legendary Dorothy Draper. I recently enjoyed reading "In the Pink: Dorothy Draper, America's Most Fabulous Decorator" by Carleton Varney, who studied under Ms. Draper. The book was featured in the Fall 2008 O At Home's article on The Most Inspiring Design Books of All Time, and I was thrilled to pick up an autographed copy of
it during a summer jaunt to Mackinaw Island in Northern Michigan at a tour of the famous Grand Hotel, decorated by Mr. Varney in the Draper style. Ms. Draper was a socialite-turned decorator who became a design doyenne in the 1930's and as a writer for Good Housekeeping, a designer of wallpaper for Schumacher and furniture designer for Ficks & Reed, her household noteriety would have rivaled Martha Stewart and Oprah.
Photo Viceroy Hotel courtesy Kor Hotel Group
How coincidental is it that during our current economic state, new age Drapers like Kelly Wearstler have squeezed the minimalist look out of the limelight and given us the urge to use bold colour, drama, and grand scale?
Hampshire House (done by Dorothy Draper) courtesy CBS
Are you attracted to the decor of Draper? Here is New York Magazine's list of key elements Dorothy Draper used in her design:
1. intense use of colour
2. florals/greenery -'as much a part of a decorative scheme as beautiful curtains,'she said
3. textured carpet -thick tactile rugs
4. striking details - a few bold accessories, not clutter
5. a fireplace
6. bold prints - oversized patterned wallpaper, fabrics
7.chessboard floors -black and white large tiles
8. large mirrors - the more ornate the better
9. romantic furniture- curves and some whimsy
10. colour contrasts - opposites on the colour wheel ie. red with green
In our current state of economic uncertainty, no doubt we're going to be seeing more DIY
and more of Dorothy Draper's fearless influences from almost 70 years ago!