Wednesday, September 23, 2009

☞ REVIVE: Harlem Brownstone Cast Iron Colors

While walking around the Morningside Heights border of South Harlem, we noticed how color really affected the iron work of turn-of-the-century buildings. The top photo of a side street in the 120's really shows how typical brownstone blocks can have a dramatic visual effect by adding color. The reliable old standard is black or brown to match the stonework, but we found the cooler colors refreshing to look at. In general, natural stone or certain metals -- such as the green patina of copper, verdigris -- work best as departure points for color. Stay away from purples, indigos or pinks for they usually don't work out on brownstones. The lower photo, taken along upper Manhattan Avenue, shows how limestone-colored buildings often get a boost from lighter hues. The classic creamy whites are always a complement to the pale stone, but softer blues, greens and terra cotta colors also look great. We just see a lot of black or rust red out there, so it's refreshing to see a bit of artistic flair from brownstone owners and co-ops. Photos by Ulysses

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