a seamless neutral backdrop for my furniture.

Do you have any scary paint stories? I’d love to hear about them. Dear readers, drop me a line and share.