Continuing our tour of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, we are now stepping inside to the ground floor entrance hall and main stair. One might expect that this magnificent, classically inspired home would have a grand staircase. However, EW believed that the transition from outside to inside should be as smooth and easy as possible.
This is the forcourt space – a walled outdoor space that feels indoors when one passes through the main gate.
In through the front door…
And into the grotto-like Entrance Hall with stylized plaster work that emulated mossy walls and dripping water. The terracotta tile floor brings a definative Italianate feel to this space. The arched ceiling is simple and elegant, as is the softly glowing color palette.
Straight in front of the door is a statue of Pan by the sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. This bronze sits on the original fountain in the Entrance Hall. There’s an excellent article here on this sculpture and other works at The Mount.
Through the double French doors to the right is the main staircase of the home.
The lantern lighting continues the outdoor feel…The Main Staircase begins quite simply and becomes more elegant as one ascends. During the restoration and decorating of some of the public spaces, designer Libby Cameron was selected to do the Main Staircase. Note that the ground floor landing and first level of the stair is relatively simple, with horizontal panels painted a sunny yellow. However, the sassy leopard print carpeting on the stair hints at the extravagance to come!
We are now on the Main Floor Staircase landing and you will see that the wall moldings, the lighting and other details are now significantly more formal. Here is a view through the arched door that separates the working areas of the Main Floor (Butler’s Pantry, service stair case that is adjacent to the Main Stair, etc.) You can see through the Main Stair landing into the formal Main Gallery.And the glorious main Gallery, designed recently by Geoffrey Bradfield. Also based on Gallery spaces EW had seen in Italy, this is a space that allows access to all the main rooms on the Main Floor as well as provides excellent cross ventilation from front to rear of the house.
The terrazo and marble floor were polished to a high shine. The room straight ahead was Teddy Wharton’s Den and beyond that is the terrace on the side of the house.
How glorious is this light fixture?A genteel place to rest.
And an image of the Gallery from EW’s day. Continuing in the Italian style, EW used this space as a display for her art and objets collected from her world travels. Note the crystal chandelier. This view is looking back towards the Main Staircase.
Click here to view all my Edith Wharton posts.