Designer of Note: Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as “Old New York” at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.

Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded:

* the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
* an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University
* full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Edith Wharton designed and built her “first real home,” The Mount, in 1902, located in Lenox, Massachusetts .

The Mount has been undergoing extensive restorations to bring it back to the original splendor of Edith Wharton’s Decoration. Her seminal book on decorating “The Decoration of Houses” was one of the first design texts we were assigned in design school. She was strict and rigid in her ideals – both for the architecture, interior design and landscape design. Classic forms and materials were of paramount importance.

Her bedroom has undergone extensive restoration:

Original wallpaper was painstakingly recreated with the help of famed textiles firm Scalamandré.

“The Mount” offers tours, ongoing lecture series on the life and interests of Edith Wharton, including her travels. Fascinating! Also in Lenox: Tanglewood – the summer home of the BSO; Canyon Ranch Spa; Jacobs Pillow; Williamstown Theatre Company and the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Photos and historial text courtesy of


xoxo Linda

5 thoughts on “Designer of Note: Edith Wharton”

  1. This is my first visit to your blog, as I have found my way here through Decor8. A gorgeous and very interesting post, I will be back for more!

  2. Edith was a true Renaissance woman, I agree!

    Peak – I was thinking I need to schedule a little road trip! We sometimes forget what’s right in our own backyards. Or, 3 hours across state….

    Welcome Alicia!

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