The House in Good Taste
By Elsie de Wolfe
Why this book?
Known as the First Lady of interior decoration, de Wolfe (1865-1950) excelled in a predominantly male profession which she is credited with inventing. Her book which, is still thought of as a decorator’s bible, was first published in 1913. It’s a compilation of several of her chatty magazine articles so even though her clientele was elite the strong doses of common sense, wit, and sophistication in her voice have mass appeal. Described as an ornamental minimalist she upturned the oppressiveness of the Victorian and Edwardian sensibility by avoiding clutter, dark colors, and heavy draperies in favor of sparsely furnished, naturally lit rooms (which she considered to be optimistic) that seamlessly aligned themselves with their natural surroundings. In that sense, she was one of the first decorators to acknowledge nature and to emphasize the importance of incorporating garden and exterior views into interior planning.
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