James Sanders referred to the fact that the film, The Heiress, portrayed the home as a Greek Revival House facing onto Washington Square. In this, he mentioned that the house was divided into public and private areas, the former where the doctor publically venerated the memory of his late wife, keeping the style and furnishings the same as when she died in childbirth.
I would like to suggest that the fact that this house was in the Greek Revival style is ironic, since Greek temple architecture was also divided into a public (demos) area and into a private or secret area (sanctum). If the front part of the house was where the public life of the family could share its remembrance of the dead wife and mother, then the sanctum sanctorum of the private parts of the house was very much where the family's innermost life (and secrets) would exist. If this analogy could be stretched a bit farther, the doctor was very much like a "keeper of the flame", while the female members of the family and staff would be like the votives of the shrine, existing in the inner life of the house, and entering into the public life only sparingly. Could Catherine's status as a unmarried woman be related to the chaste life of the virgin votives of a Greek shrine? Perhaps this is stretching it a bit too far...Still all of this analogy makes one wonder whether any of this ever entered into the psychology and design of the story and sets.