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Home design: He wanted ‘The biggest, baddest, most amazing’ mirror

A formal Back Bay living room with plenty of gilding hearkens back to tradition, with a twist.

michael j lee

The directive from designer Kristine Mullaney’s client, a native Bostonian, for decorating his Back Bay home was clear. “He wanted nods to historic Back Bay and Beacon Hill town houses without it feeling stuffy,” she says. They decided that the focal point of the living room would be a show-stopping gilded mirror hung over the room’s original marble mantel. “He wanted the biggest, baddest, most amazing antique mirror,” the designer says. Mullaney looked at nearly 30 mirrors, until Diana and Scott Cooper, the owners of Trianon Antiques, found this one at a flea market in Paris. “The eye goes right to mirror, which is massive at over six feet tall,” Mullaney says. “The scale draws you into the room.”

1 A hand-knotted Egyptian rug with Oushak-style patterning from Landry & Arcari pulls in rose tones to unify the room. Mullaney says, “It’s pretty, but not overpowering and acknowledges the homeowner’s desire for elements found in a traditional Boston town home.”

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2 The existing swivel chairs upholstered in raspberry silk velvet were the starting point for the room. “I love rose tones, so it was not a stretch for me,” Mullaney says. Missoni pillows are a youthful touch.

3 Mullaney customized a Dennis & Leen chandelier, originally in a rustic iron finish, with gilding. “I loved the shape,” she says, “but [it] needed to be gold to work.”

4 The owners of Trianon Antiques scoured Parisian flea markets for an oversized statement mirror. This Louis XV-style carved wood and gesso piece needed to be restored, re-gilded, and professionally hung. “This mirror had its own team of people,” Mullaney jokes.

5 A photograph of an Italian palazzo by David Burdeny framed in a handmade gilt frame from Back Bay Framery is reflected in the mirror. “Even though the subject is old and grand, that it’s photography rather than an oil painting keeps the room feeling fresh,” Mullaney says.

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6 Circa-1890 Louis XVI-style carved giltwood chairs from Trianon Antiques keep that side of the space open and airy, and are lightweight enough to move where needed.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.