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edith wharton was a hottie



“The real purpose of the window-curtain is to regulate the amount of light admitted to the room, and a curtain so arranged that it cannot be drawn backward and forward at will is but a meaningless accessory. It was not until the beginning of this century that curtains were used without regard to their practical purpose. The window hangings of the middle ages and of the Renaissance were simply straight pieces of cloth or tapestry hung across the window without any attempt at drapery, and regarded not as part of the decoration of the room, but as a necessary protection against draughts. It is probably for this reason that in old prints and pictures representing the rooms of wealthy people, curtains are so seldom seen. The better the house, the less need there was for curtains.”

from The Decoration of Houses, by Edith Wharton (1897)


Though, even when the drapes are closed, your eyes tend to adjust to the darkness. I find.

Curtains are a class issue. At the top, lined floral curtains and sailor-worthy twine in a discreet system of tracks and pulleys. This kind of curtain can get your room really, really, really dark. Add a roller shade and a “lingerie” layer, all white and silky, beneath them. Open and close.

Darkest hotel room in the universe. 1990. Saint Regis, NYC.
A friend of mine had spent the night there with a “boy she met.” I went by to get her the next day.
I called the room from the front desk and was sent right up.

It was decidedly dark in there.

The point is, don’t cover the windows unless you have to. That’s all Ms. Wharton is saying.

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