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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Elegance is Easy

Expansion

Engrossed

Elegance


My Edith Wharton look for Friday night dinner.  I changed it to black and white because the orange ribbon on the blouse looked weird with the khaki skirt.  Look at Lily's toes all turned up. Munchie. 

Ebullient

Eccentric

Electrician - hmmm how'd that get in there?

Enchanted

Enlighten

I made this skirt about 5 years ago.  I was ENGROSSED in EDWARDIAN Victorian full skirts.  I put on the white long sleeve with a white t shirt to go to Cynthia's for dinner. I thought my Gibson Girl blouse would be over the top. Too much explaining.  The belt looks just like Edith's.  Isn't is refreshing to see Central Phoenix, doesn't look like Arizona.  If you drive about 45 minutes from my house this is what it looks like on Friday nights for me.

Enthusiastic

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton smoking, at a picnic at Lenox in about 1905, Edith Wharton, Hermione Lee

Edith was like the Martha Stewart in the 1900's but better. Oops did I say that?  Well, she designed her own mansions during the Guilded Age. She wrote the Age of Innocence and House of Mirth.  I began digging her up when I was reading about Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, New York. On a personal level, I think she was quite miserable but when it came to her abodes, man did she think big.  I love the grandeur of her homes, and to think that she had the old money and deep pockets to set forth her plans for living large.  I worked with someone like her on an architectural project in Paradise Valley. I won't say any names but he is a huge force in the design of estates for the elite class here in Arizona.  I admire and learn from people like that. The ones whe are born and steeped into a life of wealth and privilage. When they become designers then the wealthy want to have them aid the ones who are technically skilled.  It can be a great combination if your ego doesn't get smashed in the process.  

Well getting back to Edith.  She co-authored a book with Ogden Codman Jr. in 1897 called The Decoration of Houses. This was the bible for anyone who didn't have a clue about taste but had the money to have it all. The book is terribly boring. I will read it probably never. I just like having it.  You have to visit a place like Kykuit to appreciate the simplicity of the design. Edith was against gingerbready Victorian detail.  Here is an exerpt from The Decoration of Houses

Charming as the Italian villa is, it can hardly be used in our Northern States without certain modifications, unless it is merely occupied for a few weeks in mid-summer; whereas the average French or English country house built after 1600 is perfectly suited to our climate and habits. The chief features of the Italian villa are the open central cortile and the large saloon two stories high. An adaption of these better suited to cold climate is to be found in the English country houses built in the Palladian manner after its introduction by Indigo Jones.  

Gawd, I just found a typo in this book. I am not kidding!  

Now you want me to add a photo of the Rockefeller estate don't you.  You want to know why I would dig up this Edith. Ok.... I will be right back.  You are just something else...

Kykuit, The House and Gardens of the Rockefeller Family

See the modern painting? That was Abbey's son Nelson who collected art just like his mother.  I love the modern art in this very classic statement here. Anyway, Codman had a heavy hand in the design of this house. It was a hot mess for a while and then they brought him in and he added refinement. Of course in between his living abroad and his extensive travels. He was definitely not one to watch the cookies bake. You know what I'm saying.  Over and out. 

Enjoy!

1 comment:

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