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Wharton, Edith (1862-1937); Codman Jr., Ogden (1863-1951) / The decoration of houses
(1898)

III: walls,   pp. 31-47


Page 31

                              III
                            WALLS
PROPORTION is the good breeding of architecture.              It is
    that something, indefinable to the unprofessional eye, which
gives repose and distinction to a room: in its origin a matter of
nice mathematical calculation, of scientific adjustment of voids
and masses, but in its effects as intangible as that all-pervading
essence which the ancients called the soul.
 It is not proposed to enter here into a technical discussion of
the delicate problem of proportion.  The decorator, with whom
this book is chiefly concerned, is generally not consulted until
the house that he is to decorate has been built-and built, in all
probability, quite without reference to the interior treatment it is
destined to receive.  All he can hope to do is, by slight modifica-
tions here and there in the dimensions or position of the open-
ings, to re-establish that harmony of parts so frequently disre-
garded in modern house-planning.     It often happens, however,
that the decorator's desire to make these slight changes, upon
which the success of his whole scheme depends, is a source
of perplexity and distress to his bewildered client, who sees in it
merely the inclination to find fault with another's work.  Nothing
can be more natural than this attitude on the part of the client.
How is he to decide between the architect, who has possibly dis-
                               3'


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