In 1903 $500 a month would rent a 10 room luxury apartment with steam heat, elevators, electric lights and servants rooms. Edward also had more than one carriage, so to say his life was vastly different from Isabella, well, yeah, I think we can see the stark difference between their backgrounds. This picture is the apartment interior of a wealthy owner in 1903. Pics taken from this website: http://www.maggieblanck.com/NewYork/LifeStyle.html
This is what a female's room looked like in one of the Vanderbilt Mansions:
This is what I imagine Edward’s home looking like from the back.
This is actually Niblo’s Theater, Niblo’s Garden, Broadway in 1852 in the picture below, but gives you a general idea of what I had in mind. See how she might be able to sleep on a bench in his garden without much notice? It’s a massive space with tons of vegetation.
Normally, a rich man like Mr. Masen would live in the top apartment of an expensive building, but there were some homes like these still around.
This is the entrance to the Vanderbilt’s twin mansion residence in 1900. So, this is gives you an idea of how the other half lived.
This is what I imagine Edward’s home looking like from the front. This is a depiction of the old Walton mansion on Pearl Street, which no longer exists:
Drawing room… Doubt Isabella had one of those.
As a bachelor, this would be a typical dining experience on various evenings for Edward, and this was in 1899, from this website: http://digital.nypl.org/mmpco/browseSresults.cfm?&subject=74485&trg=1
Now, before we switch gears, let's look at the fancier dresses Isabella wore for ocassions like the tenements society rally and later, the dress she wore at the club. The black dress resembles some of what I imagined Isabella's blue dress looking like at the rally (the one on the right particularly). The yellow dress is is the type of dress I imagined Rosalie swapped and had Isabella put on, only crimson in color.
Once Isabella's fancy clothes were cast off, this is what she came home to. This is the interior to her home. Big difference, isn't it?
Her tenement hallway. These were often very dark and gloomy and the water closet would probably be at the end of the hallway, which everyone on that level would share. Yep, one toilet for all these families.
This is a kitchen in an improved tenement, but you can still how crowded this is. And this is definitely a nicer one, because she has an actual window so there’s natural light coming in. In the poorer tenements, many of them lacked windows, so in the summer when it was hot, many of the people slept out on the roof.
This is what the entrance to her tenement might look like, but minus all the junk outside since the other widows living in her tenement would have kept it clean out front. Probably not a dog either.
Whew! Hopefully this gives you a better idea of why Isabella's so hesitant to go from a humble living situation to a life of convenience and oppulence.