Sunday, February 7, 2010

Design Trend -Oeil de Boeuf

I love the oeil-de-boeuf (pronounced "er-duh-BURF") windows you see on the charming buildings all over Paris.
(paris parfait)
Oeil de boeuf translates to eye of the bull, but its a common french term for small circular or oval zinc window. (paris parfait)
I have had a love for these zinc treasures since I saw them years ago sitting askew on their sides at flea markets in Paris. I wanted to hang one outside in my garden as a lovely focal point. But, at that time I lived in a small apartment with no garden, so the Oeil de Boeuf was not meant to be.
(iris monument)
Still I always have loved the wonderful patina and shape. I thought as the years went on that they would look fabulous indoors too - and I imagined them with mirrors in the center. They were large, but I loved the architectural interest and the chalky finish.
(avignon antiques)
Here is a wonderful example of a classic shaped oeil de boeuf - this one has been made into a mirror. Look at the beautiful curves and patina on this piece. Gorgeous!
(interior mitigation)
Recently we have started to see a design trend and these oeil de boeuf mirrors are popping up everywhere. As they are getting more popular we are seeing many reproduced in wood or plaster and painted to mimic aged zinc. You can find the classic shaped oeil de boeuf re created in wood and made into a mirror at both Wisteria and Restoration Hardware. As reproductions go this one above is lovely

(eron johnson antiques)
Because the original zinc pieces are not massed produced; they are varied as the craftsmen who create them. You will notice several different shapes, the one above is very unique and has also been made into a mirror. Let's take a look at the architectural zinc window/mirror in some rooms:
(tongue in cheek)
Here is a wonderful one in a living room. I love the way the zinc curves on both the top and bottom of this piece.
(tongue in cheek)
This room is sublime - Linen curtains on iron rods, industrial coffee table amid wonderful antiques. This oeil de beouf looks spectacular in this room. I love the finial on top.
(cote de texas)
The chalky finish is a perfect compliment to the Swedish chest.
These mirrors also look fabulous in a garden room.
It adds so much interest to this more contemporary space. I love how its leaning behind the headboard. (interior eden)
Finally, even this reproduction makes a lovely focal point. Made into mirrors they seem to fit into so many different styles. Have any of you used these in your home decor? I would love to see photos and hear your thoughts!


  1. So right,
    I picked up a couple made from wooden wine barrels though, old wood, some rusty metal.
    lOVE THEM,

  2. Wow!!! This is the best collection of images I have ever seen of these beauties. I love the look as well. Your favorite, the brown one with the egg & dart die for!

  3. Great photos! I love these windows and agree they would look fabulous indoors and out.

  4. Oh... WOW! So beautiful!! Love these!!!


  5. Yes, it is a very hot trend right now and they are popping up everywhere. As you stated, Restoration Hardware has many of them and we have a small French shop in Liberty, Mo that carries them as well. I would love to have one; however, I've so many mirrors in my house right now that there is nowhere to put another mirror. Thanks for the history lesson on them, as I had no idea what they were called. Really enjoyed all of your pictures.

  6. I too love this look. It adds a bit of Parisian panache!

  7. Thank you for posting a comment on my new blog. I really appreciate it. As you could see from my blogroll where I have yours listed, I've been reading your blog for a while. (It's also nice to see another "Gina".

  8. Wow, Gina, these windows & mirrors are fantastic!! Not only have I learned something new from reading your post, but I think I may have a new design crush!! Every oeil de boeuf you found is absolutely beautiful, and that bluey grey finish is gorgeous.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful eye candy & educational post :-)


  9. I would love to have one of these too. They are just so architecturally appealing.

  10. Ya know.......I don't know what I like better...the mirror, or the name!

  11. One of the greats, all Boeuf all the time as far as I'm concerned.

  12. Well guess what -- I was just flipping through the latest issue of House & Home, and there on page 17 is a reproduction oeil de boeuf mirror!! It's from Anthropologie -- here's the link:

    Weathered Curlicue Mirror


  13. Hi Gina,

    I have seen these made into mirrors in a couple of interior magazines and never knew what they were called. Infact, when I was trying to say the word, my daughters were here with me and laughing at my pronounciation! I think we have the next big thing in the interior world!! Would love one of these myself. Gorgeous.
    By the way, loved seeing your pictures of your home, beautiful!
    Take Care.
    Tasmania, Australia

  14. thank you for your lovely comment- it was just to beautiful (i would love to have) not to post. many thanks. x mady

  15. I love these mirrors and love anything zinc right now. I don't have one but I've had my eye out and know just where I'd put it in my house!
    Thanks for visiting me yesterday Gina.
    Hugs~ T

  16. I love these and have been fortunate enough to bring over two pairs from France that are now for sale on our site:

    Check them out and enjoy. Also sold individually.
    Olga ~Dancing Through Paris/ Alhambra Antiques

  17. I bought one of these fab zinc windows~~I have been calling it a dormer~~years ago from a guy who had 5 of them, with no idea of what I would do with it. I knew it was unique and bought it anyway. It now resides atop my garden cottage. I would never part with it.



  18. For over a year, I have been toying with the idea of doing a post on these, inspired by this photo:

    You did it much better than I could have, though - great post - I especially love seeing the architectural inspiration for the style!

  19. What a great architectural focal point for a room. Loved seeing pictures of their origins. Trina

  20. I used t import these vintage oeuil de beuf years ago fo my Interieurs showroom
    They still have a special appeal to me.

  21. I love the way those mirrors look. One of these days I will find one that isn't so expensive.

  22. my god I would never have thought of that! what will they think of next!!! awesome

  23. As a mirror, I love the design element! What a great idea!

  24. Interesting are lovely...

  25. I never knew what these beautiful windows were called, but I have always been drawn to them as well.
    Beautiful images, as always Gina!


  26. Gina,this is beautiful! We also purchased an oeil de boeuf for our home and it looks wonderful on the roof!
    Great post and very inspirational!

  27. Wow! what a great collection. I love all the different shapes and the materals...zinc!
    Great photos esp. love the bedroom with the wallpapered headboard wall and tongue and cheek living room. Fantastic!

  28. Beautiful, just beautiful! I have always loved these, but never seen one claose up, until I went into Anthopoligie one day, and there was my dream window. If only I had a ga-zillion dollars to buy one. At least, it might as well have been that price, becasue it was so dear that I could not possibly afford it. [sigh] Oh well, they're pretty anyway!

    Blessings ~ Eileen @ Star's Fault


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