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Creating a Secret Garden

Creating a Secret Garden

By Zachary Greaves


I am writing in a characterful and cosy Georgian cottage. The walls are thick, the ceilings low, and it is secluded from the hustle and bustle of town, with a small but beautifully maintained garden at the front. Original stone steps lead up to the first floor – uneven through years of wear. This house has many a story to tell.


The lounge is the biggest room in the house, and – overlooking the garden – has a lighter, airier feel to it. However, there is always a desire to open the door and let more of the garden (and light!) into the room; the window isn’t quite enough at any time of year.


And so this issue continued to be a niggle – rather than a problem. A creative solution was required.


A painting, photograph or sculpture could have been placed in the corner to add visual interest whilst also reflecting light into the room. But reflection was the key. A large mirror was needed. However, with other elements within the room to consider, design was as important as size. The mirror would need to compliment the existing mirror above the fireplace; to coexist next to a glass light fitting; to be proportionally correct in a corner of the room.


The design of this large lean-to mirror is uncomplicated and without frill – inset metal beading is subtle and does not detract from the reflection itself. I should explain at this point – the mirror stands opposite the garden door, and serves the dual purpose of reflecting light from the window when the door is closed; when it is open, the garden literally becomes part of the room. Ultimately, the wooden door will be replaced with a glass-panelled one, and so the garden will become a permanent feature on the wall of the lounge.


The sun shone on the day of the mirror’s installation. As the door was opened and the garden’s image reflected back, I was reminded of two books I had enjoyed in my childhood – The Secret Garden and Tom’s Midnight Garden. Both books explore the garden as a place of escapism and wonder – of transformation and transportation to another world, and in the case of Tom’s Midnight Garden another dimension altogether.


Thoughtfully placed, a mirror can bring all of these qualities to any room. However, the dimensions of this mirror enable life-sized transformations. It brings visual interest to a room that is subtle and refined, literally breathing fresh life into it.


In December, the Christmas tree will stand opposite the mirror – its lights and baubles in dual, dazzling radiance. Over winter, the addition of reflected light will be welcome.


Reflections are merely illusory representations of reality. Although a still image or painting may be able to deliver a sense of luminance, they are unable to complement the changing weather and seasons at the same time. Mirrors stay true to reality whilst providing the ultimate illusion.


The idea of a ‘Secret Garden’ is appropriate within a house of this age. In fact you could say that it adds a new dimension….


We have a huge range of mirrors of all shapes and sizes on display in both of showrooms, and if we don’t have what you are looking for the chances are that our team will be able to help find you something suitable – come in and see us now!




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