Friday, December 6, 2013

Ghost of Christmas Past

Taken in 2007, when I had just found Victorian molding for Chinoiserie pelmets at the 26th Street Flea Market, and stashed it on top of the newly-built bookcases; the cards, garland, multiple mirrors, china, flowers and candles on the mantel—flanked by Victorian gilt & walnut frames, making for a very layered Christmas. The frames are hung in the closet now (we'll see how long that lasts), while the molding was turned into pelmets in the bedroom. The cushion on the sofa has found a new home, and the fireplace is still non-working, even though I had it restored with new firebrick and damper. Being five floors from the roof, however, and the firebox being designed for gas originally, it doesn't draw properly. What to do? Install an extractor fan on the chimney stack. Of course, that hasn't happened yet! However, the angel is still hanging above the mantel. Made by my father from barn board from my grandmother's farm, he reminds me of Christmas' with my family in Western Pennsylvania—long Winters with epic snow drifts, and one particular Christmas spent in a hotel in Bilbao, Spain, when I was 11, when my mother found a small tree and stood it up in a bucket of oranges. 


  1. you'd think such a long chimney would HELP not hinder it drawing. so strange....... The fan will work wonders but just anther hurdle!!!

    1. You would think yes, it would draw better. However, the flue makes a sharp turn to the left when it leaves the upper chamber, then goes straight up. That may have something to do with it, no? After the box was refitted, I tried 3 times to get it to work (waiting until cold weather) to no avail: the room filled with smoke! These old Brownstones were originally constructed with gas fireplaces, which may have everything to do with the problem too, though my chimney is the largest one in the building since our apartment was the original dining room. Thank you for your comment, ArchitectDesign! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Season!


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