Monday, September 8, 2014

Edith Wharton Home - The Mount

We drove to Lenox, Massachusetts today to tour The Mount which was the home of Edith Wharton.  She built the home in 1902.  The home and the gardens were built according to the principles in Edith's book "The Decoration of Houses" which was published in 1897.

The Stables which are under renovation

The back of the stables look a bit better.  

The Stables are being renovated and it looks as if they may become a Visitor Center at some point.  Right now there is a small booth at the end of the parking lot where you buy your tour tickets.  Then you walk down the carriage path to the house.  It is a few blocks in and the house is definitely secluded from the road.  

The front of the home

The front of the home isn't very spectacular, however, the back of the house is with its beautiful back porch and stairway to the formal gardens.  If you look at the post with the gardens, you'll see the photos of the back of the home.

This is the front of the home.

Our Guide explained that this entry into the home was considered more like stepping into a screened in porch as it isn't formal at all.  It was a space to get out of the cold or rain and Edith Wharton did not think of it as a part of the main house.

The Front Entry

Entering the Upstairs

In order to get to the home, you went up these steps because the downstairs was really not considered a part of the home.  The bedrooms and the living areas were on the second and third floors.

The Entry on the Second Floor

Guests would be greeted in this room and then shown into the drawing room or parlor.

The Library

Ceiling in the Parlor

The Parlor

More of the Parlor

The Dining Room

Edith Wharton didn't have a huge table in her dining room and when asked why, she said that she didn't know 12 people in New York that she would invite to dine with her.  She only had good friends over.

The Servant's Quarters

The Servant's Quarters were on the second floor in a separate wing.  We Walked down the servant's steps to the kitchen area on the first floor.


Original 1902 Ice Box

After touring the kitchen we headed back up the steps to the rooms on the second floor.

This was the room that Edith used to entertain friends or discuss her books, etc.  It is located next to her bedroom.  The desk in the middle made us believe that she wrote in this room, however, our guide said that she really didn't.  Most of her writing was done in the morning in bed. 

Edith had a very set schedule and was very strict about it.  She wrote in the mornings while having toast or croissants in bed.  She had wrote everything and then when she was finished the servants gathered all her written pages from the floor and gave them them to her secretary to type them.

An example of one her written pages

According to the website

"Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as “Old New York” at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.
Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded:
  • the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University
  • full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters
Edith Wharton designed and built her “first real home,” The Mount, in 1902."

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