New book explores Edith Wharton's design legacy

  • This New York apartment is featured in the book "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses," by Thomas Jayne.

    This New York apartment is featured in the book "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses," by Thomas Jayne. Pieter Estersohn/The Monacelli Press

  • Wharton liked ceilings, seeing them as neglected. Jayne's book shows several highly structured and painted ceilings to illustrate Wharton's views, such as this living room in a house on Long Island in New York.

    Wharton liked ceilings, seeing them as neglected. Jayne's book shows several highly structured and painted ceilings to illustrate Wharton's views, such as this living room in a house on Long Island in New York. Don Freeman/The Monacelli Press

  • Edith Wharton, shown in her library in 1902, won the Pulitzer for "The Age of Innocence" in 1920. Her first book was about interior design.

    Edith Wharton, shown in her library in 1902, won the Pulitzer for "The Age of Innocence" in 1920. Her first book was about interior design. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press

  • Author Thomas Jayne in an apartment he decorated in New York. Jayne has a new book titled "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses."

    Author Thomas Jayne in an apartment he decorated in New York. Jayne has a new book titled "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses." Kerri Brewer/The Monacelli Press

  • This dining room in a house on Penobscot Bay, Maine, is featured in Jayne's book.

    This dining room in a house on Penobscot Bay, Maine, is featured in Jayne's book. Jonathan Wallen/The Monacelli Press

  • While Jayne's book has a section devoted to kitchens, including this one in Nantucket, Massachusetts, kitchens were ignored in Wharton's design book because neither she nor many of her readers at the time prepared their own food.

    While Jayne's book has a section devoted to kitchens, including this one in Nantucket, Massachusetts, kitchens were ignored in Wharton's design book because neither she nor many of her readers at the time prepared their own food. Kerri McCaffety/The Monacelli Press

  • Entry hall inside a house in Dorset, England, featured in the book "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses."

    Entry hall inside a house in Dorset, England, featured in the book "Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons From Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses." Kerri McCaffety/The Monacelli Press

 
By Katherine Roth
Associated Press
Posted1/21/2018 6:00 AM

Edith Wharton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author famous for novels set in the late 19th century, also wrote an influential book on interior design, long considered a sort of bible of American decorating. "The Decoration of Houses," written before any of her novels, was radical when published in 1897.

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