Look!: Katef's Mantel

Look!: Katef's Mantel

Nov 21, 2007

Katef wrote here: Our new condo is a thing of beauty, and while it has not been cared for properly, it has also escaped the 1980s renovations that destroyed many others in the building. It is a long and rambling half-floor in a 1901 apartment building. Before we bought it the entire apartment wore a 15-year-old coat of off white paint over the moldings, ceilings and plaster. But despite that blandification, the fireplace stood out even then as simply and perfectly beautiful...

It is carved, but not too ornate. Dentil molding finishes the bottom of the mantel so it looks crisp. On the hearth and around the opening is original dull green subway tile, imperfect and handmade. A single line of thinner cream tile borders the hearth. Inside the fireplace is the original cast-iron liner, with a raised border and exuberant bouquet of flowers. The room is now painted in Silver Fox (BM), with White Dove trim, perfect for the light that floods through the bow windows in front�the glass in them is curved. The apartment is still pretty chaotic and undecorated, but when I sit in the living room and look at the fireplace and windows I know that despite the ancient, crumbling plaster walls and the primitive kitchen, we made the right choice buying this old place.

On top of the mantelpiece I have some of my favorite things�sea urchin-shaped candlesticks from a close friend, a painting by my grandfather, another painting that I was given for my birthday after lusting after it for months� The birthday painting is all greys and whites, a castle in the snow in the woods.

Katef adds: We lit a fire for the first time last week and it really lights up the cast-iron liner...

Thanks, Katef!

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