Decorating dilemma: the floating mirror

Sunday, July 2, 2006

HE SAID: I walked out into the hallway the other day, and there sat a mirror. The mirror was full-length, trimmed in black and resting against the wall.

Aha, I thought. There's a column. Because there's a story behind that mirror.

The story begins a few years ago when Callie started taking over the house. Some of her changes were for the better. The kitchen is now red instead of white, and the cabinets are a crisp white instead of the dingy wood they once were. The living room is light green instead of dark maroon, a color I had painted to match one of the colors in my ugly plaid couch. Callie also likes to make fun of the fake plastic flowers I had in the house somewhere. I don't even remember where they were. I just threw them up somewhere. Bought them for a quarter at a garage sale.

And then there's the mirror. The mirror, though not pretty, was useful. It hung just outside the bathroom where one could step in front of it after dressing in either the bedroom or the, ahem, lavatory.

The mirror was in the perfect place. It was functional. I was happy with the mirror.

Then along came Ms. Trading Spaces, the HGTV queen, the Makeover Princess.

I asked her why the mirror had to move, and the answer was simple. It was ugly. Then I asked where we would put the mirror. And she said we'd find some place for it.

So my cute and talented wife took the mirror off the wall and painted the bathroom and hallway a beige color. She started painting the doors and the trim white, but never finished. To this day, more than a year later, the hallway is unfinished. But after the unfinished paint dried, Callie took a bunch of my photographs, mostly photos of Drew, and hung them in the hallway. Half-painted trim aside, the hallway looks better.

But the mirror has been floating ever since. And therein lies my problem with Callie's decorating.

Style over substance.

I would very much like to have a recliner. To me, it's one of man's best inventions. And one of man's rites of passage. When you own a recliner, when you sit down in front of the television, flip up your feet and lean back, you know you're the master of your castle.

But recliners are ugly, the queen says. Only boxlike chairs with "clean lines" are worthy of display.

That mirror has clean lines all right. But they're plastic. I guess Miss Makeover prefers the look of the mirror leaning against the wall, instead of just hanging on it.

I think it messes up the feng shui myself.

SHE SAID: I've never believed that story about buying those ugly plastic flowers for 25 cents at a yard sale.

I think Bob nabbed them from cleanup day at a local cemetery.

I'll admit I suffer from decorating ADD. I have good intentions -- as illustrated by the half-painted trim in the hallway -- but, like the slumping Cardinals, not a lot of staying power apparently.

(Sorry Bob, I just had to work that in.)

As for the mirror, I argue that having a mobile mirror is MORE functional than one hanging on the wall. If I want to blow-dry my hair in the bedroom, I just cart the mirror in there. If I want to see what the back of my hair looks like, I take the mobile mirror back in the bathroom to compare with the mirror in the medicine cabinet.

If I want to check out my ensemble, I prop the mirror up in the hallway, where there's room to back up and view myself head to toe.

And if I want to freak the cats out by casting those shiny reflections caused by the sun all over the ceiling, I can bring the mirror into the living room.

I ask you: How much more functional can one mirror be?

And the recliner situation? Furniture manufacturers have finally figured out this problem. I've seen several recent advertisements for sleek, stylish recliners that can still stroke a man's ego (if that's what does it for you. I personally don't get the recliner infatuation).

So a decorating compromise may be in order.

But the floating mirror will float on.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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