the Peacock Room

The Controversial Backstory of London’s Most Lavish Room

James McNeill Whistler created the famous "Peacock Room" for a wealthy patron. But the patron never actually wanted it.
Design 513, Damask, 1956 and Design 104, Printed Silk and Fortisan Casement [curtain fabric], 1955, by Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fraught Attempt at Mass Production

The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright famously loathed commercialism, and yet he (reluctantly) designed commercial homewares to be mass-produced.
Notre-Dame, 1881

Recreating Notre Dame

The famous Paris cathedral was built over many centuries, reflecting the growth and evolution of Paris itself.
An Octagon House

A Phrenologist’s Dream of an Octagon House

Orson S. Fowler thought houses without right angles would offer a better life, but his own architectural experiments did not end well.
Desert View Watchtower, Grand Canyon, Arizona

How Mary Colter Made the Grand Canyon an Experience

Architect Mary Colter created buildings that incorporated local materials and indigenous motifs, blending with the environment rather than dominating it.
Barragan house

Casa Luis Barragán, Sacred Space of Mexican Modernism

A tour of the Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragán’s house and studio reveals a surprise with a touch of the divine.
warehouse

The Crucial American Warehouse

In 19th-century America, the changing economy called for warehouses, which in turn created the warehouse districts that defined many cities.
Horse skull

The Horse Skulls Hidden in the Dance Floors of Ireland

Old houses in Ireland often have horse skulls buried beneath the floors, but folklorists and archaeologists disagree on exactly why.
Susan Fenimore Cooper bluebird

Susan Fenimore Cooper, Forgotten Naturalist

Susan Fenimore Cooper, known as her father James Fenimore Cooper's secretary, is now being recognized as one of the nation's first environmentalists.
Parlor room

What Ever Happened to the Parlor?

For musicologist Edith Borroff, the parlor was egalitarian, open, and joyful—all qualities she equates with the best musical spirit.