Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Decoration of Houses

On January 24, Edith Wharton was born.  She would have been a darling 148 years old. 

From the Writer's Almanac:
Edith spent much of her childhood in Europe, and she enjoyed writing, and published some of her poems. She completed a novella called Fast and Loose when she was 15. But when she was 17, it was time for her "coming out" in society. And when she was 23, she got married to a wealthy man named Edward Wharton.  With him, she could enjoy the lifestyle she loved, time to travel and time to write. But the marriage was an unhappy one. Edward did not understand his wife's literary or intellectual interests, and throughout their marriage he drank more and more. Edith was depressed, and so she focused even more on writing and publishing her first book, a book about architecture that she wrote with Ogden Codman Jr.: The Decoration of Houses (1898). 
Well, her marriage is certainly not a model for me, but I love her house. And that seemed as good a reason as any to love her and want to hold our wedding reception there. 

The house was in shambles a decade ago, having long served as a dormitory for the neighboring Shakespeare and Co. actors.  When the restoration team got to work, they decided that they wouldn't try to recreate the home as it would have looked during Wharton's time, but instead honor her avant-garde design sensibilities and decorate the house as she might have during modern times.  Hence the leopard carpet. 

The three rooms above are where we'll serve dinner at our reception (with most of the existing furniture replaced by dining tables). 

Oh, I get so excited looking at these photos!


  1. mmmm it will be yummy AND beautiful! and elegant.. and classy... and simply.. fabulous.

  2. YAY! Thanks, BBL. I love your confidence in my party planning abilities!

  3. Wow! I agree with all of BBL's descriptive adjectives! There is so much traditional elegance, but the leopard carpet on that gorgeous staircase is my favorite part!

  4. Thanks so much, Ann! Isn't that leopard carpet fantastic?! I love it, too.

  5. Amazing! This spot was on the short list when we were thinking of having our wedding in the Berkshires. Hope you don't mind if I live vicariously through you a teeny bit! ;)

  6. Oh my gosh, how funny! Of course you can live vicariously. You have such wonderful style, I feel very proud that this was on your Berkshires list!


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