"A Christmas Memory"
(Originally published in: Mademoiselle Magazine December 1956)
by Truman Capote
"The kitchen is growing dark. Dusk turns the window into a mirror: our reflections mingle with the rising moon as we work by the fireside in the
firelight. At last, when the moon is quite high, we toss the final hull into the fire and, with joined sighs, watch it catch flame..."
Sitting by the fireside, reading of Santa's annual journey to my children, grandma's afghan draped over my lap, wafts of wassail steeping in
the kitchen, visions of sugar plums dancing wildly in their droopy heads. From the likes of Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St. Nick"
to Dickens' "The Cricket on the Hearth"
and Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory
, a fireplace has played prominently in the ideal of a happy home.
Dating back to the 1700s, Abraham Darby discovered smelting iron provided a cost efficient way of producing heat. However, it was during
the Victorian era when fireplaces started gaining popularity. People of the time felt that in addition to providing heat, a fireplaces added
a touch of ambiance and a cozy, quaint environment. Over the years, as the style of housing changed, so did the style of fireplaces and
Fireplaces are more sophisticated than in the past which provides an opportunity for manufacturers to create more efficient designs from a
variety of materials. Even with all the changes and advancements, the fireplace remains basically the same: consisting of two elements -
the insert, and the surround which is comprised of the
, or legs
, or cap
The insert is the portion of the fireplace where the fire is burned. This part is generally constructed of cast iron and is often decorated
with tile or brick. The source of heat also varies from natural wood products, natural gas sources, or chemical gels and solid chemical fuels.
The type of fireplace fuel that will be used in your fireplace will have a direct influence on the material used to construct the surround
and mantel. Although the material base for the insert is limited to products that are impervious to various levels of direct heat, the surround
may be constructed of wood, marble, granite, or even polyurethane.
Even if the fireplace mantel shelf does not need support, our decorative corbels are a tasteful addition to the fireplace surround giving
it a look of sturdiness. You can choose corbels that are very simple or very ornate. Whichever you choose, we have a corbel to match your style
For instance, in the case of this beautiful fireplace surround submitted by one of our customers in Weeki Wachee, Florida, (seriously: the only thing
I like better than saying
' is typing
'...) he chose to
use our EQ-9950 Fireplace Pilasters
AA067 Decorative Crown Molding
to trim the mantel shelf and anchor the
fireplace to the room.
View other 7" to 9" Moldings
View other Pilasters and Columns
Accent the flat breastplate under your mantel with one of our intricately designed Polyurethane Ornamentals such as the
ET-2832 Decorative Ornamental
. This adds a little je ne sais quoi
distracting from the beauty of the rest of the fireplace.
View other Decorative Ornamentals
Our Decorative Polyurethane Rosette medallions make a great accompaniment to your fireplace decor. Rosettes such as our
G2162 Rosette Medallion
can be placed in various places around your fireplace surround to
accent and complement your decor.
View other Decorative Rosettes
**Did You Know?
Did you know
that Wish I Had That sells bronze statuary similar to that found on the mantelpiece of this fireplace? What a beautiful way
to display the finest of quality in cast bronze sculpture. Pick from our line of Western sculptures such as
End of the Trail
by James Fraser, or Mountain Man
Remington. Each of our bronze statues is museum quality and hand-cast in high-quality bronze using the "lost-wax" method of bronze casting. Let
me know if you find a better price listed on the web: I'll match it 'fer ya!
Give a gander to our Western Collection of Cast Bronze Statues
** A Note About Polyurethane Products:
Polyurethane just like wood, paper, cotton, wool, and many other materials, can
ignite and burn if exposed to a sufficient heat source. Polyurethane products, regardless of whether the foam contains fire retardants, should
be considered combustible and handled accordingly. Precautions should be taken to minimize any potential for fire through accidental ignition
All of our Polyurethane components are durable and can be used around a Fireplace opening/insert as long as you follow the Fireplace Insert/Stove Manufacturers
guidelines for required clearances. I would suggest that you consider using a zero clearance fireplace insert in a project, such as this one,
in which Polyurethane components are utilized.