Edith Wharton and Odgen Codman resumed their working relationship
in 1901, when Wharton hired Codman to design the interior
of The Mount. Their design plans
followed the principles outlined in The
Decoration of Houses.
The Mount reflected Wharton's own design
philosophies. An article in Lenox Life reported:
"The artistic cottage on the
shores of Laurel Lake ... was built from plans inspired by
Mrs. Wharton...This will be one of the houses whose furnishings
reflect the character and taste of its owner, and not that
of any upholstery firm, no matter how artistic." (41)
Forecourt The forecourt, designed by Hoppin
& Koen in 1901, separates the drive from the house
and the rest of the estate.
Ground Floor The entrance to the house is on
the ground floor.
Vestibule The forecourt leads inside to
an entrance vestibule with a barrel-vaulted ceiling.
The vestibule resembles a grotto, like those Wharton
had observed in Italian Renaissance villas and gardens.
The floor has terra-cotta tiles with Italian marble
Completing the ground floor is the kitchen, the
laundry, and the servants' work areas.
Main Floor An enclosed staircase leads to
the main-floor reception rooms. The main floor has
a gallery on the west side and a drawing room, dining
room, and library on the east side, each connected
by double doors. These rooms open through French doors
onto a terrace with views of the gardens and the landscape
Terrace The Italianate terrace stretches
across the east side of the house and around the
north side and part of the south side. The terrace
had a striped awning in the summer that extended
across the middle of the east side of the house.
Two classical statues stood at the top of the Palladian
staircase leading to the garden.
Gallery The gallery on the main floor
has a barrel-vaulted ceiling and a marble terrazzo
floor. The arched windows and doors create symmetry.
Chandeliers lit the gallery, according to the principles
outlined in The Decoration of Houses.
Den The den continues the symmetrical
arrangement of the house. In the center of the wall
is a fireplace, the centerpiece of every room, according
to Wharton and Codman.
A concealed door leads from
the den to the library. Wharton brought some of
her furniture from Land's End for the den and
other principal rooms.
Library The library, connected
to the gallery and den, has double
doors that open into the drawing room.
A fireplace is in the center of the
The oak-paneled room has oak bookshelves
built into the walls, as Wharton and
Codman recommended in The Decoration
of Houses. The
library has a tapestry with a garden
scene fitted into the wall panel.
The furniture formed
a backdrop to the library, as Wharton
and Codman recommended:
"The tables should
be large, substantial, and clear of everything
but lamps, books, and papersone table at
least being given over to the filing of books
and newspapers." (39)
Room The drawing room
is the largest room in the house. The
terrazzo floor of the gallery extends
into it. Three sets of French doors
open onto the terrace. The ceiling displayed
Codman's flower and fruit decoration.
The dining room includes
French and Italian furniture as well
as a Beauvais tapestry of "Narcissus
at the Fountain." (40)
and Attic Floors The bedroom floor contains
Wharton's boudoir, bath, and bedroom; and
her husband's bedroom, dressing room, and
bath. Her bedroom has a wood floor and a
marble fireplace. The boudoir has eight
paintings of flower arrangements. The servants'
quarters are on the attic floor.
Wharton's Sacred Space The Mount's layout followed Wharton
and Codman's suggestions in The Decoration of Houses
for the separation of public and private rooms.
On the northeast end of the house,
the basement is unexcavated. Above that is Wharton's
library. Above the library is Wharton's bedroom, where
she wrote in the mornings. This layout ensured that
Wharton's morning writing routine would not be disturbed.
The Mount reflected Wharton's own design philosophies.
An article in Lenox Life reported:
"The artistic cottage
on the shores of Laurel Lake ... was built from plans
inspired by Mrs. Wharton...This will be one of the
houses whose furnishings reflect the character and
taste of its owner, and not that of any upholstery
firm, no matter how artistic." (41)