Hannah uses vintage 1970s mirror tiles to add dimension to her entry way

Mirror-Tile-WallIt is very satisfying to see vintage goodies that we feature find a welcome spot in appreciative readers’ homes. So we were happy to hear from Hannah, who purchased three NOS boxes of decorative 1970s mirror tiles from among a large stash that Pam spotted on etsy last year. Hannah used them to cover a dividing wall in her entry way — with groovalicious results.

mirrored-wall-tile-retroHannah writes:

I bought one box when the article first hit Retro Renovation. I wasn’t sure how or where we were going to use them, we tossed around a lot of options, but nothing that 12 tiles would really work for. I’ve kept the seller’s item on my watch list all this time as she had more available. I think it was late September 2013 when I bought my second box, then 3 weeks later my third. We’d done the measurements and decided the wall for the tiles would be the dividing wall between the living room entry and the kitchen.

Not sure if you can tell from this picture, but our baseboards are quite high at 7″. We’re going to finish off the top with something similar in style in an attempt to “frame” the mirrors.

I am absolutely in LOVE with the outcome of this wall!  I look at it every day in amazement at the dimension it adds to our small living room. Thanks, Pam, for always giving us a heads up of what’s out there for us Retro fans to finish off our dream homes/rooms.  And thank you also, for caring about Mid-Century “Modest”… which exemplifies my little 825 s.f. 1961 Ranch.

mirror tileHannah, you’ve really outdone yourself. That partial wall between your entry and kitchen was a great place for these mirrored tiles to land. You’re right — this feature adds interest, texture and dimension to your space. Also of note, the way the diamond pattern in the tiles mirrors the windows on your entry door. Repetition is one of the key factors of thoughtful design. Bravo on a job well done — and thanks so much for sharing your results with all of us.

Readers, there are still quite a few New Old Stock mirror tiles left in etsy seller cosasrara’s stash – there appear to be multiples of many of the designs, so you can create a mirror wall of your very own.

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Comments

  1. hannah says

    Thanks for the compliments, Kate! And to Pam and Kate for the feature of this fabulous mirrored wall!

    Mr. Wonderful, who installed it would not let me clean it for a week so it could ‘set up’. That killed me a little each day because I was dying to get some pictures to send to RR.

    We noticed the pattern connecting to the door windows, then we noticed the kitchen floor pattern, THEN you can’t see it but I have plates hanging on the kitchen wall and one has that criss cross pattern, AND on the wall behind that little bamboo plant, I have two jester plaques that are in the diamond shape. We had to laugh. :D

    Hey Pam, recognize the towel on the chair (supposedly there to keep the cat hair off the furniture which you can see is doing a wonderful job – lol)??

    xx
    oo
    hannah

    • hannah says

      Hi Kkmk –

      Thanks!

      My reply was misdirected to Janet, it never occurred to me that the wall might end up looking original to the house, but now that you mention it, it really does!

  2. Janet in CT says

    Hannah, looks wonderful! I too would have gone nutty wiating for it to set. Isn’t it neat how sometimes everything just all seems to fall in place?! Great job and love your kitty cat!

    • hannah says

      Thank you, Janet. I too have a *mild* love of harlequin pattern. The repeat patterns were not intentional, but it happens to have worked out well. I love my little kitchen as well. It’s just big enough for two senior citizens and 3 cats….well, sometimes the cats tails suffer but we try to be careful!

      Now that you mention it, it does look like it could be original to the house!

    • hannah says

      Thank you Jenny! I’d say it took him about 3 days to do. First testing the ‘goop’ he bought to adhere it to the wall (I can find out what it was, but it came in a tube with a narrow nozzle and was clear) doing just the bottom row then letting that set up. The next night I got home he had two more rows added. Then the next night, DONE! I was STOKED!!

      I’d been shopping for at least 10 years on eBay off and on for mirror tiles. It was very depressing as all the prices were outrageous then think about the shipping! I tried Craigslist, and THEN I found Retro Renovation and low and behold she linked us to the fab seller on Etsy.

      I think my first choice would be the gold vein tiles, but the more I admire the warm color of these, I’m happy. :)

  3. Jay says

    Your kitty looks like she is contemplating chewing on the plant which is what my cat would be thinking. The mirrored wall looks very nice, will help to spread light around. The space behind front doors can be a dark hole. Nice pole light floor lamp.

    • hannah says

      Jay, I didn’t realize it until you said so, but that wall was always a ‘dead zone’ visually. For the first 2 years we were here I had a huge cabinet on that wall that held my PC. That didn’t help. Plus, there was just enough room to get out the door in case of emergency. Not good!

      The mirrors help that space so much. And that’s Maggie. She’s one of our cats who is NOT a plant eater. She’s just meditating on sleeping. ;)

    • hannah says

      Oh, and the floor lamp. Got that for $15 at a flea market in Brunswick, Maine. Had been looking for years on eBay and Etsy and just couldn’t justify prices, shipping without having seen in person for the cost. It’s exactly like one my parents had in the 60’s save for this one has a finale. All this one needed was a good cleaning with Windex and some wood polish – looked brand new. :)

        • hannah says

          I was blown away. Two young men with a booth had it marked at $20, all Mr. Wonderful did was ask, “You take $15 for that?” And they gladly did! I am NOT a haggler, and $20 was plenty reasonable to me! lol

          A friend from HS that I hadn’t seen for 30 years came to visit this summer from Los Angeles. He saw my Heywood-Wakefield bedroom suite (head/foot-board, two night stands, two dressers – tall and low, and mirror) and said “That would be 6K in Los Angeles – I got the entire suite for $600 from the original owner (craigslist). :D

          There’s not a whole lot of resources for MCM here in southern Maine – but usually when you find it it’s at a reasonable price. There’s one ‘flea’ market that knows what they have and charge accordingly. I don’t typically shop there. ;)

  4. Mary Elizabeth says

    Hannah, your mirrored wall is amazing! It really does define the entry way. Also love your Simpson (?) door–looks like one of their styles.

    Compliments to Mr. Wonderful for the installation job, and you for being patient.

    In my experience, putting a towel or small quilt on a chair does not keep the cats off. It is an invitation to them. “Oh, look, my person made another bed for me to nap in!” And congratulations for keeping that plant going. I had to laugh when I saw your cat eying it, because this morning I just trimmed one of my few remaining plants of the dead leaves that had been chewed by my kitties. Keeping plants and cats in the same house is, as Samuel Johnson said of second marriages, “the triumph of hope over experience.”

    Your kitchen looks like one I used to have in a 1970s condo, in which we painted the badly damaged wood cabinets a gray blue and refinished the cabinet doors in light wood. It gives a kind of country French feel to the kitchen alongside the mid modern. Would love to see the whole thing, if you could post a link to the photo.

    • hannah says

      Good evening from Maine, Mary Elizabeth –

      Thank you!

      What’s interesting about living on the east coast (I was raised in Los Angeles, and spent 12 years before coming here in San Diego) is that people don’t really use their front doors. They use the side doors/storm porch entries. So this ‘entry’ will most likely never see me greating guests or saying goodbye to them for the evening. lol

      The covers we keep on the sofa and chairs are SO the cats can lay on them and not get hair on the cushions. Alas, when a cat chooses to sit where Maggie is perched the towel sags and her fur gets on the cushion in spite of any effort. *sigh* And Maggie is not one of our plant destroyers. That would be our male cats Buddy, and to a lesser degree, Aspen. She’s just on a perch and meditating on whatever cats meditate on. ;) I LOVE the Samuel Johnson quote! I own an online missing cat forum and am always looking for things to share with the members. That’s a good one.

      Oh, if you read a previous reply and see the link I shared about the condition of the kitchen when I bought the house – oy vey. I think someone must’ve made the color choices during the 80’s when “Southwestern” decor was totally en vogue. Ugghhh…when some friends came over to help me scrub and clean everything prior to move in I found the paint samples – how anyone could choose those and think “YES!!” I do not know. And yes, I still have those samples saved. It’s part of the history of this house.

      I’ll try and find a good picture of the kitchen in it’s current state, or take some over the weekend (depending on it’s condition of dirty dishes, etc – lol). I don’t know how often people revisit these posts unless you’ve ticked “subscribe to this entry” at the bottom of the page (when you make a post).

      Thank you for your very kind post. <3

  5. JKaye says

    The mirrored wall looks fresh and attractive, and perfect in that location. That big opening between the living room and kitchen also helps showcase the mirrored wall. A framed-in door between the two rooms would seem like a competing element. Maybe you could find a mod fabric with a diamond or lattice pattern for the valance over the kitchen sink.

    • hannah says

      Thank you, JKaye!! I love that the opening between the living room and kitchen is not just a small doorway. I’ve amused myself with small giggles over these two years that for this small of a footprint home, this must’ve been considered somewhat of an ‘open’ floor plan. I think you called that one, if it had a small doorway, it would not look near as appealing.

      The valance I have over the kitchen sink represents the first sewing I’ve done in about 18 years and is vintage boomerang bark-cloth purchased from Etsy. I have 2 more panels of the same fabric to do the windows over the kitchen table…but working full time, then chores on the weekend – yeah, that’s not happened yet! lol

    • hannah says

      Hi Holland – I’m so flattered you want to see more of my modest little kitchen!

      This house was a foreclosure that had been sitting empty for 2 years. It had seen better days (I’m the 3rd owner, but the second owner rented it out for a spell and it got a bit baffed out/neglected between these two residents) but our inspector said someone really loved this house and took great care of it overall (that would be the first owners, whom I’ve got a line on researching as I found one of their family friends online).

      The kitchen cabinets were all painted over the same bleak color, which just happened to perfectly match the darker tile of the floor I had laid. I was really itchy to get the kitchen to a state where it’s personality could come through. Mr. Wonderful stripped the doors and drawer fronts but thought it too big a job to do the rest so we decided to paint. Every time I’d visit Home Depot or Lowe’s I could not find the ‘perfect’ color of aqua I wanted. I then held up a vintage salt shaker I have that has an aqua cap and said to Mr. Wonderful, THIS is the color I want. It was then that I learned you could take such things in to HD and have them match the color. EUREKA!!! lol

      I’ll try to get some pics uploaded over the weekend and post back here if you’re really interested. In the mean time, here’s a link to what I moved in to:

      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v12/hannahpatricia/East%20Bridge%20Street/Kit2.jpg

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        Oh, dear, oh, dear! You have certainly warmed the place up big time! Fantastic job, Hannah and Mr. Wonderful.

    • hannah says

      Hi Robin – the copper diamond tiles were sure not my first choice. I was dead set on gold vein. But, you know the above story and I’ve now fallen in love with them. It’s really warmed up the room. We (after TWO YEARS) have still not gotten around to painting the living room, and the wall decor is not where I really want it…so hopefully it will all come together while the Mr. is ‘off’ work for the winter (he paints homes for a living), here in Maine.

      The poor front door, lovely as it is is severely weather worn and I am continually bombarded by the Mr. to get a metal door (uggh). I keep fighting that. I want to either restore this door (hollow at that) or get a retro replica. We butt heads when it comes to function vs aesthetics. I still have my original door, so for now – I win! ;)

  6. tammyCA says

    Looks like the mirrors were made for that wall…love how there’s the repeat diamond motif on the door, floor…neat, I have “a thing” for the diamond/harlequin shape. (and, cute kitchen, too!)

  7. Lisa Compo says

    Hannah it turned out great! I think we had a conversation on the facebook site one day with Jason and we were all debating on the best adhesive to use to hold the mirrors on the wall. Mr. Wonderful and you did a super job. It makes the room. Definitely looks as if it goes there and always has. The mirrors bounce the light around but the copper keeps it warm.
    I love the aqua color you had made for your kitchen cabinets. I ended up doing the same thing awhile back. Every paint chip was either too blue or too green, so I just made the shade I wanted out of old white paint and food coloring, painted a piece of drywall and took it to HD and they mixed it up for me. It doesn’t have the fancy name like “turquoise mint” or whatever, but it was my own designer color–that was fun.
    Are you really a senior citizen or was that a joke? You seem so much younger. Don’t often hear seniors say “stoked” . LOL Anyway…the mirrors look great–I’d be stoked, too. You’ve come a long way in 2 years from the pictures. :)

    • hannah says

      Hi Lisa – I remember that FB conversation and how afraid I was to make a decision. :)

      The product that we ended up using is Lexel. It’s a clear substance and the tube says “A superior alternative to Silicone”.

      Yup, Sr. Citizens here. I’m going to be 60 next May (so I’m 59 1/2 lol) and Mr. Wonderful is 63. But, we’re aging hippies so are young at heart.

      Thank you for the kind words about my age and the wall!!

  8. Pat Wieneke says

    This looks great! My first husband and I installed a mirrored tile wall in his 950 sq ft first house ( a little ranch with the garage underneith) We used smoked glass with a gold vein in it. Looking back, I still like it.
    I can not tell you how much bigger it made that small place look. And I can not tell you how many times his mom walked into it thinking she was going into another room!
    The sad thing was, the people we sold the house to….the first thing they did was tear out the tile.

    • hannah says

      Thank you for your comments Pat.

      Too sad, but of course it’s the first thing they tore out….if you watch those real estate shows on cable that’s all they want to do to vintage decor and structural elements.

      Last night after reading your comment I pulled up the MLS pictures and would click on them, then come back here to the pics – back and forth, finding myself amazed at what’s been accomplished too! Funny how you forget a little bit how it all started, and only see the flaws of what you still need to work on. Thank you for giving me some perspective. :)

  9. Pat Wieneke says

    WOW! Looking at the pictures of the house from the MLS and looking at the little bit we can see in your picture…you are a wonder woman! You took boring and made it into glam.

  10. Alicia Miller says

    Hannah, your wall looks Fabulous!!! I really like the copper tone tiles and the Kitty is Bello! I also noticed the cool Donut telephone on your table.
    Please, let me know what adhesive Mr. Wonderful used for the tiles.

    • hannah says

      Hi Alicia –

      Alicia!!! You’re the SELLER of these fab tiles, right???? The adhesive used is Lexel. It’s a clear substance and the tube says “A superior alternative to Silicone”. Purchased at Tru-Value Hardware (sure you can get it at the big box stores too). So far, so good!

      Glad you approve, and thank you for a terrific item at a great price.

      • Alicia says

        Yes, I am the mirror tile lady, lol. I will be recommending Lexel for the tiles since the double tape tabs in the box are so old…better be safe.

        Thank you very much, Hannah!

  11. Scott says

    A very nice touch to a room that already had a lot going for it, and I agree, I don’t think I’d have questioned that as being something that was always there, or had been there a long, long time. And to me, that’s a compliment of the highest order.

    The mirrors really play up that fantastic front door too, and now you get to see it in stereo.

    • hannah says

      Scott, your comment is most welcome. Sometimes I look at our ‘space’ and only see what I need / want to change about it or upgrade to more retro that I still have to wait on, for XYZ reason.

      What 80’s band was it that had a song about ‘moving in stereo’? The Cars? That’s what your comment made me think of. :)

  12. Dan says

    I love it! It reminds me of something you would see on the original “Star Trek” (the set designers on that show loved fabulous screens)

    A few years back I found some wonderful 70’s era fillagreed mirrors. I hung them in the bedroom hall, and they really look marvelous. Mirrors are a lot of fun.

    • hannah says

      Hi Dan –

      Star Trek you say, heh? I grew up with the original and I suspect that’s the era you mean?

      I’ve seen framed mirrors or serving trays with the gold vein mirror – love them and wouldn’t mind having a few myself. :)

  13. Anne-Marie Cory says

    This is beautiful. The only mirrored walls I have ever really seen were in trailer homes in rural Montana in the 70’s. Thus, I had NO idea they could be so artsy, so beautiful and elegant. I am just in awe of your space.. Really, this is nice work. Thanks for sharing and changing my mind about mirrored walls.

    • hannah says

      Anne-Marie – hello!

      I have never thought of any home I’ve ever lived in (as an adult having moved away from the parents home) as ‘elegant’. That just makes me smile. When I look around here I see “Hippie slammed up against MCM that somehow works.” :D

      Happy to make you a mirrored tile convert. Are you now searching for a purchase and have a wall in mind???

  14. Anna says

    I love your whole kitchen, it looks very inviting. My parents have a speckled mirror tile wall in the entryway of their 1970s house and this reminds me of that, very elegant yet cozy at the same time.

    • hannah says

      Anna, thank you so much! It is a cozy place. I do wish we had a couple extra 100 sf to play with, but 825 sf is good enough for two old aging farts. I mean really, how much space to I want to keep clean when I’m 90??? ;)

  15. Chutti says

    Hannah-

    I’m pleased to see how great your house is looking! I remember when it was a twinkle in yr eye, and all the work that went into just getting in there. Glad you are enjoying the fun (and maybe not as fun) parts of decorating your space.

    Yes, the mirror tiles are perfect. You always have a great way with getting everything to feel authentic. Some folks MCM homes feel a bit like a museum or a showroom. Yours looks inviting and loved.
    Good work!

    • hannah says

      HI Chutti!!! (((BIG HUGS)))

      I was wondering if you were still around, glad to see that you are. Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments! It’s nice that you remember what a trial it was just to get into the place. I almost gave up on it after 6 months of red tape, but hung in there and I’m SO glad I did.

      My MCM style leans WAY more towards ‘kitsch’ / funky, and is anything but sterile. Though I’ve thought I could make some cash when I retire and open it up for tours calling it “Life in the 1960’s. ;)

      How’s your house coming along? Say hi to your Mr. Wonderful for me!

      • Chutti says

        Doesnt it just feel like you were always there, now? Loooks like it….

        Hubs is doing great…our house is slowly getting back to 1920. He just restored my 30’s mahogany sofa….just waiting to get the down cushions from the custom place. He thought it silly to spend as much on cushions as an ikea couch, but since I spent $40 on the sofa 20 yrs ago and it will outlast us all, it’s still a bargain.

        Focus lately is on less fun stuff….cracks in stucco. Lots of em. Will have to focus on that before phase two of kitchen restore…..traditional mexican tile and my salvaged farm house sink. Since you’re fom CA, you’ll know what I mean when I say I want it to look like a See’s candy kitchen. All ‘modern’ and efficient, but circa 1926.

        fun to see you all settled in!

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