Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romance, so this is a fun time to make our home a bit more romantic, and maybe spruce up our own appearance as well. Mirrors and proper lighting can help in both instances. I think Saint Valentine would be pleased at all the fuss.
Mirrors are a quick way to add sparkle and glamour to the home. A favorite technique of mine is using mirrored placemats, with beveled edges. They reflect candles and beautiful flowers. I also like combining them with other reflective accessories such as silver and cut crystal. The placemats are easy to clean, with a wipe of Windex. They also are small and easily stored. I have had mine for years. An additon to candles is LED (light emitting diode) lighting. LED candles and LED votive candles emit no heat so can be installed in paper holders. LED tape, in varying lengths, can simply be mounted atop a ledge or bookshelf and plugged in. Then as a director you click the hand held control and chose whatever flattering rose or gold hues you want to set the stage. For inspiration look at some of those over the top events shown on line, such as at Kennedy Center or the National Building Museum.
When it comes to sprucing up ourselves in the mirror it is helpful having more than just the mirror over the sink. I like being able to get up close to the mirror for that last minute grooming, and I hate magnifying mirrors. As for lighting, please, no spotlights on the ceiling: they create shadows.
For a dressing area for a client, I designed a closet with a three way mirror. It was simply three hinged mirrored doors. When the center door was closed, and the two outer doors were opened, she had in essence the kind of view you get in a department store dressing room. Don’t want a three way mirror? I recently saw a wall mirror in a DC hotel ladies’ room that had an ultra wide bevel; much more stylish than those wall mirrors mounted with little plastic clips!
So, you look great, the house looks great, the champagne is chilling. Perhaps one of your toasts could be to Saint Valentine. He was a Christian priest who performed secret wedding ceremonies for early Christians, particularly soldiers, against Roman law. Romans felt soldiers were better fighters if they were single.Valentine was executed by Imperial Rome because of his activities. Just before his death he wrote a note to a woman whom he had helped heal from an illness. The note was signed “from your Valentine”.
Pamela Heyne,AIA, is a Saint Michaels architect and designer. She is author of Mirror By Design and a forthcoming book on Kitchen design, based on her interview with Julia Child. [email protected]