Ogden Codman Jr. (1868-1951) was a noted American Renaissance architect and interior decorator.
Codman was born to a wealthy Boston family. He spent his teenage years in France.
Upon returning to America in 1884, he studied at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
Codman was influenced by two uncles, one an
architect and one a decorator. He admired Italian architecture
of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries; French
architecture; and the architecture of Boston.
After brief apprenticeships
at architectural firms, Codman started his own business in Boston.
He met author Edith Wharton on a business
trip to Newport, Rhode Island. Wharton became one of his first
Wharton and Codman collaborated on
redesigning the interior of her New York City townhouse
at 882-884 Park Avenue and her Newport home, Land's End.
In her autobiography, A Backward Glance, Wharton wrote:
"We asked him to alter and
decorate the housea somewhat new departure, since
the architects of that day looked down on house-decoration
as a branch of dress-making, and left the field up to
the upholsterers, who crammed every room with curtains,
lambrequins, jardinières of artificial plants, wobbly
velvet-covered tables littered with silver gew-gaws, and
festoons of lace on mantelpieces and dressing tables."
Wharton introduced Codman to Cornelius Vanderbilt II, who subsequently hired Codman to design the second and third floor rooms of his Newport summer home, The Breakers. Codman designed the rooms in an eighteenth century French and Italian classical style that he later espoused in his book, The Decoration of Houses, co-authored with Edith Wharton.