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Recreating the gentle glow of antique mirrors

The craftsman who can make a new mirror look as good as old

Recreating the gentle glow of antique mirrors

August 29 2011
Lucia van der Post

Dominic Schuster is one of those names that insiders in the world of upmarket interior design have tucked away in their little black books. He’s mostly been known for doing high-quality restoration work. Should you have a Gustavian clock, an Italian neoclassical console table or a marquetry chest of drawers that isn’t quite what it was, then Schuster is your man. He’ll make them good as new. But recently he’s started a sideline in antiqued mirror.

Now, unless you’ve tried to find a genuine piece of old mirror – say, to fit into an old picture frame (as I once did) – you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is. And as for new mirror, well, the problem with that is that it does look awfully… new. Old mirrors look so much gentler and, since Schuster was primarily involved in restoring decorative antique pieces, he has developed techniques for imitating old paint, lacquer and mirror effects.

He offers antiqued mirror as a separate service or product, and can supply it in panels to be used on walls, or it can be incorporated into furniture designs or as clock faces. Or use it, as I intend to do, to turn an old picture frame into a charming mirror. New for Decorex 2011 (September 25-28; Royal Hospital Chelsea, London) will be coloured antique mirror glass.

Besides selling the antiqued mirror (£285-£365 per square metre, depending upon how elaborately antiqued it is; example pictured), Schuster also has some mixed-media art (from £373). These have a background of antiqued mirror and are mixed with architectural prints or fine-art photography. They can be seen and bought at his showroom in Wandsworth, which can be visited by appointment only.