I’ve been known to lose an hour or two to Architectural Digest home tours, time slipping by as Mario Bellini sofas dart in front of my eyeballs and serotonin hits my brain. But recently, an image from Joanna Goddard’s more attainable Brooklyn brownstone stopped me in my tracks: In her bedroom, a large circular mirror hangs above her dresser. The caption IDs it as an Umbra mirror, a recommendation from her friends Hollister and Porter Hovey, who stage New York apartments for real-estate agents and “know how to make spaces look beautiful without spending too much money,” Goddard writes. Affordable mirrors are few and far between, so I clicked immediately.
When I reached out to the Hoveys to find out more, they told me they originally saw it six years ago while perusing Urban Outfitters, a go-to site of theirs for affordable décor. Now the 37-inch mirror is available on Amazon for $116, compared to others of this size with a similar look that can run upwards of $500, the Hoveys say. (The price does seem to fluctuate a bit, but since spotting it, I haven’t seen it go above $150.)
They tell me they initially had a hunch the basic design would make for a versatile object they could incorporate into a bunch of different aesthetics. Turns out they were so right that they had to keep buying more as the projects rolled in. Today, they keep 50 around as part of their inventory and have used one in nearly all the approximately 600 jobs they’ve completed decorating industrial downtown lofts, new-build condos, and historic townhouses — the Umbra works in all of them. “It’s minimalist, but it provides real geometry on the wall,” Porter says. “It’s simple but with a point of view.”
The mirror is practical, too. It has a rubber frame, making it “pretty indestructible,” Hollister says. “We’ve had them drop and they don’t break.” And perhaps most appealing of all (especially if you’re a renter like me), it only requires one nail to hang. At 16.6 pounds, it’s not massively heavy, so you don’t have to worry about anchoring. And you’ll be fine without a measuring tape, too, because there are no hooks on the back to match up. The Hoveys say you can simply eyeball the horizontal center point and leave about six to eight inches of clearance on top of a mantle, console, or entryway table. “There’s really no way to mess it up,” Hollister says.
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