Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Edith Wharton’s Houses

Edith Wharton knows houses. Her first published book was “The Decoration of Houses,” written with Ogden Codman, Jr., which argued for “house-decoration as a branch of architecture,” and against “the indifference of the wealthy to architectural fitness.” Wharton and Codman took a reformist stance, suggesting that clients stop treating the interiors and the exteriors of their houses as separate projects and start seeking more simplicity and less ornament. Wharton had an opportunity to play architect and decorator herself in Lenox, Massachusetts, where (with the help of professionals) she built the Mount, a Georgian mansion with a cascade of beautiful gardens. She wrote to her sometime lover Morton Fullerton, “Decidedly, I’m a better landscape gardener than novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth… ”

Continues: The New Yorker blog