DESIGNER / Dorothy Draper

Dorothy Draper is considered the first real interior designer in the United States. Born into wealth in the late 1800’s, she designed her first home after WWI in Tuxedo Park, NY, one of the first gated communities in the United States. Draper established a reputation for hotels and restaurants, first with her decor for the Greenbriar resort, in West Virginia. 

To Dorothy, public space represented a place for people to come and feel elevated in the presence of great beauty, where the senses could look, feel and absorb the meaning of a quality life. She used vibrant, “splashy” colors in never-before-seen combinations, such as aubergine and pink with a “splash” of chartreuse and a touch of turquoise blue, or, one of her favorite combinations – “dull” white and “shiny” black.

She pioneered the picture window, and chenille bedspreads, and incorporated dark, bold colors using oversized fabric motifs, wide mouldings. She used dramatic interior color schemes, and trademark cabbage-rose chintz. She promoted shiny black ceilings, acid-green woodwork and cherry-red floors, believing that "Lovely, clear colors have a vital effect on our mental happiness."

Much of the furniture and textiles from the 1940s and ‘50s were designed or inspired by Dorothy Draper.

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