House of Mirrors

In Queens, New York, Clarence Schmidt made a mansion of a small house, and covered covered it in aluminum foil. The House of Mirrors was destroyed by the very tar Schmidt used to secure the foil–a fire razed the structure in 1968. Undeterred, he began another building on the property the next year. When the second house was also destroyed by fire, Schmidt turned to sleeping in doorways, eventually being placed in a nursing home.

6 Responses to House of Mirrors

  1. Anonymous says:

    I well remember my childhood visits to Clarence’s enchanted house and foil-wrapped forest — thoroughly magical. My old black and white photos, and even Ektachrome slides, just don’t do it justice…

  2. Kam says:

    nice to include Clarence and his house of mirrors, fits in well with your collection BUT he did not build/live in Queens, he was in Woodstock, NY on Ohayo Mt. Road

  3. Jo Anne says:

    I remember Clarence well. I should, I was related to him. My grandfather was his cousin. My grandparents lived at the end of the road and so I spent many happy summers there as a child. Clarence’s place was a fantasy world come to life. I spent many hours exploring Clarence’s fantasy world! What a great place for someone to spend their childhood! Did you know that he started as a very talented architect? Well, thanks for reminding me of how wonderous my childhood really was! It’s no wonder that I love anything with mirrors!

  4. catherine Kirk says:

    I’m doing an architectural project at the moment and would like to encorporate the house of mirrors into it, however i am having difficulty finding information about him and how it was built, why did he choose to use mirrors? What was it like to be indise it? and how did it feel? I would really appreciate any information or website addresses that could help, thanx

  5. Kato Aadland says:


    My name is Kato Aadland and I`m writing on behalf of Norwegian independent record label New Records.

    We are about to release an album with our band House of Hiss – a band which philosophy can be said to be inspired by outsider art. We are not claiming to be a part of outsider art but try our best to live by some of it`s visions.
    Well, enough said….

    Looking for ideas to the cover artwork we found our way onto, and were blown away by Charles Schmidt

  6. Susan says:

    Per Catherine Kirk’s and Kato Aadland’s questions:

    The photographs of Clarence Schmidt’s work are from a catalogue titled SCHMIDT produced for an exhibition based at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 1975, copyrighted by the Robert Hull Fleming Museum.