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

V: Windows,   pp. 64-73

Page 64

                            WIN DOWS
IN the decorative treatment of a room the importance of open-
   ings can hardly be overestimated.   Not only do they represent
the three chief essentials of its comfort,- light, heat and means
of access,-but they are the leading features in that combination
of voids and masses that forms the basis of architectural harmony.
In fact, it is chiefly because the decorative value of openings has
ceased to be recognized that modern rooms so seldom produce a
satisfactory and harmonious impression.   It used to be thought
that the effect of a room depended on the treatment of its
wall-spaces and openings; now it is supposed to depend on its
curtains and furniture.     Accessory details have crowded out the
main decorative features;    and, as invariably happens when the
relation of parts is disturbed, everything in the modern room has
been thrown out of balance by this confusion between the es-
sential and the incidental in decoration.'
 The return to a more architectural treatment of rooms and
to a recognition of the decorative value of openings besides pro-
 1 As an example of the extent to which openings have come to be ignored
as fac-
tors in the decorative composition of a room, it is curious to note that
in Eastlake's
well-known Hints on Household Taste no mention is made of doors, windows
or fireplaces.  Compare this point of view with that of the earlier decorators,
Vignola to Roubo and Ware.

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