Thousands of books on interior design have come and gone since the 1897 publication of this pioneering manual, but The Decoration of Houses remains, thanks to the insightful and inspiring advice of its co-authors. Before she became the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton was a society matron, remodeling a summer home in Newport, Rhode Island. With the able assistance of architect Ogden Codman, Jr., Wharton assembled this corrective to the rampant vulgarity of her nouveau riche neighbors. Wharton and Codman defied the excesses of the Gilded Age, counseling readers to reject the popular penchant for clutter in favor of simplicity and balance.
More than an engaging item of period charm, this historic guide offers examples of design rooted in architectural principles. Black-and-white photographs illustrate the authors' ideals of classic beauty, depicting grand ballrooms and spacious boudoirs as well as the elements common to homes of every size and era: doors and windows, walls an