Two weeks ago I was introduced to the online magazine Matchbook. One of their recent posts was 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Dorothy Draper and how true that statement is for me! As much as I love history, the history of interior decorators is one subject I sadly must say I do not know a l0t about. As a young designer it was hard for me to relate to a world and people so far removed from my own growing up in a African-American/Latino working class neighborhood, I always wondered ok, but where are the designers who look like me? There are a few I have learned but to excel in this field I must know all there is to know about all of my design predecessors.
Today is about Dorothy Draper and from what I have researched what an incredible woman she was in her lifetime! She wrote countless books on decorating and being a great hostess, wrote Good Housekeeping articles, decorated resorts (such as Greenbrier in West Virginia, pictured here in this post), hotels, airplanes, automobiles, designed textiles for Schumacher, and her decorating style was eventually given the name “American Baroque” or “baroque fantasy.” She was known for using bright colors, black and white tile work, scrollwork, and large scale prints in her designs. Carlton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & co Inc. even stated “Draper was to decorating what Chanel was to fashion” in her day. He recently wrote a book on Draper which I will be adding to my wish list called In the Pink: Dorothy Draper – American’s Most Famous Decorator, not just because pink is mentioned (I do love pink!) but because it appears to be a pretty good summary of her life’s work as a decorator. This would be another great design reference for my library!
I love her use of color in these two images. The coral wall color brought down onto the floor in the area rug against the stark white trim is refreshing in the first image, which I suspect is of a ballroom. In the second image of the corridor I am drawn in by the detail and scale of the gorgeous pendant light fixtures, the celadon colored lambrequin window treatments, the wall color against the stark white trim, and the large leaf pattern of the carpet. Lovely!