Elsie de Wolfe, probably the first interior designer of all times

Elsie de Wolfe is believed to be the first interior designer in history, and I am a huge fan of hers. She was born the 20th of December  1865 in New York City and died in France on the 12th of July 1950.
After having success in some small theatrical roles she became a professional actress, a member of the Empire Stock Company and later formed her own stock company. She went through the 1890s acting, though her appearances were mostly praised for her couture wardrobe. She had an unusual arrangement of choosing her own outfits which she mostly imported from Paris.
Her impeccable aesthetics expanded beyond fashion. Working on sets for plays she soon became interested in interior design.
In 1905, a group of women started the first social club from and for women, on Madison Avenue street, designed by architect  Stanford White, long-time friend of Elsie de Wolfe. With his help she got the commission for The Colony Club’s interior design. Working on it, she introduced a new style of decorating, avoiding the heavy atmosphere of the men’s clubs, creating a casual, feminine atmosphere ,tiled floors, light draperies, pale walls, and lots of flowery patterns. When The Colony opened in 1907, the members of the club had such an enthusiastic reaction that made it the starting point for her successful and lucrative career.
In the following years Elsie de Wolfe did more clubs, a number of private houses, opera boxes and a dormitory at a college. She also lectured and published her very influential book, “The House in Good Taste”. By that time she had a suite of offices and a showroom on Fifth Avenue, with a staff of secretaries and assistants. She even had imitators.
When she married diplomat Sir Charles Mendl in 1926, the New York Times described Lady Mendl (her married name) as “one of the most widely known women in New York social life”, and in 1935 as “prominent in Paris society”. She was even mentioned in one of the popular songs of the day, Irving Berlin's “Harlem on My Mind”, in which the legendary songwriter mentions a “high-falutin' flat that Lady Mendl designed”.
She was (and still is) considered an icon for her way of life, her career and of course her sense of style. In her clothes as well as her interior design, she lived by the motto she had embroidered on taffeta pillows in her house...
“Never complain, never explain.”


  1. Thought I don't have a clue of art and architecture, the blog rocks and looks very original. You inspire me to lern more. Plz write something about da Vinci & Dali.

  2. constantine is soooo right!!!the blog rocks!! :)