The corner window above is an optical illusion created in response to the penny-pinched architecture of the space that became Improvised Life’s Laboratory. Cutting every corner possible, the building’s developer didn’t even leave one inch to the right of narrow living room’s window — the wall butted right into the sill —making the room feel lopsided and hemmed in. Here’s how it looked when I arrived with the few things I’d hauled to the space on my trusty dolly: a folding recliner for mulling and some stacking stools for tables.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Figuring out the problem is one of the first things I set my mind to. Using a plastic air conditioner surround, I propped up a sliver mirror left behind by the previous owner to try to see if my mirror idea might actually solve the problem.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

The test showed that the mirror would reflect a dazzling view of the park across the way. I also planned to knock down a sheetrock wall to open the room up.  I’d paint the place white, including the dark green windows to make them recede.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Originally, I was going to just stick a mirror the size of the window onto the adjacent wall. Designer Scott McFarlane suggested I sheetrock a surround for the mirror, to give a more realistic illusion of a corner window. It was a great piece of advice. Here’s the sheetrock “nook” with a mirror salvaged from the bathroom, for a second makeshift test we did during the renovation.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Finally the renovation was far enough along that the mirror guys could come and install the mirror in the nook.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

And suddenly there it was, a corner window opening up the unfinished space:

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Most people who visit don’t “see” the mirror; they think it’s a corner window…or something…

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

If you DON’T have a wall that runs right into the window, but starts inches to a foot away, placing a mirror on it will still let you see the view. A great trick.

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6 replies on “A Mirror Makes a Corner Window with a Big View

  1. Amazing result – just love it!

  2. Wow! A stellar idea beautifully executed. It probably would have looked good simply fastened to the wall but the extra step of recessing it brings it to perfection. This is something I hope I’ll have the chance to put to use some day. Thanks, Sally!

  3. Thanks Tey. It’s still a serious work-in-project as I’ve been busy with Improvised Life. But I guess that’s the deal with owning a place. The next big project: a berth Murphy bed with book shelves. Stay-tuned!

  4. Great idea to bring more light into the space and provide the illusion of a corner window, especially effective with the sheetrock nook.

    After reading the quote in the text, “Most people who visit don’t “see” the mirror; they think it’s a corner window…or something…” I have one very important question. Are most people that visit Improvised Life’s Laboratory vampires?

    😉

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