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A Look Inside the House of Hot Karl

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It is impossible to get too much Hot Karl, especially if it's the look and feel of the Karl Fischer homestead itself. This month's Real Deal goes inside the Fischer domain for a look around his FiDi apartment in "a small condominium complex on a quiet side street" near South Street Seaport. The man who is rebuilding Williamsburg lives behind "an anonymous glass door that opens onto a corridor leading to a courtyard with a Japanese-style rock garden with a stream of water running through it." He is a man of simple elegance, as "there is nothing about the décor of his seventh-floor penthouse residence that would earn it a photo spread in Architectural Digest." Oh, and Karl shops at Crate & Barrel and drives "a standard Volkswagen."

The details are quite compelling. Here's a taste:

Despite his success, Fischer said he feels uncomfortable with luxury, and the décor of his apartment echoes this sentiment. The 900-square-foot pied-à-terre (Fischer has a home in his native Montreal, as well as one in Vermont) is functional with no wasted space. In fact, the first thing you see upon entering the apartment is a half-dozen pairs of sensible shoes and sneakers arrayed against a wall. To the left of the front door, a sunlit corridor leads past a row of rooms that include a plain-looking white-tiled bathroom, a sparsely furnished bedroom and a closet. The corridor ends at an open-plan room with a kitchenette, a dining island and a living room area dominated by two loveseats upholstered in gray corduroy. Most of the furniture was bought at Crate & Barrel during one big shopping expedition, Fischer said.

Two shiny end tables with curved legs stand out from the rest of the furnishings. They were given to Fischer by the owner of a furnished apartment that he used to lease at 25 Broad Street. He said he never would have bought the tables himself because they are too ornate for his taste.

"I don't feel comfortable with luxurious things; it is just my nature," said Fischer, a compact man of 59 with a salt-and-pepper beard and moustache. "I just like basic stuff."

Karl says "I have a standard Volkswagen; I don't have to get a BMW." There is a lot more, but we will close with this: "I wouldn't call myself a minimalist architect," he said, "but I don't like flowery or dressed-up places — I like the space, the light or the view to speak for itself." That's our Karl.
· Inside the home of Karl Fischer [TRD]