Tabulous Tastemaker: Dorothy Draper

November 21, 2014

By Tab Byrum

Color Color Color, that’s what I always think of Interior Design works by Dorothy Draper.  Today we are celebrating Draper and her work on what would have been her 125th birthday.


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The story of Dorothy Draper is one of those classic stories of a woman who decorated her own home to her own tastes, all of her friends loved what she did, asked her to decorate their homes and her career grew from there, some people credit Draper with actually creating the career of Interior Designer.

Draper went on to a career of not only decorating private homes but also being a major player in redecorating hotels, among her many conquests were the Carlyle Hotel in NYC as well as the Fairmont and Marks Hotels in San Francisco.


The Drake Hotel, Chicago

One of Draper’s most famous hotel makeovers is the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  The Greenbrier had burned down during the Civil War, the property was purchased by Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and they hired Draper to redecorate the entire facility.  She designed everything from the uniforms worn by the staff to the matchbook covers, the reopening of The Greenbrier was a major society event. 



Bright floral chintzes, black and white marble floors, large patterns and punches of color, all trademarks of Dorothy Draper, were used in the redecoration of The Greenbrier. 











Dorothy Draper’s Manhattan Living Room. 


 Today the Interior Design House of Dorothy Draper is still as vibrant as ever, it’s run by her former associate Carleton Varney.  Varney operates the firm under the same philosophy as Draper in his use of bright colors, florals and “bold contrasts”.



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Dorothy Draper was truly a pioneer in the field of Interior Design and paved the way for so many people that have come after her.  Dorothy Draper died in 1969 at the age of 79. 


Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of Pinterest

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