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 The House in Good Taste
After ninety years, The House in Good Taste by America's "first lady of interior decoration," Elsie de Wolfe, still offers timeless design advice.

Compiled from her articles in newspapers and magazines and first published in 1914, The House in Good Taste is a seminal book on interior design with ideas that have lasted a century because they influenced not only the wealthy clients of Park Avenue and Palm Beach, but popular taste as well.

De Wolfe advised Americans to shun ostentation and clutter in favor of simplicity, to dismantle the draperies in order to let in the light, and to replace garish colors with beige and ivory. "I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint," she declared, "comfortable chairs with lights beside them, open fires on the hearth and flowers wherever they 'belong,' mirrors and sunshine in all rooms." The rooms that Americans inhabited in the middle of the twentieth century still today owe much to de Wolfe's tastes.
  Date Published 6/12/2004

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Rated By: Kimberley Wilson
From: VA
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Comments: what a joy
Elsie De Wolfe is acknowleged as the first woman to make a fortune as a decorator and can be called the first life style maven of the 20th century. Her opinions on home decor were eagerly seized upon by millions of aspirational women around the country. She wrote The House in Good Taste 90 years ago but it's just as fresh and suitable now as it was then.

I can't bring myself to agree with her on patchwork quilts, lace curtains or rocking chairs but she's absolutely correct in her advice on wallpaper, paint and apartments. It's amazing how much this delightful and informative book still has to teach us.

Rated By: Dust E.Jaquet
From: The library
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Comments: not trite
I bought this book when it first came out. I tried reading it, was (too) quick to call it 'trite' and gave it away. Later my boyfriend gave me a copy (not knowing that I'd tried it before) so I had to slog through it. I am so very glad I did. Ms. DeWolfe has a unique style of writing that must be understood before you will truely enjoy the book. She has a wit and charm that is backed by such sincerity that few designers today could pull this level of writing off. The book will make you want to find more by or about this stylishly pragmatic decorator