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The Decoration of Houses
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The Decoration of Houses

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Edith Wharton's The Decoration of Houses is an invaluable reference, one of the classic works on interior decoration, and a testament to the enduring style of one of America's greatest writers. Written in collaboration with celebrated American architect Ogden Codman, Jr., Wharton's first book is a comprehensive look at the history and character of turn-of-the-century inter ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Rizzoli (first published 1897)
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Sean Farmer
Mrs. Wharton along with Mr. Codman changed the way we look at our homes and espoused a philosphy that is as current today, as it was at the turn of the century. Out the door flew faux "old French" (Machine made furniture in the "French" style), Velvet poiteres, lurid colours, as oppressive as the Victorian period itself, and potted palms in garish cache pots. In the door came a revival of the 18th century taste. Colours became lighter, Louis XVI fauteuils replaced overstuffed club chairs covere ...more
I skimmed this over pretty quickly. I'm getting ready to read me some Edith Wharton and was surprised to find this self-confident book on architecture and decorating by Wharton in our local library. Apparently, she really knew what she was talking about. Although it has been called "the first interior design book by the first interior designer" and I'm really interested to see how she translates her knowledge and opinions to her fictional novels, it didn't have too much of practical value for me ...more
Jan 14, 2008 Eric marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I like about Wharton's fiction is the attention to interiors. Her people often come with characteristic backgrounds: the expanses of walnut in stuffy Mrs. Peniston's home in 'The House of Mirth'; in the 'The Age of Innocence,' maverick Mrs. Mingott planted amid "the frivolous upholstery of the Second Empire," and the Van der Luydens hearing the Archers plea for intersession in the Olenska matter in the chilly, shrouded, unused drawing room of their Madison Avenue townhouse--a r ...more
Wharton is one of my favorite writers, and my admiration for her and the way she chose to live had already made me a huge fan of her self-confidence. This and Italian Villas and their Gardens are beautiful, detailed, beautifully written and drawn precursors to coffee table books. Was there nothing this woman couldn't do? She was the architect of her beloved home The Mount, and in these books she displays the insight and skill for technical assessments for homes and gardens. She could have worked ...more
John Hellman
" The Decoration of Houses" compliments Bill Bryson's "At Home". The book focuses on the gilded age of decoration. Many of the ideas shared in the book still apply today .
I now can decorate according to Gilded Age styles. Makes a whole lot of sense. Wharton and Codman are endearing and unwavering. They're ready to call you cheapsakes out. Now, if only I could find those millions I too could make one hell of a house.
Very interesting to read this book after a May visit to The Mount, Wharton's summer home of 10 years in Lenox, MA. Too bad all our homes don't conform to her ideals ... being an heiress would help.
Not that I have a villa or mansion to decorate but there is still some good basic suggestions and it's a lot of fun reading Edith Wharton's thoughts on houses and their proper decoration and uses.
Fascinating! And wow, author Wharton was opinionated - it was fun to take a step back in time. Her chapter on nurseries and school rooms is right on, even for today's lifestyle.
Mar 30, 2007 V P rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in decorating
Shelves: readalready
This is a great book. It is the 1st interior design book written by the 1st interior designer. A must read for anyone who likes interior designing or would like to learn more.
Megan Mills
For a book about architecture of the nineteenth century, it made me giggle. That's good writing.
This is worth reading just for the scathing chapter on bric-a-brac.
the house is a mess but what the heck .... we have this to read :D
Shannon Cate
What a relief to know that stucco, in and of itself, is not immoral.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a ...more
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