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The House in Good Taste

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  79 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
After ninety years, The House in Good Taste by America's "first lady of interior decoration," Elsie de Wolfe, still offers timeless design advice.

Compiled from her articles in newspapers and magazines and first published in 1914, The House in Good Taste is a seminal book on interior design with ideas that have lasted a century because they influenced not only the wealthy c
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published June 12th 2004 by Rizzoli International Publications (first published 1913)
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Julie James
Elsie De Wolfe may have been the first female professional interior designer (and she was half Canadian!) Some of her tips I gleaned from the book include:

- you can't have too many mirrors
- cut fitted plate glass for table tops
- use white muslin or matching gay chintz for curtains and upholstery
- white, cream or gray walls
- realize the advantages of stools and benches instead of tables and chairs
- side consoles are handy when you need a table yet nest at wall when you need space
- She hates Vict
Nov 11, 2016 added it
Great read with wonderful historic references.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published in 1913, The House in Good Taste by Elsie De Wolfe is a window into what interior design would have looked like at the time—for the upper class. De Wolfe had decided opinions on design and taste and wasn't afraid to share them. Here are a couple of gems I enjoyed:

"There is nothing more abused than the piano. . . I love music—but I am not a musician, and so I do not expose myself to the merciless banging of chance callers. I think pianos are for musicians, not strummers, who
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
The House in Good Taste by Elsie De Wolfe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-January.

A Dover edition originally published in 1913, this is a visual portfolio of Elsie De Wolfe, the U.S.' first interior decorator. The photos show a use of angles to frame the room (arm rests, tabletop corners) and patterns on upholstry, carpets & curtains. There's also a sense of natural light being used against reflective surfaces and white/ivory walls, as well as colonial print bedskirts and comfor
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: interior-design
A classic of interior design, written in de Wolfe's inimitable warm and witty style, and still relevant for today.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like jumping back in time, a century back in time, when the houses were huge and you cannot buy kitchens in Ikea. Fascinating.

Leggere questo libro significa tornare indietro nel tempo di almeno un centinaio di anni, quando le case erano immense e non si potevano comprare le cucine da Ikea. Affascinante.

Lynn Lipinski
Feb 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
For modern readers accustomed to glossy photos of aspirational homes, this book will disappoint. Mainly narrative with only 13 black and white photos exiled to an appendix. But if the reader is interested in time travelling to the early 20th century, to the salons and homes of the upper class. The author Elsie de Wolfe has a strong point of view and tries to offer practical advice, particularly in her chapter on decorating apartments. "When you do begin to buy furniture, buy compactly, buy caref ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book for those interested in the history of Interior Design. (This is not a modern glossy decorating book). Elsie de Wolfe was a pioneer in the business. Her advice still applies today--no matter what your personal style or budget may be. She was a talent and a wit; she had me laughing out loud at times. I would love to go back in time and "do lunch".
May 01, 2011 rated it liked it
What a guilty pleasure of a book! Divine photographs, too. Some of De Wolfe's pronouncements make you laugh, but on the whole, she's right on the money.
Lauren Chong Sng
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Most interesting portion was the chapter on Villa Trianon! Otherwise, the writing style was conversational and difficult to read. People spoke differently during that period.
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Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950) was the first professional interior designer in America. She believed in achieving a single, harmonious, overall design statement, and felt that the decoration of the home should reflect the woman's personality, rather than simply the husband's earning power. De Wolfe introduced a startling freshness to the elaborate, heavily fringed and tasseled Victorian design sensibi ...more
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