The furnishings in Mary Rastatter’s rowhouse in Point Breeze reflect different phases of her life.
In the living room, a Belleek porcelain bell and bud vase scattered with shamrocks and a small gold-rimmed Lenox clock are arranged on the black stone mantle along with four ceramic lambs.
“I collect lambs, as in ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’” Rastatter said.
The black fire screen is painted with white blossoms. The items were acquired years ago when she was married and living in Havertown. A flying angels mobile was a wedding shower gift.
The white ottoman in front of the fire screen and painting over the mantle of two black goats on a buff background by self-taught artist Richard Eroh were acquired after Rastatter divorced and moved to Philadelphia 15 years ago.
While living in apartments in Chinatown, Northern Liberties, and Bella Vista, she became familiar with local artists from visiting neighborhood galleries, and as a guide with the Mural Arts program.
Two years ago, she and a partner rented the home in Point Breeze. “When he left, I stayed,” Rastatter said.
The century-old, two-story brick structure with the elaborately carved cornice may have once been a boarding house. Each floor has a full bathroom, and all the doors have locks, Rastatter said. Recent renovations include hardwood floors on the first floor, tweedy brown carpeting up the stairs and throughout the second floor, freshly painted white walls, and an updated kitchen with maple cabinets.
Her partner left behind a red-and-white Ortlieb’s sign above the cabinets. Area rugs from Ikea are striped red and white, as is the curtain keeping out drafts from the back door. The white enamel table and stool are trimmed in red.
A framed poster of an antique quilt hangs near a Phillies-themed collage by Rastatter’s brother, Billy. Another brother, Joe, found the blue drop-leaf table in the dining room on a curb near his Havertown home. Wall art includes a poster of the Philadelphia skyline by Mantua artist James Dupree that Rastatter purchased in a local gallery. The abstract of black-and-white swirls by Philadelphia’s Joe Boruchow, who is known for his cut paper technique, was acquired at an auction.
Upstairs in the master bedroom, a white quilt strewn with lavender flowers and green leaves came from Macy’s. A small green chest painted with white and lavender blossoms was purchased from Pier 1. Rastatter found floral pulls for the maple dressing table online, and leaf-green curtains at a yard sale. Garland swags came from A.C. Moore.
Rastatter, a psychiatric nurse who has been working from home, furnished the den with a comfortable camel desk chair and a beige futon. The multicolored fabric art stitched with the words “Nevertheless She Persisted” by artist Jessie Hemmons, aka Ishknits, was purchased at an auction benefiting the Mural Arts program. Rastatter found the concrete-stuffed wooly lamb fashioned by Ross Bonfanti at a gallery in Northern Liberties.
In the last four months, she has been clearing out her second-floor storage room, sorting through a stash of postcards collected from galleries advertising artists’ exhibits. Her hallways and doors are now festooned with colorful cards and with pages from a Philadelphia street artists’ calendar. One closet door is decorated with travel postcards from San Francisco and other places.
“Like a lot of us right now,” Rastatter said, “I have been tending to my home with lots of cleaning and decorating.” She has had an added responsibility, though, helping to care for her 97-year-old father, James. He lives with her brother Dan in Havertown.
Rastatter, 59, has a grown son, Trevor, who lives in Fishtown. She grew up in Havertown with six brothers and a sister. Her father is of German descent, and her late mother, Kay, was Irish. Honoring that heritage explains the Belleek, the shamrock banner in the front window, and St. Brigid and Celtic crosses in the living room.
Outside, Rastatter can sit comfortably on her old-fashioned glider and social distance with neighbors.
While being careful, she said, she has continued to acquire items for her home. After visits to Havertown, she said, “my city place truly feels like a haven when I return.”
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