Gilded-Age Decorating Advice That Holds Up Today

IN THE EARLY 20th century, the American author Edith Wharton wrote of her stately home and garden in the Massachusetts Berkshires, “…this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses ‘The House of Mirth.’”

Best known for prose that illuminated the complexities and yearnings of the American elite into which she was born, Wharton was also an authority on classical design. An autodidact, she modeled her estate, the Mount, after an English 17th-century Restoration-style house. Open to the public, it now draws thousands...

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