Arts and Crafts-Inspired Full Length Mirror Design

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Project by Jeff posted 04-13-2007 06:03 AM 12691 views 7 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a design I worked up a while back and it’s actually still a work in progress. I’ve seen so much great work of the Arts & Craft style by the other Jocks that I’m hoping I can get some helpful feedback from folks.

The single drawer chest is actually intended to be removable and would interlock with the stretchers (not drawn in yet) of the base. It would be sort of like big tongue and groove joints I guess you could say. I think it gives a nice balance to the whole thing and lessens the extreme height. It would be about 23” wide x 78” tall x 20” deep as drawn now. The joinery would be mostly mortise and tenon as seen in the ‘x-ray’ version pic.

I would like some feedback on the ‘chest’, the arcs (should they be a little more flat?), and any modifications that might better drive home the a&c influence. Admittedly, I have not done much research on the subject of Arts and Crafts mirrors as of late.

The weird shape on the front of the drawer has something to do with how SketchUp draws the textures. It is not meant to look that way. Thanks for looking!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

21 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5490 days

#1 posted 04-13-2007 06:26 AM

The drawer is a thoughtful addition design wise, that does help ground the piece… maybe not the most functional of places for a drawer though, hence the removabilty? Comparing to nothing else, I think the arc looks good – doesn’t jump out as “wrong” whether or not you called attention to it.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5253 days

#2 posted 04-13-2007 06:42 AM

Good start.
Here is a Stickley Cheval mirror.

This might be a good starting point if you wanted to add a drawer. In my opinion you might want to try a straight rail at the bottom of the mirror frame and just keep the curve at the top. Interesting project.


-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5257 days

#3 posted 04-13-2007 06:45 AM

Yeah, the drawer is probably not super functional… I’m not even sure what one would put in it. Stray mittens, scarves, stuff like that. I dunno. Removable = easier to pick it up and move it when we move or if it were to end up downstairs… Again, not sure of the advantage to that either. Do you know of any definitive books on the correct proportions, etc. of this style?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5257 days

#4 posted 04-13-2007 06:49 AM

Hey John, thanks for the suggestion on the rail. I had it that way first and then changed it but was still wondering if the straight rail was more accurate stylistically. Thanks for the pic too!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5340 days

#5 posted 04-13-2007 07:53 AM

Jeff, the drawer is a little unusual in a floor-stand mirror. It wouldn’t be very functional at ones feet.

When I first viewed the rendering without reading the dimensions, I thought it was a bench-top mirror. There, the drawer would be much more functional.

The would suggest quarter-sawn Oak and add some squared pegs to the mortises. Exposed joinery is one of the hallmarks of A&C cabinetry.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5324 days

#6 posted 04-13-2007 11:50 AM

i like the drawer idea and I’d find something to put in it – my first thought was scarves.
If you want to keep it specifically to the style, I can’t help you with that.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 5226 days

#7 posted 04-14-2007 01:07 AM

Hi Jeff,

I think your design is pretty nice. To further the A&C styling a bit, you could add some square pegs to pin the M&T joints at the corners. Also, through-tenon where the bottom stretch comes through the sides, would be a nice touch. You have a nice original design going there. I like the drawer. Functional? I don’t know…but I think it’s cool.

Take a look in the “Accents” section of the web site below, Thomas has a few full length mirrors that might provide some inspiration.

I had the pleasure of meeting Thomas at the winter Roycroft show. Let me just tell you this – HIS WORK IS AMAZING. I felt like incompetant imbecile when I saw his work. He is what I aspire to be – a great craftsman.

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY -

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5564 days

#8 posted 04-14-2007 01:18 AM


Just a thought on the top make the curve on the mirror side curve into the mirror as a mirror image of the bottom piece. Then the top could either be barrel shaped or follow the curve of the mirror side.

Not sure if it will improve it or make it worse. But it was a thought. Since you are using sketchup. you don’t have to cut wood to see the look.

Keep it coming and you will have a LumberJock designed A&C Mirror.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5257 days

#9 posted 04-14-2007 01:31 AM

Don, Debbie, and John – Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. I’m glad we were on the same page, Debbie, on what might go in the drawer. I have told KT for some time I wanted to build something we could both use but would give her another place to put stuff.

You guys are absolutely correct on taking the joinery further to the detail and execution you suggest. Much more visually appealing…

John, thanks for the link. You’re right. An amazing craftsman he is.

I do have one question regarding the drawer. Doesn’t a drawer at one’s feet beg the question of how functional bottom drawers are on chests of drawers and other such bedroom furniture? This said, I agree it still might be odd. I shall ponder further and toy with the design. Thanks again!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5257 days

#10 posted 04-14-2007 01:36 AM

Thanks for the idea, Karson. You’re right, it wouldn’t take long to give that a shot. It may be that this ultimately morphs into something that doesn’t look like A&C was the inspiration. That’s the best part of prototyping…

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5256 days

#11 posted 04-14-2007 05:16 AM

Nice stuff Jeff. Personally, I like the “chest” look at the bottom. Maybe it’s not a drawer but an actual chest with a top lid instead of a drawer. Don’t know… food for thought. And John’s wishbone effect looks a bit more stable though I haven’t seen what you modeled yours after. All in all I really like it. Go for it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5324 days

#12 posted 04-14-2007 12:08 PM

Jeff, I thought the same thing re: bottom drawers on chests—same thing.

I like it – I think it is unique, I think that you will have it filled in no time, and I think visitors will be really curious about what’s inside :) It’s going to catch attention.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5463 days

#13 posted 04-14-2007 12:38 PM

I think the drawer is a great idea. I think it would stabilize the piece. Besides you won’t be moving it around much.
One comment though, I think the curved top of the drawer section makes it more modern looking than A&C.
I sure wish I could learn to use SketchUp like you do, NICE.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5324 days

#14 posted 04-14-2007 12:42 PM

I think there were plans in the Canadian Woodworking magazine for a mirror with something on the bottom… and it was all on a swivel. The backside was all shelves. I’ll have to go have a look at it and see what there was on the bottom

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5302 days

#15 posted 04-16-2007 05:34 AM

Nice work with SU. I like the drawer idea – something of a surprise. Looking forward to the completed project – hope you post a blog as it develops.

John – great web referenc. Thanks!


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