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Thomas Jefferson famously favored frugality and eschewed excess, a philosophy that extended to his personal design sense. Arguing that staircases were a waste of space, Jefferson opted not to build a grand staircase for his home, Monticello, choosing instead a steep and narrow flight of stairs. Other amenities were similarly sparing, from a dinner table that was set up only at mealtime, to space-saving beds that folded into the walls. The most ornate fixture of Monticello, the octagonal cupola atop the western wing of the estate, housed an elegant sitting room that was seldom used because it was too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
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