I recently had the pleasure of visiting Edith Wharton’s amazing home – The Mount – located in The Berkshires, Massachusetts. Not only was the house and its grounds gorgeous, but I had the added pleasure of sharing it all with a wonderful group of women who I met on line through Library Thing. The entire weekend we spent in New England together was full of book talk, laughter, great food, and the warmth that comes from spending time with friends. I thought it would be fun to write a post about Edith Wharton and share the photos I shot while visiting her estate. (*All photos are clickable for a larger view)
Although Edith Wharton never had any formal education, she not only was a prolific writer and the first woman to win the prestigous Pulitzer Prize for Literature for her book The Age of Innocence, but she was also an extremely talented designer. Wharton designed The Mount and the gardens surrounding it in the early part of the 20th century, incorporating symmetry and light to create a home unique in its detail and pleasing to the eye.
Entry Way of Main part of the house – Wharton used arches and architectural elements to create an inviting space to welcome guests.
Wharton filled her home with splendid artwork. She used mirrors to create the allusion of space and to bring more light into the rooms.
Wharton entertained guests in her living room where they could enjoy the warmth from a fire while looking out at the gardens.
The dining room was one of the most light-filled rooms in the home as Wharton believed that light aided digestion.
Wharton’s library was one of my favorite rooms in the home. Bookcases were set into the walls so that the book spines would blend into the walls, creating their own art feature.
Each morning, seven days a week, Wharton wrote longhand in her bed until 11:00 AM. Her bedroom was the plainest room in the home as she did not entertain there and it was primarily for sleeping. Views from Wharton’s bedroom and adjacent sitting room were of the gardens and distant hills.
Wharton and her husband Teddy had no children, but instead relished attention on their little dogs. There is a small pet cematary on the property where Wharton’s dogs are buried, each with their own headstone engraved with the animal’s name.
In the early part of the 20th century, people used ice boxes to store blocks of ice for the preservation of food. The pond on Wharton’s estate provided ice to the surrounding towns as well as overseas.
Several million dollars have been invested in restoring The Mount. All of the floors except in one room are original. The cabinetry in the kitchen is original.
The gardens surrounding The Mount replicate the symmetry found throughout the home, using repeated patterns, colors and materials.