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Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937; Codman, Ogden / The decoration of houses

IV: Doors,   pp. 48-63

Page 48

THE fate of the door in America has been a curious one, and
         had the other chief features of the house - such as win-
dows, fireplaces, and stairs - been pursued with the same relent-
less animosity by architects and decorators, we should no longer
be living in houses at all.   First, the door was slid into the wall;
then even its concealed presence was resented, and it was un-
hung and replaced by a porti~re; while of late it has actually
ceased to form a part of house-building, and many recently built
houses contain doorways without doors.     Even the front door,
which might seem to have too valid a reason for existence to be
disturbed by the variations of fashion, has lately had to yield its
place, in the more pretentious kind of house, to a wrought-iron
gateway lined with plate-glass, against which, as a climax of in-
consequence, a thick curtain is usually hung.
 It is not difficult to explain such architectural vagaries,  in
general, their origin is to be found in the misapplication of some
serviceable feature and its consequent rejection by those who did
not understand that it had ceased to be useful only because it
was not properly used.
 In the matter of doors, such an explanation at once presents
itself.   During the latter half of the eighteenth century it occurred

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