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Extended Audio Sample The Decoration of Houses Audiobook, by Edith Wharton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 5 3.75 (8 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edith Wharton, Ogden Codman Narrator: Grace Conlin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781470835347
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One of the classic works on interior decoration, Edith Wharton’s The Decoration of Houses offers a comprehensive look at the history and character of turn-of-the-century interior design. Cowritten with architect Ogden Codman, Jr., this invaluable reference provides us with numerous keen and practical axioms for house design, such as (1) The better the house, the less need for curtains, and (2) the height of a well-proportioned doorway should be twice its width.

In the words of John Barrington Bayley, President of Classical America, “this book has charm. The Decoration of Houses brings to mind the pictures of Walter Gay: There are the reflections in looking-glasses, and on parquet, and the garnitures of chimney-pieces, boiseriers, the odor of wax; outside the tall glazed doors there is a sunny silent terrace, we are now at Mrs. Wharton’s Pavillon Colombe—a well laid out parterre, a rose garden, and an orchard of Reinette apples and luscious double cherries.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The practical advice, with its emphasis on simplicity, still has a wide application. A book with enduring appeal.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “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.’”

    New Yorker

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vivencio | 11/28/2013

    " the house is a mess but what the heck .... we have this to read :D "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon LC Cate | 11/9/2013

    " What a relief to know that stucco, in and of itself, is not immoral. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salvatore | 10/13/2013

    " I now can decorate according to Gilded Age styles. Makes a whole lot of sense. Wharton and Codman are endearing and unwavering. They're ready to call you cheapsakes out. Now, if only I could find those millions I too could make one hell of a house. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan Mills | 8/11/2013

    " For a book about architecture of the nineteenth century, it made me giggle. That's good writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhonda | 5/2/2013

    " Very interesting to read this book after a May visit to The Mount, Wharton's summer home of 10 years in Lenox, MA. Too bad all our homes don't conform to her ideals ... being an heiress would help. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 V P | 12/4/2012

    " This is a great book. It is the 1st interior design book written by the 1st interior designer. A must read for anyone who likes interior designing or would like to learn more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/3/2012

    " This is worth reading just for the scathing chapter on bric-a-brac. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 9/19/2012

    " Fascinating! And wow, author Wharton was opinionated - it was fun to take a step back in time. Her chapter on nurseries and school rooms is right on, even for today's lifestyle. "

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About the Author
Author Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was born in New York and is best known for her stories of life among the upper-class society into which she was born. She was educated privately at home and in Europe. In 1894 she began writing fiction, and her novel The House of Mirth established her as a leading writer. Her novels The Age of Innocence and Old New York were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first woman to receive that honor. In 1929 she was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.

About the Narrator

Grace Conlin (1962–1997) was the recording name of Grainne Cassidy, an award-winning actress and acclaimed narrator. She was a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and won a Helen Hayes Award in 1988 for her role in Woolly Mammoth’s production of Savage in Limbo.