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Did You Know Edith Wharton Wrote Interior Design Books?

Edith Wharton, the renowned American author and Pulitzer Prize winner, was not only a master of literature but also a connoisseur of interior design. Wharton was born into a wealthy New York family in the mid-1800s and spent much of her life surrounded by the luxury and elegance of high society. Her interest in interior design was born out of a desire to create spaces that were both beautiful and functional, and she became a leading voice in the field, publishing several books on the topic.

One of Wharton’s most famous works on interior design is “The Decoration of Houses,” which she co-authored with architect Ogden Codman Jr. in 1897. The book laid out a set of principles for designing interiors that were both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Wharton and Codman Jr. believed that interior design should be guided by the principles of simplicity, harmony, and proportion. They advocated for a minimalist approach to decoration, with a focus on quality over quantity.

In her own homes, Wharton put these principles into practice, creating spaces that were both elegant and understated. She was known for her love of symmetry and balance, and her interiors often featured carefully arranged groupings of furniture and accessories. Wharton was also a fan of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and she often incorporated these elements into her designs.

One of Wharton’s most famous homes was The Mount, a country estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which she designed in collaboration with Codman Jr. The Mount was a showcase for Wharton’s design philosophy, with its clean lines, muted color palette, and emphasis on simplicity and proportion. The house featured a number of innovative design elements, such as built-in furniture and clever storage solutions, that were ahead of their time.

In terms of advice, Wharton would likely encourage aspiring interior designers to focus on quality and simplicity, rather than flashy trends or excess. She believed that a well-designed interior should be both beautiful and practical, and that every element should serve a purpose. Wharton also valued the importance of natural light and the use of materials that were in harmony with the environment. Her work continues to inspire designers today, and her legacy as a writer and design innovator endures.

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